Tuesday, April 16, 2024

How Can I Help My Friend With Depression

Attend Support Groups With Her

5 Tips To Help A Friend With Depression

If your friend expresses interest in attending a postpartum depression support group, encourage her to go by offering to attend with her. Anxiety and depression can limit a mothers willingness to attend support groups. By encouraging her and participating as well, you may find she will be open to attending.

Tip : Adopt Healthy Habits

Making healthy lifestyle choices can do wonders for your mood. Things like eating right, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep have been shown to make a huge difference when it comes to depression.

Get moving! Ever heard of a runners high? You actually get a rush of endorphins from exercising, which makes you feel instantly happier. Physical activity can be as effective as medications or therapy for depression, so get involved in sports, ride your bike, or take a dance class. Any activity helps! If youre not feeling up to much, start with a short daily walk, and build from there.

Be smart about what you eat. An unhealthy diet can make you feel sluggish and tired, which worsens depression symptoms. Junk food, refined carbs, and sugary snacks are the worst culprits! They may give you a quick boost, but theyll leave you feeling worse in the long run. Make sure youre feeding your mind with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Talk to your parents, doctor, or school nurse about how to ensure your diet is adequately nutritious.

Aim for eight hours of sleep each night. Feeling depressed as a teenager typically disrupts your sleep. Whether youre sleeping too little or too much, your mood will suffer. But you can get on a better sleep schedule

Depression Can Make People Withdraw

It may feel like the depressed friend is pulling away from the friendship. But this is usually a symptom of the depression itself. In his 2017 Ted Talk, comedian, and storyteller Bill Bernat spoke about his own clinical depression and said, Depression doesnt diminish a persons desire to connect with other people, just their ability.1

A person who is depressed may feel unworthy of friendship. Dr. Saltz says, They may say, no one would want to be with me or I have no energy to engage in conversation but that is the chemical depression talking.

Depression may cause a person to push away the friends that are trying to be supportive. Again, this is most likely the depression talking and not the friends actual feelings. Caroline Leaf, a clinical psychologist explains, People can be difficult when they are depressed, but we should not take this personally, which often happens when one friend is depressed and tends to lash out at the other friend. This person may not be aware that what they are doing is wrong, or what is going on inside them, or they may not even care, she says. Or they may even be asking for help, but in a really roundabout and confusing way.

Also Check: Help Me God I Am Depressed Quotes

Dont Say: When I Feel Down Yoga/a Hike/meditation/etc Always Helps Me Feel Better

We often provide these suggestions because we want to give an actionable solution or a quick fix to make our friend feel better but when it comes to depression, its not that simple. Depression is different from a bad day, so what lifts your mood when youre feeling down wont necessarily be helpful for someone who is experiencing depression.

Whats more, giving these types of suggestions may make your friend feel like you arent listening to them or recognizing the complexity and depth of what they are going through. While you are trying to help, your friend might instead feel isolated or like you dont want to be around them if they arent able to switch to a happier mood.

If you do have a history of depression, then you can share your own experience and what has helped you, Bespalova says.

But Dont Become A Psychologist

How to Help Someone Struggling With Depression

and start diagnosing them or trying to give advice beyond your knowledge that is best left to the professionals. Just listen to them, believe everything they tell you and let them know youll love and support them every step of the way.

Dont force treatment on them, but remember to seek further help immediately if theyre feeling suicidal or showing no willingness to get better if you feel there is a risk of immediate danger tell a trusted adult or call 999.

You can always contact Ditch the Label or other charities like Samaritans or Mind if you feel you need guidance on this matter. Supporting someone with depression can be stressful and frustrating so be careful not to neglect your own needs too.

Taking time to look after yourself is really important talk to others about how youre feeling or consider joining a local support group with people who are also in a similar situation to you.

Read Also: Which Medicine Is Best For Depression

They Only See The Negatives

If your friend used to be quite confident about life but now only has bad things to say about themselves, it could be a sign of depression. Losing self-confidence is a common sign of depression, and often people cant see the positives in any situation nor in themselves. This resource looks at ways to break negative thought loops.

What To Say To Depressed People

Examples of sentences to use while talking with depressed people.

  • Im here to know what you are feeling.
  • Please tell me, if you are comfortable, what you are going through.
  • Im listening.
  • It must be hard feeling this way every day.
  • I can only imagine that you are going through a lot.
  • Tell me more, I want to know the details.
  • You can be comfortable sharing, Im just here to listen.
  • So what did you feel when _____ happened?
  • Do you often feel this way about ____?
  • Help me understand what you are going through.
  • Do you want to share something more with me?
  • I am trying to see it from your point of view.
  • Tell me if I understand you correctly.
  • Can I help in any way?
  • Let me try to rephrase what you are saying. Then, rephrase.
  • I want to assure you that I am not here to judge or give my opinion.
  • Im there for you.
  • You can always turn to me if you need someone to just listen.
  • I cant tell you what to do, but I would suggest meeting a professional. They would know.
  • There are ways to treat depression, you can create the life you want. Please go meet a professional who will help you with it.
  • Im a little concerned. Will you seek professional help?
  • Thanks for sharing. Here is how I see it.
  • Do you think there are other ways to understand your experience? Venture into alternate perspectives objectively.
  • Your feelings are valid. I feel that even though they are valid and true, they may be harming you.
  • I extend my support to you. Ill do what I can.
  • Bonus sentence:

    Read Also: I Think I May Be Depressed

    Dont Say: You Seem Different You Should See Someone About This

    When a friend is experiencing depression, they may cancel on events, stop replying to texts and calls, and disengage with loved ones. Its understandable if these changes in behavior make you feel shocked, hurt or like you are helpless in the situation.

