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.
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.
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.
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.