Feeling sad, blue, or down from time to time is a completely normal experience to have from time to time. However, when someone suffers from depression, these feelings can be a regular experience. And these feelings and other symptoms can have a huge impact on their ability to function in their day-to-day life.
Depression is a serious mental health condition that can affect people in many different ways. Sometimes it can be obvious when someone close to you may be suffering from depression, and sometimes it may not be as obvious. Some common symptoms people experience when they have depression include:
- Not doing usual activities they once found enjoyable.
- Difficulty in focusing and concentrating on everyday tasks.
- Withdrawing from close relationships
- Lethargic and feelings of fatigue
- Significant changes in weight
- Feelings of hopelessness
When people close to us are affected with mental health conditions, it’s only natural that we want to try and help them through it. While it’s important to note that you will not be able to cure someone of their depression, there are some things you can do to support someone who experiences depression. Read on for 5 things you can do to help someone today.
Tip 1: Educate yourself on depression
Depression is a complex mental health condition that can be entirely different from person to person. There are many different symptoms and signs of depression, but there are also a lot of stigmas and stereotypes of mental illness in general, that can make it difficult to talk about the subject.
There are many things to learn about depression but try starting with how your friend may be feeling. It may make it easier for them to talk about it with you. This may also give you an insight into their behaviour and make it easier for you to know how to react, particularly if something they may have done had hurt you in the past.
You don’t need to learn absolutely everything there is to know about depression, but even showing an interest will show your friend that you care and want to help.
Tip 2: Prioritise yourself
Sometimes when we help others, we neglect our own health. We prioritise the health and wellbeing of others and forget about ourselves. But if we become run-down, fatigued or overwhelmed, we’re not going to be of use to anyone, especially not ourselves.
Even though you probably want to be there for your friend all of the time, make sure that you set some healthy boundaries and take some time to relax for yourself.
Make sure that you keep up with regular exercise and a healthy balanced diet so you’ll be able to be there for your friend.
Tip 3: Be patient
It’s not easy to watch someone you care about go through depression, and at times it may even be frustrating. Often their concerns will be repetitive in nature, and at times they may push you away.
Depression can be a very isolating illness, with the sufferer withdrawing from those they are close to. While this may hurt you, try to hang in there and be there. Being a shoulder to cry on, or someone they can vent to, or even just sit with, is invaluable to them, but it will take patience from you.
Tip 4: Help with the little things
When someone suffers from depression, even the littlest every day tasks can be incredibly difficult. Try to lend a hand where you can. Perhaps you can do some grocery shopping for them, or make sure they pay any bills on time. It may not seem like a big deal, but sometimes these things can be overwhelming and just another thing they need to get done.
It is important to remember that you can’t help with absolutely everything though, so while you can take the burden of making a phone call away for them, you can’t possibly do everything. If their ability to function is severely hampered by their depression, it may be time for the intervention of professional help.
Tip 5: Know when it’s time to seek professional help
One of the best ways you can help is to encourage them to seek professional help. While you may want to help all that you can, there are professionals who can provide relief and support to them in a way that you are not able to.
It can be difficult to know when to seek professional help, however, if your friend is partaking in risky behaviour, discussing the topic of death, withdrawing from friends and family, or be experiencing regular mood swings, then engaging with a professional for help will benefit your friend.
You could help them research to find some help services, or you can be a sounding board for them to work through their options. They may not even be aware of some of the services available to them. Just remember that, while you can help to an extent, without the services of a professional, depression rarely gets better on its own.
Depression is a complicated and at times, a debilitating mental illness that can affect many people in many different ways. While we have outlined some things you can do to help if you want to learn some other ways that may help manage depression check this informative article out.
And if someone close to you is suffering from depression, why not try one of these five tips we’ve noted today, it may be more helpful for them than you realise