When someone you care about is suffering from depression, it can be an overwhelmingly helpless feeling. Naturally, you’d like to ease that person’s pain in any way that you can, but it can be challenging to know the best way to help. Part of the problem is that people experiencing depression are often reluctant to go into detail about it. If your friend or family member is depressed, but you have no knowledge of what’s causing it or the specifics of what they’re feeling, it’s going to be quite difficult for you to help. That being said, if you truly want to assist your loved one in working their way out of depression, there are certain things you can do that will have a good chance of making a positive difference.
Educate Yourself About Depression
Before you can really help someone suffering from depression, you need to gain an understanding of what they’re probably going through. By learning about the different things people tend to experience with depression, you can become better informed to be able to come up with ways to make things easier on your friend or family member. Additionally, with depression as well as most mental disorders, there are certain actions that may come with good intentions, but will actually do more harm than good. By doing your own research on depression, or contacting certain organizations for more information, you can learn some of the best methods for helping with depression, as well as the methods that should be avoided.
Encourage Your Loved One to Seek Outside Help
While having supportive friends and family members can be very helpful for someone dealing with depression, oftentimes outside help from a group or counselor is what’s truly needed. In a depression support group, your loved one will be able to share experiences and feelings with other people that are going through similar things. Sometimes, being around people that you can relate to can be very cathartic and helpful in the healing process.
One-on-one counseling sessions with a trained professional can also be very helpful for someone with moderate to severe depression. Sometimes, it takes some trial and error to find the counselor or therapist that’s the right fit, but it can be extremely worth it in the end.
Be Whatever Kind of Friend or Family Member That They Need
Depression is not going to take the same form with every person. In some cases, the person suffering from depression is going to desire the company of someone that they can laugh, joke, and do fun activities with to take their mind off of their feelings. In other cases, a depressed person may just want someone that they can vent to, and will listen to them as they talk or even complain about what they’re going through. Sometimes, your friend or family member may just need some space while they’re working through their feelings. If you can, talk with your loved one about what kind of friend, significant other, or family member they need you to be, and do your best to fill that role.
Remember, there’s no clear-cut roadmap for helping someone you care about with their depression. Each person is going to experience depression differently, and each person is going to have different needs when it comes to dealing with it. The important thing is that you’re willing to be there for this person, and if you make that clear to them, there’s a good chance that knowledge alone will be a comfort to them. Getting through depression requires, above all else, love, patience, and support.
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