Helping through depression

Helping someone with depression can be difficult. Here are some tips to help you help them.

Helping someone with depression can be difficult. Here are some tips to help you help them.

Helping through depression

It can be a powerless feeling having someone you care about go through a depressive episode. At times you may wonder if you are saying or doing the right things, if you are even helping at all. Here are some things you can do, or remember, when dealing with someone with depression.

Check in

Depression is incredibly lonely. People sometimes describe that they feel like they are walking through the world, but not really in it.

Reach out occasionally to let them know they’re not alone. It can be as simple as sending a “hey, thinking of you” text.

Most people will not pick up the phone and reach out when they are down. Isolation is one of the symptoms of depression, so it’s important that you initiate contact.

Listen

Everyone wants to know that they are being heard, and this is especially true for someone with depression. It can be difficult since depressed people’s thoughts tend to skew toward the negative, but acknowledging someone’s pain or fear can be a powerful thing.

Have you ever been having an awful day and all you wanted was for someone to listen? Imagine that feeling on steroids. That’s what it’s like when you are depressed, thoughts and feelings are intensified.

Don’t try to be a cheerleader

Listing all the reasons a person shouldn’t be depressed is not helpful. As a matter of fact, it’s in direct contrast to the listen advice from above.

Most people with depression have some shame around the fact that they are depressed and that they can’t ‘just be happy’. Telling someone not to be depressed just increases that shame, which in turn increases the depression.

Understand that getting better is not a linear process

People do not snap out of depression. It’s a process and at times, even with the help of medication, a slow one at that.

There will be peaks and valleys. Just because one day is a “good” day does not guarantee that the next one will be too. Just know ahead of time that you will have to roll with the highs and lows.

Self-care

Just as it is important that they engage in some forms of self-care, so too should you. It’s hard work to walk through a depressive episode with someone so make sure that you are taking care of yourself.

Whether it’s going for a walk or run, getting a mani/pedi or massage, going for a long drive with some good music, eating something you love; whatever it is for you that will make you feel good, do it.

Depression is tough on everyone. If you, or a loved one, are dealing with depression and you live in the Vancouver, WA/Portland, OR areas, I would like to help. You can call me at 360-284-7008 or click on the button below to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation with me. You don’t have to go through this alone.

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Tamara Duarte

Tamara Duarte is a counselor, author, speaker, and activist. Her private practice, Get Centered Counseling in Vancouver WA, helps women with food and body issues learn to love themselves, their body, their life, and their relationships. Her life’s work is steeped in personal experience, having fifteen years in recovery for anorexia, in addition to being a breast cancer survivor. An up and coming force in the counseling community, Tamara has been published in a textbook called Treatment Strategies for Substance and Process Addictions, and has sat on a panel at the American Counseling Association Conference, where she spoke to her peers on strategies and tools to use with clients struggling with eating disorders. Having a deep, personal understanding of what it takes to recover from this condition, she seeks to be an example to those she treats, to let them know that recovery is possible. Currently developing a podcast which addresses the cultural issues that promote body shame, self-esteem issues and eating disorders, Tamara lives in Vancouver, Washington, with her husband and best friend, Adam, enjoying life to the fullest with their two beautiful children, Jacob and Chloe.