Feeling down or lonely is a common experience for people. Generally, these feelings usually pass with time. However, if these feelings last beyond a few weeks or start affecting day-to-day living, they can signify depression.
Depression can develop slowly, and often, someone who is depressed doesn’t always realize or acknowledge that something is wrong with their feelings or behaviors. It is common for their partner or family members to be the first to recognize that they need help.
So what do we do when someone we love has depression? Today’s article provides seven ways to help someone with depression and take care of yourself as part of a support system.
How To Recognize Depression
Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistent sadness, worthlessness, general loss of interest in life, and in severe cases, thoughts of suicide. It can develop slowly, with its symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
How do you know if the feelings you or a loved one are experiencing are within a healthy range of emotions? Below are the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that signify that someone you care about may have depression.
A person with depression may experience:
- varying degrees of loneliness or sadness
- being overwhelmed
- lack of confidence
- inability to concentrate
A person with depression may think that:
- Their feelings or depression are their fault.
- They are a burden or a failure.
- They are worthless.
- They don’t deserve good things.
- Things will never be better for them.
- Nothing good will ever happen in their lives.
- Life is not worth living anymore.
- The world would be better without them.
A person with depression may exhibit the following behaviors:
- suddenly stop doing the things they love or enjoy
- withdraw from close family and friends
- establish or join a new circle of people
- have problems with responsibilities at home, work, or school
- consume alcohol and drugs
- often have conflicts with the law
A person with depression may experience these physical symptoms:
- Always feeling under the weather or unwell
- Fatigue or feeling tired all the time
- Frequent body aches (head, stomach, muscle, etc)
- Problem with sleeping or staying awake
- Loss or change of appetite
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
If someone close to you is experiencing some of the symptoms listed above, it is important to get in touch with a professional to get an assessment. Before getting support for depression, an evaluation from mental health personnel is needed first to get the right treatment program for recovery.
7 Ways To Help Someone With Depression
- 1. Learn About Depression
If you suspect someone close to you may be struggling with depression, a good step is to learn more about the illness. This will help you better understand what they are going through.
- 2. Listen And Be Open
Often, even a short conversation can make a difference in making someone feel less isolated or alone. However, knowing what to say to a person with depression can be challenging. Moreover, raising the subject with the person you love may take some planning and thought, so try to choose a time and place when you both feel comfortable, safe, and relaxed.
Additionally, never underestimate the value of just being there. More often than not, you won’t have the perfect answer or solution when your friend or family with depression tries to open up about what they are experiencing. Being present and willing to listen can be an important way of supporting them.
Being present, consistent, and able to listen can be a great start on how to help someone with depression. Moreover, your friend or loved one may find it difficult to accept the help you offer–be consistent in checking in with them and letting them know that you care for them. Let them know that you are there for them if they need you.
- 3. Acknowledge The Impact Of Depression
It may be challenging to know how to deal with a depressed person, but another way to help is to acknowledge the impact of the illness. This goes both ways. As part of their support system, you should be able to recognize that often, their negative feelings or actions are brought on by their illness. On the other hand, letting them know and helping them acknowledge the impact of their depression on their relationships, responsibilities, or day-to-day activities is also essential. This two-way street builds understanding and accountability and encourages them to seek help if they haven’t yet.
- 4. Help Them Seek Help For Depression
Advocating for help and support is another pivotal step in helping your loved one with their mental illness. You may suggest seeking help together, like setting an appointment with a physician for a check-up. They may not see this as intrusive, but remember that it is common for people with depression or other mental illnesses not to recognize that they need help. As the previous point suggests, let them know you care and are concerned about them. Ultimately, being consistently supportive even if they are cross with you is another way to be there for someone with depression.
- 5. Celebrate And Support Their Progress
It can be hard to see your progress when you are going through difficulties. So when someone you care about takes a step to confront their struggle with depression, acknowledge and help them see their improvement. This helps them recognize their progress no matter how small and helps them build confidence in staying on the path to recovery.
- 6. Emergency And Crisis Situations
If someone you love expresses suicidal feelings, take it seriously and seek immediate help. Call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both provide 24-hour, confidential support to anyone in a suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
When they are not distressed, talk to the person with depression about the issue of suicide. Help them build a safety plan should they be triggered and start heading into a suicidal crisis. Additionally, talk to another person you trust or a family member regarding the situation. Getting support as a carer or support system is also important.
- 7. Take Care Of Yourself
Learning how to help someone with depression is a challenging feat. Thus, keeping a balance is always an important reminder for all carers. You will not be able to be there for your friend all of the time nor be able to do everything for them. Setting boundaries and having a good support system is key to preventing the greater risk of developing a mental health condition yourself. Carers looking after their loved ones with depression or other mental health problems should first and foremost look after themselves physically and emotionally.
A Revolutionary Treatment For Depression
It is impossible to know precisely how to help someone with depression. While this article serves as a guide, getting the proper treatment for recovery is still important. Always remember that your desire to be there for your loved one struggling with it is already a big deal. Another important note to remember is that each person is different, and how they deal with their mental health will always be different. If you are looking for the right treatment center for your or your loved one’s needs, we at Roots TMS are here to help. We offer cutting-edge treatments like Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS Therapy for Depression while providing our patients the highest level of safety and support. Our treatment team is here to help you and guide you on your journey to recovery and wellness. Come visit us at 3939 Atlantic Ave, Suite 102, Long Beach, CA 90807, or call (866) 766-8776 for immediate assistance.