Four Tips for Loving Someone with Depression
People don’t often want to talk about depression. It’s one of those taboo subjects, which is a tragedy, because nearly 10% of Americans suffer from depression at any given time and almost 4% from major depression. Why don’t we talk about depression? I think it’s because we don’t know what to do to help those we care about.
What do you say and how do you help someone who has depression? What do you do when you fear your loved one’s depression may be turning suicidal? There are many ways you can help. Here are a few:
- Listen – Very often those who suffer from depression need to talk about what they are feeling with someone other than their psychotherapist. Listen to your friend without trying to “fix” anything.
- Walk – Walking helps change the brain chemistry of those who are depressed, but the last thing your depressed friend may want to do is get out of bed. Encourage a stroll with them. Even at a slow pace, getting out of the house and walking a bit can lift your loved one’s mood for at least a short period. Don’t expect this to be “exercise.” Think more of simply getting out of bed and moving.
- Be Willing to Talk about Anything – All subjects should be open for discussion. If you’re uncomfortable with certain topics of conversation that you know are at the root of your loved one’s depression, look at your own motives and needs in wanting to help your friend.
- Don’t Panic – Sometimes your loved one may say things that upset you. Your loved one may consider suicide at some point in their depression. Do not panic, no matter what your loved one shares. The fact that your loved one shares the hard things with you means that you are a trusted confidant. Steer your loved one in the direction of professionals who can help work through these problems.
It isn’t always easy to love someone with depression, but your support and care during the dark days will be forever treasured and appreciated by the ones you love.