As a person who can suffer from depression, it can be challenging to take care of myself, let alone another person. Although, it’s not out of the ordinary that you know someone is going through a lot mentally as we speak. Maybe you already know about them, or perhaps you don’t.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide. It is incredibly common, and one of the main causes of disability in the world. If you have a struggling friend or family member, make sure to check up on them and let them know you are there. Talking from experience, this means so much to someone with depression. Just knowing someone hasn’t given up on you and getting that validation is lovely. So, today I will be sharing all the great ways in which you can help and support someone with depression without smothering them.
Actively Listen To Them
Someone to talk too who will listen and take everything in is what anyone with depression needs the most. Ask your friend or family member how they are feeling and take every answer to heart. Let them speak and just listen. There is nothing worse than being talked over or questioned when speaking about a difficult subject like this. Make sure to engage with them, so they know that you are actively listening and not just letting everything go over your head. You can do this by using the following techniques:
- Make eye contact – Now and then make straight eye contact with them. Don’t do it non-stop though as this can be intimidating when talking about such a deep and emotional subject.
- Show empathy with your body language – Move closer to them, nod your head and smile. This technique is a great way to show your loved one that you are listening and will encourage them to continue.
- Ask questions – Don’t assume that you know what they are going through. Ask them to elaborate if you are unsure or struggling to understand. This method will show that you are interested and engaged in what they are saying.
Remember, try not to push your loved one if they don’t feel like talking at first. Make your friend aware that you are around to chat and let them come to you at their own pace.
Do your research before reaching out to support someone with depression. It is best to know what depression is and the symptoms, so you don’t appear ignorant. All this takes is a simple Google search and a few minutes of reading. There is nothing more frustrating than having to explain these things to everyone who wants to talk about my mental health issues.
You can show your support by educating yourself in advance and preventing your loved one from getting frustrated. If your research shows, this will mean a lot too as it shows you care enough to take time out of your day to look it up for them. It shows that you don’t want to upset them or get anything wrong. Here are a few topics that you can start searching today:
- Symptoms of depression
- Causes of depression
- Treatments for depression
- What is experiencing depression like?
You can look up these or anything that you feel will help you out before putting yourself out there and supporting your loved one.
When you are suffering from depression, even completing the most simple tasks can feel like running a marathon. Getting out of bed, brushing your teeth or having a shower can take up a lot of energy and effort. Therefore, offering help will go a long way and mean so much. Let them know whenever you are available to help with chores or any work around the house. Sometimes, just having company completing these everyday tasks makes them so much easier and much more enjoyable.
You can even offer to take them out somewhere. Depression can cause you to isolate, which tends to make you feel worse. Try to get them out of the house somehow, even if just for a short walk together. However, don’t feel offended if your loved one declines any offers you make. As long as they know you are willing to go out of your way for them, that is the main thing. Plus knowing you have someone to go to when you need help takes so much pressure off.
Help Them To Find Support
Another way you can help them is by finding them support. Accepting that you need help, and making a doctors appointment for this kind of thing can be terrifying. That’s where you come in. Help them by encouraging them to make that first appointment or book that first therapy session. They may not accept it at first but keep on trying.
My friend took me to the doctors and went into the room with me. We had written out a list of symptoms and feelings together beforehand to make it easier and less daunting when the doctor asked any questions. Knowing you have a friend by your side throughout the whole experience can make the entire thing so much easier. No one deserves to go through this alone. It is scary enough.
There are so many ways which you can support someone with depression. During these tough times in the world right now, people are struggling so much mentally. So many people are losing jobs, loved ones and hopes for a better future. We need to support each other now more than ever and spread the love as much as possible.
Have you ever gone the extra mile to support someone with depression? Or has someone ever helped you? What did they do? Let me know in the comments and spread some appreciation for these fantastic people. I would love to hear all of your experiences and get to know you all.