Depression is a serious disorder that interferes with one’s way of living. Fortunately, it’s treatable. Anyone can be a victim of depression, regardless of age and socioeconomic status. Here we look at how to help someone with depression.
Experiencing your loved one struggle with depression may also cause frustration, anger, and pain. You may also be wondering what you can do to help a person struggling with depression. There are numerous ways to help someone with depression. But first, you should understand and point out depression symptoms in your loved one.
In some cases, people close to a depressed person are the ones who spot depression symptoms way before the victim. If you notice some changes in your loved one and you show concern, it might help them in coming out to seek help.
Changes that Could Indicate that Someone has Depression
- A negative outlook on general life: If the victim was so positive about their future, but all of a sudden, they start to have a negative view about the same, that’s a clear indication of someone who is depressed. It might be vocal, e.g., I feel hopeless or helpless.
- Eating more or less: They might gain or lose weight due to high or low appetite
- Oversleeping or lack of sleep: people with depression either less or more
- Lost interest in whatever use to make them happy
- Substance or alcohol abuse: A sudden increase in the amount of alcohol they take and substance abuse
- Frequent complaints of pains and aches such as headaches or back pain.
- They talk about death
After pointing out these changes, it’s clear that your loved one could be experiencing depression. So, how can you help a depressed person? Read on to learn more.
Ways to Help Someone with Depression
Listen to Them
Let your loved ones know you are there for them, and you care. You can bring up the conversation by showing your concern and asking questions. For instance, you can start by saying, “It seems as if you are lost in your thoughts. Would you mind sharing with me?”
Remember that they might open up to you, but they might not want your advice at the moment. When listening to them, ensure that you use active listening techniques such as:
- Asking questions so that you can understand more instead of assuming you already know what they are saying
- Show interest with your body language
- Validate their feelings
A depressed person may not want to give answers the first time you ask. However, the more you show them that you care and you are there for them, the more they feel free to share their challenges with you. Do not push them into opening up to you, be there for them and wait till they are ready to talk.
Help Them Find Support
As earlier said, some people may not be aware of their depression. Some are aware but do not know how to find support. Some are aware of how therapy can help but are reluctant to find help. In either case, you should step in and help them find support. Help them choose legit therapists and list questions they would like to ask during their first session. If they are hesitant to seek help, try as much as possible to educate them about how helpful therapy can ensure that they get better.
Helping Someone with Depression – Ensure They Continue with Therapy
On some days, your loved one might not want to come out of their bedroom. This is normal for depressed people to have the urge to self-isolate. If you hear them say, “I think I’m not attending my therapy session today,” encourage them not to quit.
You can say, “After last week’s session, you said you were feeling much better. What if today’s session will be a lot better?”
Encourage them to keep up with therapy. Do not allow bad days to ruin whatever they have achieved so far.
Learn About Depression on Your Own
It can be exhausting for a depressed person to keep on educating other people about depression. Making them repeat time and again so that you can understand will only make matters worse. We are currently living in a world where all answers to our questions are a click away.
Google about general symptoms of depression, how to diagnose it, and its treatment. Although depression can manifest differently in different people, understanding general symptoms can help you have a deeper understanding of what your loved one is going through.
How to Help Someone with Depression – Offer Help in Daily Chores
People with depression can sometimes find it difficult to leave their rooms. This can lead to bills piling up as well as unattended tasks. In such cases, you can offer to help. Though they might not be able to point out where they need help, you can ask, “What do you want most?”
If they have run out of groceries, you can say, “can I go with you to get some groceries?” If they have not washed the dishes, step in and help. This can positively impact their life since besides knowing you are there for them, they can also enjoy your company.
Take Care of Yourself to be Able to Help Someone with Depression
Having to take care of your depressed loved one and being there for them can make you forget about your health. Though they need your help, you should understand that you cannot be of much help to them if you are not healthy. Ensure that you have enough rest and you eat well.
It’s also advisable to let your loved one know that you can only help after work. However, if their depression is severe, come up with a code that they can use to reach you if they are in crisis. Instead of visiting them daily, involve other friends to have a bigger support network. This will ensure that none of you is overwhelmed and that the depressed person is well cared for.
If spending lots of time with the depressed person is causing negative impacts on your health, take a break to recharge and let them know that you will be away for some days. During those days, any person, maybe an understanding friend or family member, can take your place until you get back on your feet.