It can be difficult to know what to do or say to someone who is suffering from depression. Thankfully there is a lot more awareness about this mental illness than there has been in the past, but that doesn't mean most people are expert when it comes to knowing how to react to someone with depression. Here are 6 different ways that you can help the person in your life who is suffering from depression.
1. Know the Person is Not Their Disease
When someone is suffering from depression they often express difficult emotions to handle like pessimism, anger, frustration or melancholy. It is important to remember that more often than not these streams of emotions are the mental illness rearing its ugly head rather than you friend being fully in control of what they are saying or doing. Remember to separate the person from these sometimes frustrating and frightening emotions, so that you can more easily feel compassion for them.
2. Help Them Get Out of the House
For someone who is dealing with depression the most appealing idea in the world is to stay in bed curled under the covers all day, and this is about the worst thing that they can do for themselves. By taking someone out of the house, especially during the light of day, it gets their mind off of their depression. Sun and exercise are especially beneficial to help boost anyone's mood. Also suggest laid back events like going to the movies, seeing friend, going to a cafe that require little effort, but they still offer an enjoyable experience.
3. Assist Them in Seeking Treatment
Gaining the momentum to get anything done can feel overwhelming to someone who is depressed, but the idea of actually seeking help may seem insurmountable. Help your friend reach out to friends, family or even a doctor, so they can get the emotional backing they need to hopefully one day get out of the depression.
4. Know what People who are Depressed Frequently Say
"I am a complete loser", "I wish I were dead", "I just don't care about anything", etc. are the type of things depressed people say all of the time. It can be frustrating to try to speak to someone spouting such absurdities, but when you know to expect it, it becomes a little bit easier to deal with. When you hear the person say these things know that it is yet another ugly symptom of a depression not their logical, regular self, so don't become infuriated with their negativity.
5. Ask Them How You Can Help Them
People who are depressed often have difficulty motivating themselves to do things, as we mentioned earlier in this blog. Offer your direct help to take care of a task of their choosing like picking up some groceries, cooking them a meal or tidying up their house. Keeping up with all of life's little task is difficult when someone is suffering from depression, and this is a practical way to help the person remain functional.
6. Remind them they are not Alone
Call, email, drop-by and remain in contact to help the person realize they are not alone. Part of being depressed is feeling a painful loneliness, and that those surrounding them can identify with their mental illness. By sharing compassion it reminds the friend that there are people out there who care about their well-being.