When someone you love is suffering from depression in can affect you almost as much as it affects them. First you should understand depression. Those suffering depression may also have additional problems such as OCD, or ADD. Addictions are also often associated with depression. Alcohol, binge eating, drugs, and cutting are ways depressives take away their pain. If you know and care about someone who is suffering from depression here are a few things you can do to help them.
- Learn about depression – Since you are already reading this, you are off to a good start. Research depression symptoms and treatment, and try to apply them to your loved one. Knowing is just the start.
- Walk a mile in their shoes – Learn what depression really is and try to feel how they feel. Realize when they are grumps in the morning, that that is just a symptom of their condition. Try to understand the misconceptions about mental illnesses and see what they really have to deal with.
- Keep an eye on yourself – Depressive symptoms are actually contagious, just like happiness. You will need to sometimes step away from the situation for a break just to keep your own mental health in check.
- Join a support group – If you are stressing too much over this, and you are beginning to feel angry and frustrated you may find comfort in a support group. The best thing to do is talk about your frustrations rather than letting them build up inside you.
- Be there for them – Lend a shoulder to cry on, and listen to them. Be patient with them and tell them that you care. Share what you have learned as you researched depression. Reassure them that none of this is their fault.
- Don’t mix up the depression with the real person – When the depressed person becomes very angry it is not because they are angry with you. Rather they are angry with themselves and the way they feel. If your significant other doesn’t feel like having sex, do not take it personally. Having a decreased sex drive is a classic symptom of depression.
- Laziness – Depressed people are not lazy, they are ill. Small activities such as house cleaning or cooking may be very difficult for them. Just like with the flu, sometimes people just don’t feel ‘up-to’ doing chores.
- Medication and therapy – These are both critical in their recovery. Try to keep them on the right track.
- Love them unconditionally and be sure they understand that you are not frustrated with them, you are only frustrated with their illness.