Listen to your friend

The Best Ways to Help Someone With Depression

 

Most of us know someone who is depressed at some time .

How to help someone with depression
Someone who is depressed

Some of us know someone who is depressed nearly all the time. These are the tough ones and they need serious help. They are the ones most at risk of committing suicide so if we care about them at all we need to find very specific ways to help which will bring about positive change. In this post we are going to be looking at the best ways to help someone with depression.

Dealing with someone suffering severe depression can be very challenging and can drag you down too so be careful and thoughtful but never, ever be  judge mental or condescending.

I think it is hardest when it is someone in your immediate family and it is often the case that it will be. We are often too close to that person to help without risking being hurt ourselves or hurting them further. There is a confidence inside a family to blurt out angry words at those around you that can be controlled even by the depressed person outside of the family. Within the family home a depressed person might lash out at any member of the family without provocation. They just snap and let everything inside them boil over. They may even get physical, hitting those around or punching their fist through a nearby wall or throwing some objects at anyone or anything.

This is such a difficult position to be in because the natural reaction is to respond with anger. Remember the depression is like a stew being cooked in a pressure cooker. When the pressure gets too much it will start escaping via the pressure valve. The only way to stop it is to allow it to cool down.

Need to allow tie to cool down
Pressure cooker, needs time to cool down

So it is my opinion that the best thing to do to help everyone involved is to take a walk. Let them be alone for a little while to cool off. Give them some space and time to reflect without any reaction. I know this is hard as a parent because your natural instinct says this child or person needs to be punished or disciplined for this kind of behavior. Following are a few points to help you help them.

  • Remember depression is a mental illness, they cannot help how they are behaving at that moment in time. It is not their decision to feel the way they do and like any illness it has symptoms that indicate there is a problem which needs some attention. We do not judge someone and condemn them when they fall ill with any other illness. Confronting them in a disciplinary way or judging them will only serve to make their depression worse.
  • Allow a cooling-off time. Suggest either they go for a walk outside or go for a walk yourself. This time apart will help everyone to get a grip on the situation and be less volatile making for a safer environment all round.
  • Be patient with them if they are not able to articulate how they are feeling. The fact is they probably do not understand themselves why they have reacted the way they have and they are not able to take on board any responsibility for the negative and angry behavior they had displayed.
  • Forgiveness has a wonderful healing power in most circumstances so ensure they know that you have forgiven them for the outburst and any damage they may have done. They cannot be held accountable for the manifestations of their mental illness so you need to forgive and quite often they will reflect later and come back to apologize. They will not be feeling good about what has happened either. Try to be really understanding and suggest you both have a chat about it at a later time.
  • Listen to them. Listen to the triggers and any clues as to why they are upset. When you do get a chance to sit down and talk rationally allow them to express everything they are feeling and do not try to explain or add anything to it. Just allow them to let all the steam out of the pot even if they say some things which might be hurtful

    Listen to your friend
    Listen to your friend

  • Empathize with them. This is part of really listening. You need to hear from them what is going on inside their heads and hearts. Show you understand their insecurities or fears and from time to time check in to make sure they are OK. ” Are you OK to talk about it or would you rather wait awhile? They do not need to feel pressure or under any duress to tell you anything.
  • Learn as much as you can about mental illness and how to recognize the signs and symptoms and be prepared to recognize the triggers that might send a loved one in a downward spiral. It also shows that you really care if you are prepared to be educated in the area of mental health.
  • Perhaps the most important element of all is love. Reassure them that no matter what,  you will still love them. That you really care about them and want the very best for them. They may not be receptive to your love but assure them of it anyway. Let them know you will always be there for them and you want to help them through this difficult time.
  • Seek Professional Help: Sometimes it is just too hard to work through all the issues on your own. Seeking professional help is not an admission of weakness or inadequacy but an indicator that you know the person you care about is ill and will benefit from professional help. . There is plenty of help available online and offline. See https://fromvalleytomountain.com/depressed-some-helpful-online-sites/ There is a useful tool on Mindspot to help determine the extent and severity of the illness. It is a good idea to reach out to some of the help available to help you through both coping with mental illness and helping the one you care about.
  • How to help someone with depression
    Ways to help someone with depression

Here is a word map to help you remember the key points outlined above.

