So many articles feature how to deal with depression and are written to the person who is depressed. However, I thought I’d write something to the people who have a relationship with a person who is suffering from depression.
Here are a few tips to cope with a person who is depressed.
~Listen and don’t tell them they should just think positive. If a depressed person could think positive they would. They don’t have the ability to change the way they think without help. It only frustrates them and makes them feel bad about themselves.
~Empathize. A depressed person needs someone who understands them. They feel very alone. Sometimes people think if you empathize with a person who is depressed they become more depressed. A little empathy goes a long way not only with depressed people but with anyone who is struggling. The last thing someone wants to hear is your expert advice. They just want to be understood.
~Spend time with them. A person who is depressed needs to get out of the house and stop being isolated. Isolation is one of the biggest contributors to depression.
~Reach out to them. Keep calling and checking on them. Don’t take their lack of friendliness or response to your kindness as a rejection. They need people that care and don’t give up on them.
~Encourage them to go to counseling. There are many good counselors available to help a depressed person get better. It is one of the most treatable mental illnesses. There are several very effective medications for depression, but medication alone is not a long-term answer. Counseling combined with the medication is most effective.
~Don’t enable them. A depressed person must help themselves get better. You cannot do the work for them. If they don’t respond to your invitations, phone calls and suggestions for counseling accept this and don’t let it weigh you down.
~Don’t ignore signs of suicide. If a person talks about wanting to kill themselves and has a plan you can call 911 and have them hospitalized. If you are unsure what to do consult a counselor, psychiatrist, or medical personnel.