Major depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the world. People tend to withdraw when they are depressed, so reaching out to a friend in need is an important first step. You can’t cure them, but social support can remind them that they are not alone.
There are things you can say and ask to let them know you care. Here are some statements and questions someone who is depressed might find helpful to hear.
Depression can cause fatigue, insomnia or lack of motivation. Helping does not have to be a huge, drastic effort. Sometimes it can be as simple as picking up a meal or taking them to an appointment.
Sometimes the most important thing you can do is to just listen sympathetically. Make sure not to interrupt with well-meaning advice. All your loved one may need is to talk to relieve the pressure of bottled-up emotions.
Even if you don’t understand your loved ones feelings, resist the urge to try and come up with simple solutions. Adopt an attitude of acceptance about the way their depression is affecting them.
Those who are suffering with depression may think that there is something wrong with them. Remind them that depression is an illness. It takes a lot of strength to fight back, so they may be much stronger than they think.
There is a difference between depression and sadness. Never say that you know how they feel. A statement like that will only minimize their feelings. Instead, try to be understanding by doing some research and educating yourself.
Tell them that you are sorry about the pain they are experiencing. Remind them that you are not going to leave them. Make sure to also take care of your own needs. If your feeling burned out or frustrated you won’t be much help to your loved one.
Your loved one won’t always feel like talking. It is important to understand that and allow them their space.
Reassure them that they don’t have to be alone when they are feeling low. Remind them that they can get through it and that you both will still be there when it’s over.
For someone with depression, even the simplest tasks can be difficult. Many people report their mood lifting later in the day, so allowing them to complete these tasks in their own time is a good idea.
Just spending time with your loved one might feel like a small and meaningless gesture, but sometimes just showing up and being supportive and present is enough.
Support is important. Do not shy away from the topic. The conversation should be collaborative and not confrontational. Be caring and supportive, but also realistic and open to their state of mind.
Encourage your loved ones and friends to seek help for your depression and suicidal thoughts.
This post was written by Lani Gouws on behalf of The Bridge Therapy Center. If you have any questions or require more information, please contact Lani here: firstname.lastname@example.org