Depression is a difficult and lonely struggle that can often go undiagnosed and unrecognized.
You could actually be in a relationship with someone that’s clinically depressed and not be aware of what they are going through. The exact same can be said for a spouse or family member that you are living with. Your instinct would be to offer support if someone you love has been diagnosed with depression. There’s nothing wrong with that.
The following are some ways that you can help someone with depression:
Helping Them Find a Therapist
Your loved one will need the help and support of a suitable certified therapist. This can be a game changer but actually getting them to visit the therapist can be quite daunting for them. It’s not that they do not want help; it’s simply that they may not be able to focus. This is where you can help them by stepping in and helping them find a suitable therapist. Begin by checking what their insurance will cover and then do the research. It would also help to get recommendations from either your or their doctor.
Adjust Your Expectations
There are several different ways a person can be impacted by depression. A common target is their energy levels. They just do not have the same inclination to do the types of things that may appear “normal.” It can be arduous just getting out of bed and having the motivation to go to work. Even the everyday household chores can become draining. This means you will need to adjust your expectations due to their lack of motivation. Supporting them is about being patient.
Embrace the Seriousness
Unless you have actually experienced clinical depression yourself, it is hard to understand exactly what the other person is going through. Suggesting that they “just snap out of it” is not going to help. You will need to embrace the seriousness of what they are actually experiencing.
Let them know that although you might not be feeling what they are, you will provide them with whatever support they need.
Help By Listening
While your heart is in the correct place, you probably are not equipped to solve the problems of a depressed person. The actual causes can run deep. While you may have your own opinions and believe the solution is very simple it would be much better to listen more and talk less. Listening is just that, listening. If you are asked for your opinion, then give it but you do not need to have a plan or engage. Listening is very helpful.
Going outside for a walk can be very invigorating on many levels. Again, this is not a problem-solving situation but an example of how small gestures can be a big help. Encouraging your loved one to go for a walk outside in the sun can help boost their vitamin D levels which can help release serotonin. This is good for both the body and the mind. The walks do not have to be long challenging hikes. A simple short stroll can be extremely therapeutic.
Plan for the Future
The target of a depressed person is to identify a way out of the “darkness.” That path could be lit with the hope of a promising future. You could help by planning activities to do when they start to feel better. This could be a vacation, short break or renovation plans. Having something to aim for and look forward to will go a long way towards improving spirits.
Prepare Healthy Meals
When someone is depressed they are not really focused on taking care of themselves, as well as they should. This is especially true during meal times. You can help them by preparing meals that are healthy to share. It does not matter if you are not a cook, there are many home delivery options available along with prepared meals you can purchase that would be very simple to create a dinner from. By arranging dinner, there will be one less thing for your loved one to deal with.
Look After Yourself, As Well
You will not be able to commit to helping someone unless you are also taking good care of yourself. It’s a good idea to keep up with the activities that you enjoy such as having lunch with friends or going to the gym. Do not isolate yourself with the person that’s depressed as this would make the situation worse and create resentment. This will not help either one of you. Curing depression does not have a timetable attached. Allow the recovery process to play out to remove the pressure from both of you.