Over 350 million people suffer from depression according to the World Health Organization, which means we all have or will become close with someone who is experiencing depression at some point. Depression can affect even the most unlikely individuals including some of your closest friends, co-workers, family member and significant other. Patience and understanding are key to loving someone with depression and here we just complied some suggestions for how you can be more supportive to someone who is fighting with depression.
15 Things to Remember When Loving Someone with Depression
They Feel Like a Burden
Those with depression are fully aware of their emotions and feelings so much so that they don't want to bring anyone down around them. Often times, those who suffer from depression will push the people closest to them away. They can end up hurting those close to them as a way of protecting you from the pain and sadness they themselves are feeling.
They Aren't Just Sad
Depression is much more than just feeling sad. It is an affliction that takes over a number of aspects of someone's life. It can cause physical pain that keeps them want to do nothing because it is just easier. Depression can cause more stresses, make even the easiest things difficult, cause individuals to doubt themselves, and overall make life hard to live.
They Can't Be Fixed
It can be easy to think that being extra cheerful will help snap someone out of their depression, but the truth is that they are emotionally numb. Always being positive can actually do more harm than good. People with depression cannot simply be fixed.
They Are Not Choosing to Be Depressed
Depression makes the individual feel helpless; it is something no one would willingly choose. It is like living in a person in your own mind without any exit, hope, or motivation. It can be frustrating when people who suffer from depression try desperately to break free from it, but for some reason just can't.
It Doesn't Have Anything to Do With You
It can be hard not to take things personally and even harder to understand what someone with depression is going through. Loving someone with depression can be even more of a challenge when you begin to think their depression is a reflection of your relationship. Just never think that way.
Tough Love Won't Work
Ultimatums, demands or tough love won't help someone with depression. Presenting these types of choices to someone with depression will not magically make them happy or the person they were before the depression. This is an unrealistic approach for anyone to take to cure someone of depression.
They Don't Want to Be Alone
There are a number of times where someone with depression does want to be left alone or given some space, but they most often do not want to face this alone. They often times want to spend time with others, make connections and be brought out of their routine.
They Will Withdraw from Everything
People with depression will often withdraw from everything and everyone. This is a way for them to try and block out the pain and sadness they are feeling. For them, withdrawing into themselves feels safe, but this does not mean they do not want someone there with them.
They Are Not Weak
It takes a lot of strength and courage for anyone with depression to go about their daily activities or to even get out of bed some days. While they may be feeling helpless and weak, they are actually some of the strongest people.
You Are Allowed to Be Frustrated
Loving someone with depression can be exhausting and can makes you feel angry as well. There will be times when it is not just the person you love fighting this illness but you as well. But remember it is the illness, not the person you are fighting.
The Negative Talk Can Go On
People who are depression will get lost in constantly talking negatively; most often they don't realize they are doing so. While it is good to let them talk about their feelings, if it just seems to go in a circular motion and never ends, you'll want to try to take the conversations in another direction.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask Them What They Need from You
Depression is different for everyone, so it can be difficult to know just what someone needs most when they are depressed. Asking them what you may be able to do differently to help them or simply what they need from you can make it easier for both of you.
They Often Have No Reason for Why They Are Depressed
Most often people can have a thousand reasons to be happy, but when they are battling depression, all those things won't make a difference. While they may be able to pinpoint the trigger for their depression, they will not be able to figure out why or what is still causing them to feel so depressed.
Depression Will Steal Away All the Things They Used to Love
Depression has a way of holding people back from the things they loved to do. It can be hard for someone with depression to want to actively take part in any activities and will most often never feel like doing anything. Reintroducing some of those things they used to love in a gentle way can help them a great deal.
It's Normal to Feel Depressed
Depression does not mean someone is broken. The feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, withdraw and many others are all symptoms everyone has felt. The difference is with depression, these feelings are more intense, can last much longer and can all cluster together.
Ways to Show Your Love to Someone with Depression
Gaining a better understanding of how depression affects someone is a key component to helping them. While it will often be difficult loving someone with depression, there are a number of ways you can remind them that you care for them and are there for them.
Give them extra help with the daily task. Doing the dishes, laundry or simply keeping the mail organized can keep things more manageable and less overwhelming for them.
Help them eat right. People with depression will either barely eat or overeat, which both will cause more damage to their mental well-being as well as their physical health.
Take them outside even if it's the last thing they want to do. The vitamin D is especially important for them to get as well as a number of other health benefits that can help them combat some of their depression symptoms.
Have a conversation about what they are feeling. This will give you a better understanding of what they are going through and will let them feel connected to you.
Encourage them to take care of themselves. Give them permission to take a warm bubble bath or drive them to the salon for a haircut.
Hug them, and make it sincere for 20 seconds.
Encourage them to laugh.
Reassure them that you are there for them and that their illness will not scare you away.
Challenge their negative self-talk. When they feel like a failure, remind them of all they have done; when they say they are unlovable, remind them that you love them.
Remind them of the happy times you have shared together and your favorite things about them. And remind them that you love them and they can get through it.