Coping with Depression in a Loved One
If you are coping with depression in a loved one, it can sometimes feel hopeless.
Depression is a serious yet treatable disorder that affects millions of people – irregardless of age. From young to old and from all walks of life, coping with depression in a loved one can be a challenge.
Symptoms of depression can cause tremendous pain; hurting not just those suffering, yet impacting loved ones around them.
If someone you love is depressed, you may be experiencing difficult emotions. You may feel helplessness, frustration, anger, fear, guilt, and sadness. These feelings are all normal.
It is not easy coping with a loved one’s depression, yet be mindful not to neglect individual health and wellness.
Depression is a serious condition
Do not underestimate the seriousness of depression.
Depression drains a person’s energy, optimism, and motivation.
Your depressed loved one can’t just “snap out of it” by sheer force of will.
The symptoms of depression are not personal
Depression makes it difficult for a person to connect on a deep emotional level with anyone, even the people they love the most. It’s also common for depressed people to say hurtful things and lash out in anger. Remember that this is the depression talking, not your loved one, so try not to take it personally.
Hiding the problem will not make it go away
It does not help anyone involved if you try making excuses, covering up the problem, or lying for a friend or family member who is depressed. In fact, this may keep the depressed person from seeking treatment.
Your loved one isn’t lazy or unmotivated.
When you are suffering from depression, just thinking about doing the things that may help you to feel better can seem exhausting or impossible to put into action. Have patience as you encourage your loved one to take the first small steps to recovery. One way to help is also, by leading by example. If your loved one struggles trying to see something positive for the day try to find something each day and point it out.
You cannot “fix” someone else’s depression.
As much as you may want to, you can’t rescue someone from depression nor fix the problem for them. You are not to blame for your loved one’s depression or responsible for their happiness (or lack thereof). While you can offer love and support, ultimately recovery is in the hands of the depressed person. But you can help, encourage them to be active. Whether it is taking a walk together each night or going out to dinner just changing the scenery for them can help boost their overall mood.
Sometimes just being able to be someone your loved one can talk to is the best thing for them. Most people feel that when someone comes to you to talk, you have to have a solution or an answer to fix what is going on. With someone who is depressed, by you just being a listener is a huge thing for them. Also know going in one heart to heart conversation is not going to “fix” them. By being a willing listener and encouraging them to open up about their feelings and be willing to listen without judgement is an important factor in helping them cope. Remember, by being supportive means offering encouragement and hope. This also means being able to talk to them in a language they understand and can respond to in their depressed state of mind.
It may be hard to believe that the person you know, and love would ever consider something as drastic as suicide. But a depressed person may not see any other way out. Depression clouds judgment and distorts thinking, causing a normally rational person to believe that death is the only way to end the pain they are feeling. If your loved one is mentioning or has thoughts of suicide, do not wait to talk to them about their feelings. Many people feel uncomfortable when the topic arises. But it is one of the best things you can do for someone who is contemplating suicide. If you feel you cannot help your loved one, please reach out and get professional help.
While you cannot control someone else’s recovery from depression, you can start by encouraging your loved one to seek help for coping with depression.
Your loved one might be overwhelmed in making the appointment or seeking the correct clinician. Ask if they want your help to motivate them into securing an appointment.
This just might be what they need to start coping with the symptoms and get the ball rolling to recovery.
The most important part of your loved one’s journey to coping from depression is support.
Whether it means being there to listen after seeking help from a therapist, support is huge in recovery.
Any steps to help overcome the larger hurdles in daily lives will help your loved one create the life they want.
If you need extra support, seek help.
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