What is Depression?
It is reasonable to seem sad or low from time to time until this feeling is pretty intense and last for a prolonged span of time (weeks, months or even years). Depression is also acknowledged as a major depressive disorder which not only influences mental health but also the physical health of a person.
Depression is not confined to any age group or gender rather it strikes people from all walks of life. Living with depression commences to everyday suffering, pain & helplessness, not only of a person dealing with it but also of people surrounding them.
Seeing your loved one succumbed to depression break you down causing you to feel helpless & frustrated at times. Dealing with a family member or friend who is depressed is tough & seldom leads you to stress.
While supporting your loved one battle through depression make sure you are taking adequate measures to take care of your mental health too. Considering your own mental health first is not selfishness but a necessity. You being strong emotionally will give you the power to encourage your friend or family member in coping with depression.
Helping a Friend or Family Member Battling Depression
Depression is a severe but treatable disorder that affects many people from all age group. Supporting someone beat depression is not a simple job. It demands patience & may take a long time to see the outcomes. Sometimes it may even cause you to be a victim of depression, particularly when u fail to help your loved one.
Understanding your depressed friend or family member
Before trying to help someone with depression you first need to understand them and their behavior
Depressed people don’t intend to hurt you
Depressed people are more often frustrated or angry. They usually behave hurtfully & lash out in anger. Depression makes it hard for a person to connect on a deep emotional level with anyone. Others should realize that this is depression that is talking and not our loved one, so try not to take it personally.
Depression is a serious condition
Many people don’t consider depression very serious issues & care less of mental health. Depression is a serious disorder which drains out person emotionally as well as physically. Acute depression may lead your loved one to live a miserable life with a suicidal feeling.
Hiding depression won’t make it go away
Many people ignore or hide their friends/family members mental health problem with a concern of societal pressure. They are startled of non-acceptance from the community. Doing this may miss out your loved one’s chance of recovering from depression.
Self-help is important in depression
No matter how much you want to help your friend or family member suffering from depression, it won’t help unless they are ready to accept and work on their depression. Getting over depression requires self-help, as no one can fix someones else depression.
How do you understand whether your someone is suffering from depression?
Friends and family may be the first to know if their loved ones are suffering from depression. That is the reason why we as a family or friend should always look out for each other’s help. You may notice your depressed loved one even before he or she notices it, and your concern and influence may assist them to seek help.
Be concerned if your loved one shows mentioned depression symptoms and signs
Frequently complains about body pain
If your loved one seems to be tired or drained all time & frequently complains about headaches, back pain or stomach problem, check whether they have other signs of depression too.
Shows a negative outlook towards life
The person is unreasonably sad, irritated, frustrated from life. They unexpectedly become short-tempered, moody and mostly talks about being helpless. They mostly count about the negative things happening in their life & forgets about the positive part.
Either oversleeps or lacks sleep
They sometimes either sleep for a longer time or totally lacks periods of sleep. This makes them cranky, disorganized, forgetful, etc.
Change in eating habits
Depressed people tend to suddenly lose or gain weight owing to change in their eating habits. They either have lost their appetite or has started overeating.
Depressed people prefer to divert themselves from stress & believes alcohol or certain drug may help them to do so. The person feels restless or stressed out if they don’t consume alcohol or drug. You need to be concerned if the person has started consuming alcohol or drug more than normal intake.
Becomes careless about everything
Depressed people don’t seem to care about anything anymore. They believe that they can no more control the situation & instead of searching for a solution to the problems they ignore problems.
How to help someone with depression
Initiate the talk
A depressed person seems to hide their emotions and disconnect themselves from the outside world. They never will ever talk to someone about their problems. So as soon as you realize that your loved one is in depression you yourself initiate the talk. Make sure you don’t scare them by bombarding questions at them. Start with general questions like “are you alright? you seemed pretty down lately?” or “I have been feeling concerned about you lately”. Starting conversation like this may not angry them & help in smooth talk.
Be a good listener instead of an adviser
People often forget that depressed people want to be heard instead of being adviced. Listen to your loved one’s problems and concerns. Ask them if they know how to deal with it. Listen to all the solutions they have tried and still trying. Offer them to help if they need any advice and be available whenever they want to speak to you. Doing so makes your loved one feel that you believe in them & assist them in helping themselves.
Assure them that you won’t judge
Make sure that your depressed loved one know that you won’t judge them come what may
Help them to set small goals
Depression can’t be dealt with in a single day. Deal with problem in phases instead of trying to solve the overall problem. To overcome depression you need to encourage your loved ones to set small goals & accomplish them. Smaller goals can be achieved quickly & easily. This may make them feel better about themselves and their decision, boosting their confidence.
Invite your loved ones to join in your uplifting activities like going for a funny movie or having dinner at his/her favorite restaurant. Urge them to start yoga or exercise daily as they help to relax mind and body.
Suggest them to consult a doctor
Make your loved one understand that seeking treatment may improve his speed of recovery from depression. Help them find a doctor or therapist that they can consult. To make them feel comfortable to go along with them during their first visit to the doctor.
Pitch in when possible
Depressed people are often tired & dull due to overstressing. Help them in their regular and small work like cleaning their wardrobe or making small meals for them once in a while.
Never leave your major depressed loved one alone as the immediate risk of suicide is real. In spite of trying all methods, your loved one is still not recovering from depression and it’s getting more worse consult a Psychiatrist as soon as possible.