Depression is a significant yet treatable disorder that affects plenty of people every year, irrespective of their age and gender. Depression causes tremendous emotional turbulence and also affects your daily activities. If your dear one is depressed, he/she may experience a set of symptoms, including helplessness, frustration, annoyance, fear, guilt, and sadness. Your support and comradeship play an imperative role in the recovery of your loved ones. Here we are going to discuss how to help someone with depression.
You can help your near ones to cope with various depression symptoms, get rid of negative thoughts, and recuperate their positive energy, hopefulness, and enjoyment of life. But before this, you need to learn more about depression and how to help a friend with depression. At the same time, you also need to take care of your health so that you can offer the required support to your friend.
Symptoms of Depression
If you notice the below-mentioned
- Feelings of unhappiness, emptiness, or hopelessness
- Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration even for small things
- Doesn’t show any interest in most of the normal activities, such as sex, hobbies, or sports
- Insomnia or too much sleeping
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Appetite changes like reduced appetite and weight loss or enhanced cravings for certain food items
- Anxiety, nervousness, or impatience
- Slackened thinking, speaking, or body movements
- Guilty feeling or blaming yourself for the activities that are not in your control
- Trouble thinking,
- Feeling difficulties in concentrating, decision makings or remembering things
- Suicidal tendency
- Unsolved physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
The World Health Organization claimed that nearly 300 million adults and children live with depression. Let’s take a look at how to support your friend and loved ones with depression.
Top 7 Ways To Help Your Loved Ones With Depression
- Starting Conversation
- Support them in Continuing Therapy
- Help your Friend in Daily Activities
- Learn about Depression on your Own
- Be Patient
- Stay in Touch
- Know Various Forms of Depression
1. Starting Conversation
You must be thinking about how to talk to someone with depression. If you don’t know how to start a conversation, the following tips will help you. But try to be a good listener first rather than giving advice. Don’t indulge yourself in fixing everything for your friend or family member; just be a good listener first. Sometimes, simple face-to-face talking may help someone to overcome his/her depression.
You may ask questions like this:
- “It seems like you are facing a difficult time recently. What’s going on in your mind?”
- “You were a little bit down or sad in our last few meetings. Is there something that is bothering you and you like to talk about?”
- “You told me that you are having a difficult time— how are you dealing with everything?”
Engage with your friend with some listening techniques.
2. Support them in Continuing Therapy
Sometimes, the doctor or psychiatrist may prescribe some medications like antidepressants to your friend to overcome his/her depression, anxiety, and other problems. But if your friend wants to stop taking medication due to its side effects, be supportive. Motivate him/her to talk to the psychiatrist or doctor before switching or stopping an antidepressant.
If you stop medications abruptly without taking professional consultation, you may face some serious consequences. Always talk to a healthcare professional before stopping medication to prevent unnecessary complications.
3. Help your Friend in Daily Activities
People with depression may feel difficulties in performing their day-to-day activities. Normal tasks like laundry, grocery & vegetable shopping, or paying electric bills seem difficult to start.
Your friend may need someone’s help who will help him/her in these activities. But he/she can’t speak up clearly. Don’t say “is there anything that I can do for you”, instead you can say, “What helps you the most today?” If you see that his/her storage is empty, you can say “let’s go to purchase some groceries and we will cook dinner together.”
If your friend needs any other domestic assistance like utensil cleaning, washing, or other household chores, offer help and handle that specific task together.
4. Learn about Depression on your Own
To handle a depressed friend or family member, you need to educate yourself about depression, its symptoms, and how to deal with it. Sounds grueling, right?
If you have adequate information about depression, you can tell your friend about its specific symptoms, how to tackle it, what things they should avoid, and so on. Try to accumulate information about the symptoms, causes, diagnostic criteria, and treatments. Depression may not be the same for all, so try to get familiar with general symptoms and terminology that will help you start conversations with your friend.
5. Be Patient
Depression improves with treatment gradually, but it is a slow process. The doctors and experts will do some trial-and-error processes before identifying a particular approach or medication to control your symptoms. Still, it doesn’t indicate that depression goes away entirely. Your friend might get some symptoms in the future. Your friend may experience good days and some bad days. If he/she experienced some difficult situations it doesn’t imply that the person is not improving.
6. Stay in Touch
Always know your friend that you are with him/her in all difficult phases. If you can’t visit regularly, check with a text, phone call, or video chat. People with depression often stay aloof and don’t want to reach anyone. So, you need to put your effort into maintaining the friendship.
7. Know Various Forms of Depression
Depression is commonly associated with low mood or sadness, but it also has some other less well-known symptoms. Some less-common symptoms are:
- Anger and tetchiness
- Confusion or problems with memory
- Excessive fatigue or sleep concerns
- Physical symptoms like stomach distress, recurrent headaches, etc.
Sometimes, your friend may feel some unusual symptoms that don’t belong to stereotypical versions of depression.
The Bottom Line
Depression is a worrisome condition for both those who are suffering from it and for their friends and family members. Always support if any of your near ones are struggling with depression. Motivate your friend to take help whenever he/she needs it and also offer your own help when he/she requires it.