Depression can turn those that you love into someone you do not know any more. The person you love is still in there, but they are not likely to show you the fun and happy side of them that you may be use to. Coping with depression is hard for the person with the condition, but it can also be very stressful for those that love that person. If you know someone who is struggling with depression, there are some things you can do to help and there are also some things that you should never do. Your patience and understanding are essential if you want to help and be there for them.
Those coping with depression know that they are not themselves, but they really don’t care, and they may not think that you care either. That is the horrible thing about depression. It changes and warps the outlook of the person suffering, and they may not even know they are depressed. They feel worthless, jaded, tired, sad, unmotivated, uninterested in anything, and possibly suicidal. This is very hard for them, and it is also very hard on you. Whatever you do, don’t give up in them. Instead, learn to think differently to help them. Never, even tell someone with depression to ‘snap out of it,’ as that is just not possible.
You can remind them again and again how much they mean to you and how important they are in your life. You may feel like a broken record, but they need to hear this. They may act like they don’t believe you, but if you are persistent, your actions will show them that you do care. Coping with depression means coping with the symptoms until someone can find a way to come out of the fog. Encourage them to see someone for help. Some people will rebel at the thought, but remember they fear the stigma of a mental illness. Remind them that millions suffer from depression and there is treatment that will make them feel better. It’s a medical condition, just like having the flu.
One part of coping with depression in a loved one is knowing when things have gone from bad to worse. You may hear that someone who talks about suicide is just seeking attention, but that is not true. Someone talking about it is someone who has thought about it. They may not want to do it, but they may feel as if it is the only way to get away from the misery that they feel day in and day out. They have gone to a place in their mind where their death is a gift to everyone and that no one will care. If your loved on is talking about it, even indirectly, keep a close eye on them and call a suicide prevention line to get advice on how to help them.
You may discover the helping someone with severe depression is hard on you. Make sure you take some time for yourself. Also remember that the person in question is coping with depression and may have been for a very long time, and they don’t know how to feel differently. You may have to do or say things that makes them mad in order to help them, but you have to avoid suicide at all costs. When they are better, and on the road to becoming the happy person you remember, they will thank you for all that you have done.