It is hard being around someone with depression. Well, I guess it must be. Being on the depressed side of the mirror, I can only assume. But to be able to answer the question “How Do You Help Somebody with Depression?” one needs to know how it feels to live with depression.
I’ve been struggling with depression for a long time. And at first, my family and “friends” wasn’t the best help I could get. In fact, in the beginning, my knowledge of depression was just basic. As I gathered more information about my mental disorder, I’ve learned how to deal with other people and how I wanted to be treated. In this post, I will list a few items that might hopefully help people who have a friend or family member with depression.
Learn more about depression
To be able to help someone with depression, you need to know what depression is. According to Psychiatry.org, depression is “Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.” According to me, depression might affect your life in every way you can imagine. You can be too into religions, politics because of depression or you can lose your interest in everything in life. Read: Depression May Dominate Your Life
Don’t Be Extra Nice
One of the common symptoms of depression is feeling invaluable, insecure and insufficient. If you act too nice to a person with depression, you might only make him or her feel more insecure.
Get Ready to Do Nothing, Together
If you want to be around someone with depression, don’t force him or her to do “fun stuff”. For people with depression, even Netflix & Chill might be hell. But staying by his/her side even when he/she doesn’t want to do anything might make the person feel loved and motivated.
Avoid Stereotypical Conversation
People with depression get used to hearing things like “You can do this,” or “You are a strong person”. And after a while, they get sick of those. This kind of sentences will only make them feel less of themselves as they are already in a great battle within themselves.
Watch for Unwanted Scenarios
I don’t have experience in this case as I was never suicidal, but I know that it can happen. If your friend or family member is suicidal, make sure to stay close. Don’t try to convince them not to suicide as it is useless. But if you’re sure that the person is suicidal, watch for signals and be ready if such a thing happens. Know who to call for help.
Don’t Take It Personal
A person with depression probably doesn’t want to hurt you on purpose. I remember breaking up with so many girlfriends after one or two days just because I was not interested anymore. It wasn’t their fault or anything actually, it was just me, wanting to stay alone. If something like this happens to you, try to give him/her some space for a while.
Encourage Physical Activity
Most of the time people with depression tend to stay home and do nothing if they are anything like me. And for me, it is impossible to go out and exercise or just walk. Perhaps it could be easier with a friend. (If only I had one) Physical activities are proven to increase the effect of depression treatment.
Don’t Be a Babysitter
Depression does not mean that the person is incapable of thinking. If you try to help with everything in their life, it will make them feel more like a loser and in the end, they might try to get rid of you.
Don’t Let Them Isolated
People in depression tend to gravitate towards isolation, staying alone in bed, without showering, without eating, sometimes without taking their meds. If you have the power, try to do one thing at a time. Don’t invite directly to clubbing but instead, tell him/her to take a shower first.
Help Build a Routine
Routine is the enemy of depression. This is one thing I believe strongly. If you help a depressed person build a routine, slowly, that would mean a lot for that person. I can’t remember what was the last thing I did two days in a row. But if there was a chance for me to build a system and repeat it every day, that would probably mean the end of the depression.