Most of us know someone who is depressed at some time .
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.
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
- 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.
Here is a word map to help you remember the key points outlined above.
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Thank you so much for reading.