Suffering from depression can be a lonely experience. Sometimes, having supportive people around or checking in is the most important thing for a depressed person. It can be difficult to understand how to help someone with depression and what to say to those who are going through a difficult time, because everyone’s scenario can be different. Still, there are many ways you can make a difference in a depressed person’s life, and this article presents you with some useful tips to help a depressed person. Note that it is also very important to talk with them to know what they feel and what they want.
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Symptoms of Depression
Before getting to know how to help a depressed friend, one needs to understand the symptoms of depression. This knowledge will help you to know what the sufferer is going through, and it will also pave the way for you to detect depression in your loved ones. The major signs of this mental condition are as follows:
- Sadness, crying, hollowness, or hopelessness.
- Rage, irritability, anxiety, or distress, even over minor issues.
- Loss of enjoyment or interest in most or all normal activities.
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping.
- Exhaustion and a lack of energy, which makes even minor tasks difficult.
- Appetite changes: decreased appetite with unhealthy weight loss or increased appetite and weight gain.
- Slowing of thought, speech, or movement.
- Guilt, obsessing over past failures, or blaming yourself for things that aren’t your fault.
- Having difficulty thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things.
- Suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, or frequent suicide-related conversations.
- Physical issues that are unexplained, such as back pain or headaches.
How Do You Interact With Someone With Depression?
When you are interacting with a depressed person, the two main points to keep in mind are being a good listener and being patient. These two traits will help you gain the other person’s trust and comfort. Here is what you should remember when interacting with someone with depression.
- Be patient and understanding.
- Give encouragement and highlight gains, no matter how small.
- Before offering help, ask if there is anything you can do.
- Interact with respect and dignity.
- Don’t blame them for their condition.
- Don’t assume that they are not trying hard enough to get better.
- Don’t give any cues that might make them feel they are pointless.
How Do You Help Someone Who Is Depressed?
To prevent your loved one from suffering, you need to provide support and understand how to assist them in obtaining the resources necessary to cope with depression. The ten most beneficial things you can do are discussed below.
1. Make Sure You Are a Safe Place for Them
Work on yourself and create opportunities for connection. Make sure that you are a safe place for the depressed person, which means that you are creating an environment where they feel comfortable talking. If you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, you will be unable to support others. Take a break from the situation on a regular basis to recharge your batteries.
2. Listen to Them
Sometimes, all we need is someone to listen to us. Sharing is not an easy task for a depressed person. Most people suffering from depression are reluctant to talk about their condition at first, but you may find that simply listening to them can be extremely beneficial. Actively listening and giving cues that you understand them is the first step towards their recovery. Try asking open-ended questions and questions that show your genuine interest.
3. Educate Yourself More About Depression
Depression is diverse and it can manifest itself in many different ways. The more you’ll learn about this mental issue, the better it will pave your way to help a friend with depression. You can watch videos, read literature, listen to mental health professionals, and spend quality time with your depressed loved ones to better understand what they are going through.
4. Offer Them Help
Even minor tasks can become difficult to complete when you are depressed. You can make a difference in someone’s day by helping them with small duties like doing the dishes, picking up groceries, or paying an overdue bill. All of these mundane tasks can be overwhelming for someone with depression.
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5. Encourage Them to Take Part in Fun Activities
Depression can push someone to the darkness of a lonely place. A depressed person feels no motivation to hang out with friends or go out. Don’t insist but try to invite the depressed person out for activities that they might enjoy on a regular basis. Even a simple visit to the mall can get them out of the house and change their mood. Also, make certain that the activity you asked them to join is that your friend would enjoy. There’s no reason to destroy comfort zones right now.
6. Recognize the Suicide Warning Signs
Suicidal thoughts are common in severe depression. Call 911 if you suspect a loved one is suicidal. If their behavior suggests that they may be a danger to themselves, don’t leave them alone. Even if your loved one conveys bitterness at the moment, your intentions will hopefully be understood and even appreciated later.
7. Give Them Space
Showing excessive concern or overcrowding your depressed friend can be suffocating for them. Giving them space can also benefit you because it will allow you to unwind and reflect on things you’ve gathered during the interaction. Giving a depressed person space to breathe can sometimes be just as beneficial as being there beside them. Everyone, including your friend, requires some “me” time.
8. Acknowledge That Depression Is Not One’s Choice
Depression isn’t a personal choice. It can have an impact on many aspects of your life, including work, relationships, and education. We have no control over depression and can do nothing to prevent it from happening to us. We are not weak because we suffer from depression.
9. Praise Their Accomplishments
Once you’re going through a difficult time, identifying and acknowledging your own accomplishments can be difficult. It’s also challenging to notice your own progress and development. So, congratulate your friend and do something fun together when they take a step toward confronting their fears or improving their wellbeing. Assist them in feeling proud of themselves.
10. Encourage Them to Get Professional Help
Nothing can replace professional help. If you think your loved one isn’t finding a way out of depression despite your support, ask them to consult a mental health professional. Explain how seeking treatment can benefit them and offer to assist them in making appointments if necessary. It is especially critical for someone suffering from depression to seek treatment if their depression has progressed to the point of suicidal ideation. Be aware of signs of depression worsening and possible suicide warning signs.
To Sum Up
The easiest answer to the question of how to help someone with depression is to just show patience and empathy. However, nothing can beat professional help. If your friend or loved one is suffering from depression, encourage them to seek professional assistance.
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