We Indians tend to take depression lightly, talking about it casually most of the time. Depression should not be confused with sadness or grief, since it is a clinical disorder that affects millions of people from all walks of life around the globe.
With our changing, hectic and demanding lifestyle, the statistics aren’t getting any better. Depression, when left untreated, can be crippling not just to those who are going through it, but also their loved ones. You can help those who are going through depression without being worn down yourself or by sacrificing your own peace of mind if you do it the right way.
Note: These tips helps you in supporting someone dealing with depression. It is not substitute for psychiatric help or right treatment:
1. Gather information
Try to understand what depression is before you decide to help someone dealing with depression.
No matter what the illness is, your listening to the person will always help. Unfortunately, people who are depressed may not want to say anything at times. You can just be there for them in such situations so that they know they are not alone.
3. Help them with everyday routine
A depressed person may forget to feed their pet, cook dinner or do laundry. Be there and support them in completing their everyday necessary tasks which at this stage can be overwhelming for them.
4. Plan fun activities
You can plan fun activities to help your friend or family member going through depression, but at the same time be prepared for their refusal to join you. Show empathy and do not get upset, which may further aggravate their condition.
5. Keep in touch
Do not wait for the depressed person to get in touch with you, because that is the last thing on their agenda, no matter how much they love you. Take initiative and contact them, even if it takes several attempts to get their response.
6. Don’t criticize or judge
If you haven’t been in their shoes, it is difficult to understand why a depressed person just cannot snap out of it. You may be tempted to criticize their lack of will power or be judgmental about their behavior, but avoid it. It may just push the person over the edge.
7. Avoid ultimatum and threats
Many have the wrong notion that being tough on the depressed person rather than encouraging their lethargic behavior will help them overcome it. This is a useless gesture which may hurt or even break the relationship.
People going through depression often misunderstand others or feel they are being ignored or misunderstood. Either way, reassure them that things are fine with you and you have complete trust and faith in them.
9. Learn to draw the line
Do not overdo the helping part of helping the person going through depression. Know your limits, how much to do and when to stop.
10. Garner invitations
Encourage your friends and family to invite the depressed person to parties, functions and events. Make sure that you try your level best to ensure that he/she attends these celebrations and be there for them when they feel lost.
11. Discourage alcohol or OTC medicines
See to it that the depressed person does not resort to unhealthy methods of alcohol consumption or taking OTC (over the counter) medicines to tackle their problem. Though this provides temporary relief, it turns into life threatening condition in long run.
12. Encourage and ensure treatment
Many people give up on medications since it takes 4-6 weeks to take effect, and they feel it is useless. Encourage and ensure that they go through their course of treatment, making sure that changes in medications are done appropriately when required.
13. Continue to be there
Even when the depressed person is under medical care, they may need your support and help, in fact more than before during the transition period. Be there for them.
14. Keep emergency lines handy
You may have to reach out for professional help if the depressed person shows suicidal tendencies or their condition gets worse. Have the emergency helplines handy with you, especially if you are the caretaker or partner.
15. No blame games
Do not bring up the topic of how terrible their behavior was and how you put up with them during their depression when they have overcome their ailment. Know that it is not their fault. This is the worst thing you can do to a person who has just come out of hell.