Tips For Helping A Loved One With Depression
If you’ve never suffered from depression before, then it can be hard to relate to and help your loved ones suffering from this terrible affliction. We want our friends and family to be happy and enjoy life, and when they don’t, for sometimes apparently no reason, it can make us frustrated. The following are some Dos and Don’ts for those serious about helping their loved ones with depression.
1. Don’t blame them. Trust me, your loved ones are just as frustrated by their affliction as you are. Probably even more so, since they’re the ones suffering from it. The last thing they need is to be blamed for their issues. Even if you believe that they should be able to just pick themselves up and feel better, or that they are directly responsible for their issues, never, ever tell them so. That will only make them more depressed, as they probably already blame themselves.
2. Don’t give advice when it’s not asked for. Part of dealing with depression is ranting. Some people journal, others rant to friends. Many do both. When you find your loved one crying or ranting to you, sit down and listen. Erroneous advice is perceived as you saying that something is wrong with them, that they’re not trying hard enough to heal, or that you find them annoying. Only give advice if it’s specifically asked for. By listening to their rants, you are providing them with an outlet to feel better.
1. Do be there for them. Your loved one needs you. They need to know that you are there and will support them even when they are at their lowest. Odds are, their depression has destroyed their self-esteem. If you leave them now, they’ll see it as a sign of rejection, even if you don’t mean it that way. This doesn’t mean you have to hover around them forever. Just tell them that they can call you when they’re having a low day, and that you’ll listen to them. Sometimes that is the greatest cure of all.
2. Do offer them distractions. Depression consumes the mind like nothing else. Even if your loved one looks like they’re having a good day, odds are they are living under a constant shadow of self-rejection. They’re probably already searching for their own distractions, but you can help. Take them out for a holiday, play some video games with them, work on a car with them, or whatever mutual interest you two have. Keep the conversation light and positive. Let your loved one know that they can enjoy life with you.
This is a short list of dos and don’ts, but that’s pretty much all there is to it. Depression is a horrible thing for anyone to go through, but it can be its own dark shadow if you’re the one watching a loved one go through it. The thing we fear the most is actually losing our loved ones to depression. Help remind them that there is hope in the world, and remember that they did not ask to feel as terrible as they do inside.
You can learn so much more in our online guide here What is Depression? and also get our free book download about how to help improve your mental health and wellbeing.
We wish you well in your search for solutions and your movement towards better health in all areas.
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