How to help a loved one depressed?

I want to help someone who is suffering. Especially if this is a close person – a friend, family member or loved one. But how to support so as not to inadvertently render a disservice? After all, one can “help” so much that a person will only become worse. This material contains practical recommendations for those whose loved ones are in trouble. 

What can not be done?

1. To say that there is nothing to worry about, that all this is not so important, but there are those who are even worse. You will not be encouraged by this, but only prove that you do not take his condition seriously.

2. Roll your eyes, give out lines like “You’ve been hiding this for a hundred years.” Grief must be reprimanded, even if 10 times a person says the same thing. The essence of this speech is not to convey interesting and new information to you, but to purify yourself. 

3. To impose active actions, to urge “to enjoy life”. He himself wants this, but cannot. And with such remarks you only strengthen his feelings of despair and powerlessness.

4. Say why, in your opinion, a person has depression. This is the same as describing the possible causes of a fracture to a person with a fracture instead of an anesthetic. 

5. Give advice, instead of prompting him to consult a specialist.

6. Talk about what could be done. Tips “retroactively” have not yet pulled anyone out of depression. But they can easily strengthen it.

7. To say that in the incident there is a share of his guilt. First you need to survive the grief, and only then analyze what’s what.

8. To argue and impose their point of view. By this you will achieve only the removal of a loved one. He will think that you do not understand him.

9. Communicate with him as inferior, throw compassionate glances. He already feels his own powerlessness, there is no need to add oil to the fire.

What to do!

1. Talk with this person. Let him know that you are close and ready to listen. The body is also a language. If he does not mind, then stroking, hugging or holding by the hand is a great idea.  

2. Believe him. Whatever a person says, this is his psychic reality in which he lives. And there everything is just like that, and not as it seems right to you.  

3. Accept his experiences without judgment. He has the right to any feelings, like each of us. And yes, getting mad at a departed or deceased is normal. There are no indecent feelings. 

4. Take care of yourself and restore your strength. Communicating with a person in depression is very difficult, it is exhausting and consuming. Depression can be contagious. And two depressive people will help little to each other.

5. Provide unobtrusive care by connecting friends and acquaintances to business. You can agree among themselves and make a schedule – who and when will be next. 

6. Monitor life-threatening symptoms very closely.

7. Encourage attempts to overcome the crisis, but do not rush.

8. Remember that you cannot be a therapist for your loved one. But you can create a breeding ground for psychological support, making it easier for him to get out of depression.

9. Help in a variety of ways to express your grief – to speak, sculpt, write, draw. 

10. Constantly ask: “What can I do for you?” And if a person does not know or cannot formulate – offer several options to choose from. 

11. Your main motto is unobtrusive attention .  

Remember that depression is not just “bad mood”. This is a serious and dangerous disease. And the causes of its occurrence are not always associated with any one difficult experience or loss: most often, its causes are complex. Perhaps this is an accumulated sense of guilt or a sense of the meaninglessness of life, which drop by drop created the ground for the development of depression. And if you see symptoms, but don’t understand what exactly caused them , this does not mean that a loved one does not have depression. This means that you do not understand its causes. By the way, depression is often confused … with laziness.    

Do not be lazy, open the ICD-10 and read about what depression really is. As the saying goes, “trust in those who know, but quietly googled.”

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