When someone you love is battling depression, it can be difficult to understand what’s going on. People process depression in different ways and some of the warning signs may not always be apparent. It may also be difficult for your loved one to communicate what is going on with you. If you’re in need of some assistance understanding, empathizing with, and supporting someone with depression, here are some ideas to get you started.
The worst thing you can do to someone with depression is judge them. Your words have a bigger impact than you may know. Telling someone to “just be happier” or to “think of the glass half full” implies that they can simply choose to end their depression with a little perspective and exercise. Depression must be treated as a real disease because that’s exactly what it is.
Pushing your loved one’s boundaries or enforcing an ultimatum upon them (telling them that you will leave if they don’t stop being depressed) is extremely harmful. You would not push away a loved one struggling with cancer, so why would you do so with depression?
Being a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on is possibly the best thing you can do for your loved one. Your presence and your ability to listen will mean the world to them and it can inspire the biggest moments of healing. Reinforce your presence by expressing positive statements about how much you love them.
Use phrases such as:
- “I’ll always be here for you.”
- “You are so important to me.”
- “Let me know what I can do to help you.”
- “You won’t feel this way forever, I promise.”
Let them know that you’re in this together, and that they are never, ever alone. Promise them that together the both of you will find a way to help them feel better. Things will get better, things can get better. Be as patient as supportive as you can for them throughout the entire process.
Provide Loving Gestures
If you aren’t always able to express yourself emotionally, you can communicate your thoughts and feelings through small gestures of love and kindness. For example, writing them a card or even going out of your way to cook a hot meal for them will send a huge message of love and connection.
The little things really do add up to big things. Your loved one may be experiencing a very dark day, and your small gestures can be the light they need to make them feel better.
The more knowledgeable you are about depression, the better you will be able to help and support your loved one. One of the first things you can learn from depression therapy is that all feelings that come from depression are valid and deserving of understanding. If your loved one were to be diagnosed with leukemia or Alzheimer’s disease, you would want to know everything you can about the disease to help them recover. Learning about depression is just as important and life-saving for your loved one in times of great need.
Seek Help if They Ask for It
It is very important to not give them advice. Don’t tell them they need help; that will only make them more reluctant to seek therapy. Instead, ask them what you can do to help, and that will make them feel more open and trusting.
When that time comes, seek professional psychotherapy sessions with Caree Brown. You can trust in Caree’s compassion, experience, and professionalism with all cases of depression. For individual or group therapy needs, you can contact Caree online today or give us a call at (925) 878-5587 to make an appointment.