How to Help A Friend with Depression

Depression, an incapacitating and an isolating disorder, can jeopardize relationships, if not treated well. A person living with a depressed individual might feel neglected and deprived and subsequently, adopt an indifferent approach. At times, he or she may feel like walking on the eggshells because of the attitude and reaction of the depressed individual. However, it is important to realize that with a little care and some effort, the relationship can be salvaged. Here are some steps that can be taken to extend support to a depressed person:

Attempting to be there for them: Depression can get painful for the depressed people and their loved ones. Nonetheless, one can still offer support by holding hands, providing reassurance that everything will be okay through the eyes by giving a gentle back rub. An individual can also say reassuring words such as,”You are not alone in this,””We will find out a way together” or”You’re so important to me.”
Trying small loving gestures: Some people aren’t very familiar with emotional expressions. They can still extend their support by trying gestures like packing a lunch for the one who is depressed, leaving a care or love note in the lunch box, sending them a text after regular periods, helping them with the laundry, doing grocery shopping for or with them, accompanying them for a walk, etc..
Avoid judging or criticizing: It can be very tempting to tell a depressed person he or she’s overreacting or lacking a perspective nonetheless, these words may puncture a person’s self-esteem. Thus, these have to be avoided Depression is a serious mental disorder that can’t be won over with a change in outlook or by developing strong willpower. It’s important that a friend or a loved one validates the feelings and emotions of the depressed individual so that the latter can think about moving forward.
Paying attention to their self-care: Oftentimes, depressed folks find it hard to pay attention to their self-care. They might not get out of bed the whole day, might skip meals, may not take shower for days, etc.. This is the time when a friend or a loved one can pitch in and help them make their bed, eat some hot and nutritious meal, take a shower, and exercise and meditate.
Rewarding them rather than penalizing: Threatening a depressed person by saying things like,”If you do not take care of yourself, eat dinner, sleep in time, I’ll end this relationship,” is a merciless method of telling them that they’re awful. Instead, one needs to use statements which are encouraging and rewarding at the same time like”Oh! You are up early, shall we go for a run?” or “Wow you cooked dinner, should I help with the dishes?” It is important for a friend or a loved one to help them question these thoughts empirically. By way of instance, if they say,”I’m worthless,” or”I am horrible,” one must ask them softly what makes them think like that and this discussion should be helpful in breaking the negative patterns.

Depression is treatable and you must never challenge the power of treatment. Despite the fact that the self-help and support systems can help in the symptom alleviation, none can be as helpful as treatment like cognitive behavioral treatment and medication. Therefore, an individual must help the depressed to seek treatment.

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