In the first part of this article we talked about what depression is and some very important titbits that can help you assist and help depressed people out of the state they are in. These tips include realising that depression is not a choice and knowing that you are allowed to get frustrated if your attempt at helping is not yielding fruits. Other essential tips are discussed as follows.
They can become easily overwhelmed with emotions and their troubles
Being almost permanently tired and exhausted is a side effect of being depressed. Day to day activities become very exhausting and overwhelming for such people and they may appear to be very much okay one minute and look completely tired the next. Their emotional state may make them bail on pre-scheduled events or cancelling on plans. Just have it at the back of your mind that it’s not about what you did to them but the side effects of being depressed.
It’s not about you
It is usual to have problems understanding the things your depressed friend is going through and knowing how how their sadness affects your relationship with them. If they become distant or appear to need time alone, don’t blame yourself or try to understand how maybe if you’d acted differently they would have healed better. Instead, understand that it is no fault of yours they are depressed.
Avoid giving ultimatums or making demands
Giving a person an ultimatum or using the “tough-love” approach such as threatening to break up with them or not talk to them if they don’t get out of the state they are in would do little to make them better than they are.The fact that you’re tired of dealing with their issues won’t make them miraculously become the person you want them to be.The “tough-love” approach is not only unrealistic but also manipulative.
They don’t always want to do this alone
Often times, we assume that people dealing with everyday issues would rather do so alone but that is not always the case. In truth, there ate times depressed people want their space but that is not to say they would want to face their fears completely alone. You can help by offering to take them out for a meal, to the movies, for a walk or just a drive around. One on one encounters with them will help bring them out of their routine, especially when you take them to a memorable place that would aid them in talking about their fears freely. Reach out to them when they least expect and remind them from time to time that you’re there for them and they don’t have to go through their problems alone.
Try the much you can, not to compare your experiences with theirs
It is common to want to share similar experiences with someone you know who is going through a rough patch as a way of telling them you can relate to and empathise with them. Saying things like ” yeah, there was a time I was depressed too…” will only make them feel like you’re trying to belittle their pain. Express empathy but don’t suppress their feelings. The greatest thing to share with someone in this situation is to listen to them. That’s what they need the most.
It’s alright to ask your friend where they are in their feelings
Asking questions like how they are really feeling and coping with their depression is the way to go. It is quite common for depressed people to have suicidal tendencies and it is good to try to ask them directly the ways they are taking care of themselves and to try and come up with a safety plan for their depression whenever it may overwhelm them.
Schedule time to spend together
Try and map out time to spend with them. This could be once or twice a week when you hang around with them either by going to the movies, shopping or just playing around. Perhaps the hardest part of being depressed is the exhaustion that doesn’t permit the person to cook or do any serious activity. You can help them out by cooking them a meal they can store to eat later.
Lastly, everyone should know that depression is not something to be ashamed of and experiencing it doesn’t mean the person is weak but surviving it is what’s most important.