Please share this page with anyone you know who might benefit from it. I would also love you to leave me some feedback as to how you found this article and this website.

Thank you so much for reading.

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Comments

    • Salim
    • January 19, 2019
    Reply

    Good day,

    I am really impressed by your write-up/article, as a young boy while growing I had period when i was battling with depression but thank God for my school guidance and counselling unit, they helped me battle it and since then, I have being interested in anyone who is also depressed. You have also given us relevant solutions to battle depression too. You must have done a great job on this. Thank you

      • admin
      • January 20, 2019
      Reply

      Thank you Salim. I have lived with and observed family members suffering depression. I write from the school of experience. I am not a professional  and I advise people to seek professional help when they need it but it is also good for the people they connect with day to day to be understanding of their illness. 

    • Lok Which
    • January 19, 2019
    Reply

    This is Ana awesome article. A lot of people are out their depressed, I know of a lady in my neighborhood who is so depressed to the extent of making an attempt to commit suicide, but we made her know suicide is not the next option, we showed her love and now she’s doing fine. This is a must read for everyone and I will take it upon myself to share this information.

      • admin
      • January 20, 2019
      Reply

      Thank you Lok, It is important that those around the depressed person understand the illness  and do just what you have done for your neighbor, love them and encourage them, showing them that you understand and care about them. Keep  looking out for her. 

    • Daniel
    • January 19, 2019
    Reply

    I must say that this article is very helpful and now I understand some things. My sister in law suffers from this disease she is often depressed and sometimes I don’t know how should I act. I try to be patient and to accomplish all her wishes but it is not easy at all. Thank you for sharing such a great topic, this is very important to know if we want to help our closest.

      • admin
      • January 20, 2019
      Reply

      Daniel it is good that you are willing to understand your sister inlaws. That is a great start to her being able to find someone she can confide in about how she is feeling. Sometimes all people need is someone who will really listen. It is a huge issue in almost every family these days. 

    • Murasa
    • January 19, 2019
    Reply

    I found that in my case that when I was depressed, I was often left to my own devices and alone. It was really isolating. True, there are times where I will eventually lash out, but that’s merely out of frustrationI think that we just want someone to hear us, but a lot of the time it’s really hard. It is really hard to ask for help, especially while in a state like that. I think that’s probably because I can’t see myself being helpful or useful and I would just be in the way. So we are better off being alone.

      • admin
      • January 20, 2019
      Reply

      Thank you for your very honest response Murasa. It is important that the person who is suffering depression can feel comfortable enough to reach out to others for help. When they are lashing out is not a good time for rational conversation. You need to cool off then when you are ready,  approach someone you trust on your terms and in your time. Not everyone is understanding of depression as an illness and if they are intolerant they can make you feel worse rather than better. You seem to be realistic about your depression, you just need to have the confidence to seek help when you need it from the right people. 

    • INI
    • January 19, 2019
    Reply

    I feel depression is something that should not be taken with levity. Serious cases can lead to suicide or death of another when such person makes irrational decisions. I would like to add to your post by hammering on the fact that professional help is very important. I live in a part of the world where a pastor can double as a doctor a life coach and so mich more. Sometimes bad things happen when we do not seek real professional help. Sure your pastor might have a few kind words to say but might not be able to handle very severe  cases of depression.  Seeking help from people who have been trained is paramount for treating very severe cases of depression.

      • admin
      • January 20, 2019
      Reply

      You are so right and it is good that you took the time to share that very important advice.  It is vital that people get good quality advice and that it is followed through. 

      Thank you for emphasizing that point.

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