Supporting Someone Who’s Depressed

Recently, someone told me about her daughter’s battle with depression and the need she felt for support.  In the mental health field, we do focus more on those who battle the mental illnesses.  I do think that it’s easy to overlook the loved ones of the patients.  Not only do they suffer alongside the person battling depression or another mental health issue, but they are also an important part of the recovery since they are part of the support network.

I find myself wanting to say something uplifting when I see someone struggling with depression, but it seems that words always fall short of making any difference.  As someone who’s battled depression myself, I can give a few pointers on what helped me.

I am very grateful for people’s patience while listening to me talk through my feelings.  It’s not easy to listen to someone who feels like he’s living in the dark and with little hope.  Words of reassurance are always appreciated, but what I appreciated even more was knowing that I had someone to talk to.  Understandably, there’s a limit to how much negativity we can listen to, so we also need to be considerate of our limits and take care of ourselves.

Depression impacts our intimate relationship.  Speaking for myself, I’ve been blessed with a spouse who’s been ever so patient and understanding through my low moods, which has helped me recover quickly.  Getting angry and guilt-tripping make patient feel worse and generally don’t help.  A good dose of TLC can go a long way to lighten the weight of the depression.

In my case, as in many, professional help was necessary to help me find my way out of the rut I was in.  A friend went out of his way to get me the professional help I needed.  Depression cripples our energy and motivation, and so having someone who gets and who’s able to help where you need it is an excellent way to be supported.

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