There are more than 350 million people around the world battling with depression, according to World Health Organization. And with this staggering statistic, it’s probable we’ve interacted with a depressed person at some point in our life.
Depression is a traumatic and overwhelming experience. When a person is struggling with depression, it seems like their entire life is blown apart and each day is a different challenge.
But they aren’t the only ones who struggle. The people who are long forgotten are the loved ones of a person who has depression. No one tells you how to cope if your loved one feels miserable and suffers from depression.
It feels like you are helpless. You feel like if you could do the right thing or say something special, you’ll be able to help them. But most of the times, you don’t know what to do or say…
You try to speak to them. You try a gentle, firmer approach. You suggest things that might help. You buy them things that would make them happy. You encourage them to try new experiences. Yet, nothing really seems to make a difference.
If you are coping with this experience every day and your loved one suffers from depression, these are 12 things you need to remember in order to understand them fully:
1.Depression is not something they consciously choose. It’s like they are trapped in a dark tunnel and can’t find their way out. Their senses are heightened, and every fear is magnified. All they want to do to is get out of the tunnel, but they can’t see where they’re going.
Depression is one of the most tiring and helpless experiences a person can go through. And it’s not just a bad mood, it’s a severe condition that needs to be treated. No one chooses to be depressed.
2.Saying things like “You need to stop this!”; “There’s nothing wrong with you, it’s all in your head”; “You need to socialize more” is meaningless and will only worsen the situation.
Saying these phrases gives the impression like you don’t understand what they go through, no matter how helpful your intention might be. Instead, you can say “I’m here for you no matter what”, or simply give them a warm silent hug.
3.They don’t want to feel like a burden to anyone. Individuals who battle with depression daily can shut off from everything around in order to escape impacting people with their condition.
In difficult moments like these, it’s very important to try and reach out to them. Let them know that they’ll never burden you with anything they say, and encourage them to share their deepest sorrows.
4.They are natural born philosophers. This is actually one of the positive traits of people fighting depression. They go through life having so many questions and opinions for everything around them, their brain never stops. It’s not enough for them to settle down, make the cash, and live a mediocre life.
They think in ways so broad, they could change the world. They love to decipher every life challenge and share that knowledge with anyone. But the downside to their curiosity is going that deep and asking questions that might not have an answer at the moment. That’s the initial moment when their logic reasoning can become a destructive thinking.
5.Always remember! They don’t like being in this state of mind as well and are fighting very hard against depression, so all you could do is support them unconditionally.
6.They like opportunities for laughter and fun. It is scientifically proven that laughter is good for the mind and increases your lifespan. Never stop doing this. Take some time off your routine and spend some time watching something funny with your loved one, or cheer them up in any way possible. Laughter is the best medicine.
7. Treating them with a special precaution can make them feel hurt and discouraged. They should be treated just like anyone else. Assume that they are 100% sane and encourage them to go on with their daily activities. Sometimes a purposeful, predictable routine can be a remedy for depression.
8. They may often feel sad for no actual reason, so just hold their hand and be with them whenever this happens. Depression is a condition that plays with one’s feelings and emotions in a twisted way. There isn’t really a definite way to control it.
So, be prepared for moments when your loved one will feel very sad for no apparent reason, and the only thing they’d need in this moment is YOU – hugging them and wiping their tears the minute it gets ugly. Listening to them. Simply sitting with them at a local coffee shop or taking a late-night stroll. No psychologist is necessarily needed here, only you and your unconditional support.
9. Just because they’re suffering from depression doesn’t mean they are weak. It’s known that one of the most influential and important people in history have experienced depression. Dr. Neel Burton, a renowned psychiatrist and philosopher, discusses in his TEDx talk that the way our culture looks at depression, and how traditional societies treat it, differs in a way that traditional societies consider human distress as a way to address important life issues, not a mental illness. It’s very important to know that depression is not to be considered as shameful.
10.They may seem irritable at times- The most important thing for you to do is never take it personally. People suffering from depression are always in their minds, contemplating. A downside to that attitude is that they sometimes can hurt your feelings by saying something they don’t mean. It’s important to be aware that they’re not your enemy. Their depression is. Try to not take it personally and move on with the conversation.
11.They may not have as much energy as they would like to have every moment of the day. One of the most common symptoms of depression is also easily running out of power. Try to console them and unwind their mind with something whenever this happens, while letting them recharge in the most suitable way.
12.One of the most significant things you need to remember is that this condition requires a lot of family support and encouragement. Let your person know you are there for them every time their fear prevails and scares them. Whenever they need to talk.
You have to find the proper way to reach out to them, without forcing them to act a certain way. Be patient. Communicate face to face and sincerely. And most of all don’t ever give up on them.
A professional writer with many years of experience in the fields of psychology, human relationships, science, and spirituality.