Depression is becoming one of the main causes of health concern in the United States. Based on available statistics, one in ten Americans seek help for depression at some point in their lives , but diagnoses are rapidly increasing and many people with clinical depression – up to 80% according to some estimates – do not seek help.
If so, there are many possibilities that someone around us has depression. The first step in helping a person suffering from depression is to understand the disease : depression, in medical terms, is characterized by a low level of persistent mood and by “anhedonia” (the inability to feel pleasure) for long periods. It is a serious condition, and the person needs professional help, as well as the support of family and friends.
I was diagnosed with depression six years ago, and I have seen all kinds of reactions from friends: from refusing to believe that depression is “something” to saying things like that “ah, I had a bad time last week, maybe I also have depression. ”
Support must be sensitive and subtle, not just “motivational”, and it is necessary to understand that we are not difficult on purpose. People afflicted with depression often want only to feel happy and happy again, but the various factors prevent that from happening.
Your role as a supportive friend of a depressed person has several elements, which you must discover your way, but then nine suggestions from someone who has been on the other side.
1. Do not confuse depression with laziness and do not encourage to be “stronger”
People with depression have a serious mental disorder that can not be overcome only with willpower or simply by changing perspective.
If you are helping a person with depression, do not tell them to “get out of there”, trying to force them to feel happy or talking about a period when you were sad for some reason but you have “thought positively” and have solved the problem.
Like people with broken legs, it is not about being fragile and without willpower: there is only one obstacle that prevents normal functions. Look for familiarity with the fact that depression is a disease.
2. Encourage seeking help
One of the best things you can do for someone who suffers from depression is to encourage them to seek serious help. Your task is not to cure it. Psychotherapy and medical treatment are the best treatments to overcome this condition.
3. Pay attention to personal care
Depressed people often have difficulty in taking proper care of themselves and do not eat well, do not sleep at the correct times, and do not clean the environment in which they live. Pay attention to this and encourage the person to take care of himself to some extent. For example, take her to the grocery store to get her out of bed.
4. Invite the depressed person to take a long walk
Physical exercise does much good for depressed people, as well as leaving home. Insisting on a walk is a good way to get the person out, but there is no need to invent a happy conversation if people feel exhausted and remain silent; just listen without judging and clarify that you still appreciate your company.
5. Help the person to question their negative thoughts
Depression is often characterized by serious negative thinking standards about self-esteem. Psychotherapy helps the person to recognize these standards and to question them, but you can also help out.