How to Help a Friend or Loved One with Depression
After hitting it off on your first date, you and your boyfriend were attached at the hip. Romantic dinners, trips to the zoo, late night movies, and great conversation – things were going great. But suddenly, he stopped calling. Taking it personally, you wrote him off as a jerk and moved on – until you got a call from his sister asking for your help. Your new love interest suffers from depression.
What do you do?
Helping a friend or loved one with depression can be a very intense experience. If you’re unsure where to begin, here are a few things you can do to both show your support and provide space when he or she needs it.
Doing some research about depression will help you understand what your loved one is going through. You don’t have to get your PhD to help a friend with a mood disorder, but having some basic knowledge could prevent you from saying well-intentioned, yet hurtful things.
Accept their condition
The worst thing you can say to someone with depression is “snap out of it!” or “cheer up!” This could make them feel like you aren’t taking their feelings seriously. Once you accept depression as a disease, you can start thinking about how you can help guide your loved one towards treatment and recovery.
Choose when to talk – and listen
When asking your loved one about when he or she first started feeling depressed and if anything makes them feel better or worse, be mindful of the timing. Choose a moment when you’re both relaxed. If your loved one becomes upset, know when to ease up on the talking and simply listen.
Remind them of their strengths
One of the symptoms of depression is a feeling of worthlessness. Many people with depression are also consumed by thoughts of death, and consider themselves weak because of it. Remind your loved one of their strengths and accomplishments to bolster their confidence when they need it most.
Encourage them to seek help
If your loved one is suffering from depression, it’s important that they seek help. You may be hesitant to suggest it, fearing that they’ll push back and resist any sort of extra support. If this happens, don’t force the issue. Just remain supportive and offer advice when asked.
Depression is treatable – and we’re here to help
If you’re close to someone who suffers from depression, it can be hard to know how to help. While every case is unique and responds to different treatments, there’s a lot you can do to simply show your love and support. When they’re ready to accept professional help for their depression, please encourage them to get it.
At Affinity Treatment Centers, we are dedicated to providing every patient with the highest level of care. Upon arrival, we assess each patient individually and develop a therapeutic program that will help him or her recover to live a happy, healthy life.
Contact us today to speak to someone about our services or to schedule a tour of our facilities.