The word depression is used quite inconsequentially these days. People may use it to define a temporary rough spot in their lives, or sadness and grief. Though their feelings have to be acknowledged, we still have to keep in mind that depression is a much more serious mental disorder.
Everyday sadness and the complete inability to feel joy are two different things, and depression is the latter. A depressed person has to live in constant emotional pain and hopelessness. In severe cases, depression can make it difficult for people to get out of bed and lead to suicidal thoughts and self-harm.
Moreover, depression is becoming more common; according to the WHO statistics, more than 264 million people are affected by depression worldwide.
Therefore, we must support depressed people in our lives because believe it or not; our behavior plays a vital role in their recovery. Hence, here are five do’s and don’ts for helping a depression patient.
Do: Encourage Your Friend To Find A Psychotherapist:
Though there is a social stigma around visiting a therapist, you need to tell your friend that it is entirely normal. Seeing a qualified psychotherapist is one of the most effective ways of treating depression; it is quite essential.
They help your friend find a behavioral therapist and sign them up for some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy sessions. Make sure that you involve your friend in the decision. You can tell them that you will go to the sessions with them if they call the doctor’s office and make the appointment for themselves.
Do: Talk To Them:
The first thing you can do is talk to your friend if they seem a little down. It would help if you let your friend know that you are there for them and make them feel comfortable sharing their problems with you.
Therefore, if you suspect that your friend is depressed, start a constructive conversation, and share your concern. Remember listening to their problems is more important than giving advice. Your goal is to let them vent their bottled-up emotions and to validate their feelings.
Do: Learn More About Depression:
Depression might feel like a simple disorder on the surface, but it constitutes a wide range of hormonal and other body changes and mind changes. Therefore, if you want to be virtually supportive of your friend, you need to learn more about depression.
Learning more about depression and how it impacts the body will allow you to truly understand how devastating it can be and what emotional torture your friend is going through.
Do: Show Empathy:
It is very important to show empathy and make your friend feel that you care. One of the common effects of depression is self-loathing, and your friend might feel like they are becoming a burden on you if you aren’t emphatic with your words and body language.
If your friend senses that you aren’t empathetic, they won’t feel comfortable sharing their emotions with you. Therefore, put yourself in your friend’s shoes, and think about how you would want your friends to react, and, most importantly, be kind and empathetic.
Do: Help Them Find Alternative Medications And Be Patient:
Most depression patients have to use antidepressants, and where they do numb the symptoms of depression temporarily, they can make matters worse in the long run.
Firstly, they have many serious side effects, and secondly, patients can develop a dependence on anti-depression medications, which can be counterproductive for their treatment.
Therefore, consider suggesting alternative treatments for depression, like cannabis. Marijuana is a prevalent drug, and it has many medical benefits, one of which is that it can counter the symptoms of depression without any side effects or dependency issues. Therefore, check out www.HighClub.Org to learn more about medical weed.
Furthermore, there is no shortcut in treating depression, the recovery process takes a lot of time, and you should know that you are in for the long haul. Just remember to be patient and always be hopeful and encouraging for your friend.
Don’t: Try To Fix Them On Your Own:
Depression is a complex mental condition, and it can put the patient in a very vulnerable mental state. Therefore, you need to understand that you alone can fix your friend.
The same way you wouldn’t attempt to do heart surgery on a friend with a cardiovascular disorder, you shouldn’t try to fix your friend with your words, and leave the therapy to the professionals.
I know that you mean well, but you may accidentally say stuff that makes matters worse.
Don’t: Minimize Their Experience:
When you listen to your friend, you might end up saying things that minimize their experience or make them feel weak. You need to make sure that you don’t say something like, “We’ve all been there” or “it’s not a big deal.”
You may be trying to comfort your friend, but this can have quite the opposite impact. Instead, the same statements can be said: “I can only imagine what you are going through” and, “you are brave, and you will get through this.”
These statements are empowering, and they don’t minimize your friend’s feelings.
Don’t: Compare Their Feelings With Others:
The emotional pain that your friend is going through might not seem much from the outside, but in their head, it is the worst nightmare imaginable; therefore, don’t compare your friend’s pain with others.
Some people might say things like, “people were dying all around the world, and compared to that, you have got it easy” however, this is very counterproductive, and it will only make your friend feel worse about their feelings.
Don’t: Forget To Take Care Of Yourself:
When you are trying to take care of a person with depression, you need to make sure that you don’t overwork yourself. It is essential to take care of your mental health; otherwise, you won’t be much help to your friend either.
So, be there for your friend, but set some boundaries as well.
Don’t: Give Up:
Depression can make a person very hopeless; therefore, you mustn’t lose faith and give up as a supportive friend. You need to remember that your emotional responses can have an impact on your friend, who is in a vulnerable state of mind. Therefore, be optimistic and confident in your friend’s abilities to beat depression.