Depression can be a matter of life and death, so help from others is of vital importance. Since depression affects millions of people each year, chances are you may know someone who suffers from this terrible illness.
Helping someone with severe depression can be frustrating at times. Many depressed people don't want to be helped. It's as if they feel they can benefit from being depressed because no one expects anything from them. Some even go as far as to feel that being depressed is easier than dealing with life's problems and trying to improve them. It's important to realize however, that not ALL people who suffer from Depression feel this way.
Many people suffer from depression needlessly all because they won't consult with a Doctor. If you know someone like this it's important that you do what you can to convince them to seek professional care. Let them know that you care and just want to make sure that they are okay. Sometimes if the person won't take the initiative, you may have to make the appointment for them and make sure they get there. Be kind but at the same time, be firm. Helping a friend or relative who suffers from Depression is no easy task, but it can be lifesaving. At times, just knowing you care makes all the difference in the world.
Many people who suffer from Depression feel like they are a burden not only to their family and friends, but also to themselves because they feel as if they are helpless and can't get past their depression. Some even feel ashamed and humiliated. So, instead of getting help, they isolate themselves some more and in turn drift further and further away.
In order to help a person who suffers from Depression, you first need to have empathy for that person. In other words, try to identify emotionally with them. Be sensitive to their feelings and realize that they really are in emotional pain. What they are feeling is real so try to be understanding. NEVER ever tell a depressed person to 'snap out of it.' This simply cannot be done.
Other ways to help a depressed person may be to encourage them to talk. You never want them to keep everything bottled up inside them. Avoid judgemental and critical critical comments. Remember, most depression sufferers have very low self-esteem, so try to restore it by reasoning with them. Ask them why they feel the way they do and really LISTEN when they talk. By showing them this attention you are showing them that you have a genuine interest in wanting to help.
If you are married to someone who suffers from Depression don't automatically assume that you are the cause of the depression. Depression isn't ALWAYS caused by a bad marriage. However, it can be brought on by friction, guilt or a strained or isolated relationship. Always remember that if you are married to someone who suffers from depression and they lash out at you, don't take it personal. Remember the emotional pain they are in. Also remember that in most cases, YOU are not the one they're mad at. Remembering this can help you respond to them in a mild way.
If it's your wife that suffers from depression, take the initiative by helping cook and clean. If there are kids in the family, help by tending to them instead of your wife having to do it. By doing this you are helping in more ways than you know.
So, if you know someone who suffers from Depression, always be patient, show empathy and assist them in any way you can. Be encouraging and let them know you are thinking about them and you care. Send them a letter or card in the mail. Give them a call on the phone, or better yet, pay them a visit, even if it's for a little while. All these little things can mean the world to a person who is depressed. Don't expect someone with depression to get well overnight. It can be a slow process at times. So the best thing to do is to try to prevent it.
If you suffer from Depression and want to prevent or fight it, start by getting plenty of exercise, get proper rest and eat a well balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid the 'depressing foods' like chocolate, caffeine or other sugars. Don't build your sense of worth on the love of others, on money, power or your job. Avoid drugs and too much alcohol. Always do the best you can but don't try to be perfect. There is no such thing. And the number one thing you have to remember is to recognize the early symptoms of depression and seek help immediately. By doing these things you can have more success in conquering your depression.
About the Author:
For more information on depression visit Anna's Depression Website at: http://www.depressionadviceonline.com/index.html or visit her Depression Blog which contains helpful articles that are updated daily: http://depressionadviceonline.blogspot.com/.
Read more articles by: Anna Allen