How to Help Someone Suffering Depression
I’m not qualified to give you advice on depression. But wait!
I do know what I wanted to hear from those close to me, and what I didn’t need to hear.
So hopefully what I have to below will give you some insight if you are in this situation.
And most importantly, if you suspect that the person you are concerned about may do harm to others or themselves, you should get them to qualified help immediately. What I have to say wouldn’t be appropriate in this case.
When I was at my worst, I felt my life was literally falling apart.
Depression is very serious to those who are suffering with it!
I really needed people close to me to say ‘I’m here to listen because I want to help you start feeling better. What can I do?’
To be Taken Seriously
This touches on my first comment somewhat but my feeling remains that most people do not really understand depression and its severity. I didn’t until I finally realized I was suffering from it! So it’s difficult for friends or family to help in the right way. Educating yourself about this condition first is a good thing to consider.
Actual Physical Help
I really felt that the pile of things that I needed to do on a regular basis was just too much to handle. And as I would attack that pile and get some things done, I would only feel that the pile was getting bigger. I could have really used help with minor chores and errands that I needed to do. The little things can really help, and it also shows that you really do care.
Being Too Aggressive
I did not appreciate people telling me what to do. Coercion and suggestions are ok, and listening of course was very important. For me, although my life was not terrible as I thought it was, I felt that I had done everything I possibly could do to help myself. I felt no one else could give me answers.
I did not like this either. Taking the initial steps of confiding in a few people and overcoming my fear in the process, just to have someone judge the decisions I have made? And in doing so claiming they know all of the solutions? Gee, maybe they also know how to make diamonds from coal! Listening is great, but in a non-judgemental way.
Never ever say ‘Snap out of it!’ or ‘Suck it up!’. If your goal is have that person stop confiding in you, that’s probably the best way to accomplish it.
Knowing how to help someone with depression is not easy by any means. Psychologists go through years and years of training to learn how to help people. But by being there, and letting them know that you care and actually showing them, at least you are starting in the right place.