    That said, calling out your friends behavior isnt helpful. Even if they are acting differently, stating this can come across as accusatory and it can make your friend feel defensive or even worse about themselves, Bespalova says.

    You should also avoid commenting on any physical changes, such as losing or gaining weight or appearing disheveled, as this can exacerbate negative thoughts and feelings your friend is having and further lower their self-esteem.

    Help Your Friend Get Professional Treatment

    How to Help Someone Who is Depressed

    Even if your friend could be dealing with depression for some time, he/she may not be aware of the professional treatment solutions available out there. They could also hesitate about getting professional help misconceptions about professional help for depression and mental health conditions are widespread.

    You may help your friend by supporting them to talk to a professional about their depression. Make yourself available for your friend, and dont hesitate to join them at the treatment centre if they ask you to be there. Plan and gather several solutions, together with the financial costs, to give your friend options to choose from.

    Some people need to take baby steps to get treatment and may not be ready for face-to-face meetings at first. Look for treatment centres that provide hotlines and online chat-based helplines. Just because it doesnt look essential for you, doesnt mean it cannot help or guide your friend. Once your friend sees that compassionate professional help is available, they can gather the strength to enrol in a programme for depression.

    Also Check: What Is Ect Treatment For Depression

    Supporting Your Loved Ones Treatment

    One of the most important things you can do to help a friend or relative with depression is to give your unconditional love and support throughout the treatment process. This involves being compassionate and patient, which is not always easy when dealing with the negativity, hostility, and moodiness that go hand in hand with depression.

    Provide whatever assistance the person needs . Help your loved one make and keep appointments, research treatment options, and stay on schedule with any treatment prescribed.

    Have realistic expectations. It can be frustrating to watch a depressed friend or family member struggle, especially if progress is slow or stalled. Having patience is important. Even with optimal treatment, recovery from depression doesnt happen overnight.

    Lead by example. Encourage the person to lead a healthier, mood-boosting lifestyle by doing it yourself: maintain a positive outlook, eat better, avoid alcohol and drugs, exercise, and lean on others for support.

    Encourage activity. Invite your loved one to join you in uplifting activities, like going to a funny movie or having dinner at a favorite restaurant. Exercise is especially helpful, so try to get your depressed loved one moving. Going on walks together is one of the easiest options. Be gently and lovingly persistentdont get discouraged or stop asking.

    Need to talk to someone?

    Learn About What Your Friend Is Going Through

    Not totally sure what depression or anxiety are, or how to help a friend with depression or anxiety? A really great first step in helping your friend is to find out more about depression, anxiety or anything else your friend is going through this will help you to better understand what’s happening and how they feel.

    My friends try to learn more about what Im experiencing, especially asking for and going to sources of information I recommend. hellofriend

    Read Also: Can Birth Control Help Anxiety And Depression

    Support Them In Continuing Therapy

    On a bad day, your friend might not feel like leaving the house. Depression can zap energy and increase the desire to self-isolate.

    If they say something like, I think Im going to cancel my therapy appointment, encourage them to stick with it.

    You might say, Last week you said your session was really productive and you felt a lot better afterward. What if todays session helps, too?

    The same goes for medication. If your friend wants to stop taking medication because of unpleasant side effects, be supportive, but encourage them to talk with their psychiatrist about switching to a different antidepressant or stopping their medication entirely.

    Abruptly stopping antidepressants without the supervision of a healthcare professional may have serious consequences. Typically, reaching out to a healthcare professional before stopping medication use can prevent health complications.

    Quick Read Depression Is Different Than A Bad Day

    How can i get help for depression
    • Depression affects your physical and mental health, including sleep, appetite, mood and energy.
    • Support a friend with depression by reminding them you care about them and asking how you can help.
    • Try to listen without judgement or assuming you know what your friend needs better than they do.
    • Avoid commenting on physical changes, encouraging alcohol or weed, or saying to look on the bright side.
    • If your friend talks about suicide or dying, seek help from a mental health expert or suicide prevention line.

    A hard truth: Depression is common and the number of people in the U.S. with depressive symptoms is on the rise.

    While youve likely felt sadness or loss, if you havent experienced depression, you might not know what to say to a friend who has.

    Major depressive disorder is different than the occasional dips in mood we all experience in response to everyday stressors or tough things that happen to us, says Dr. Nadejda Bespalova, an acting assistant professor in the UW School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

    One way to do so is start and continue having supportive conversations.

    Also Check: Ways To Snap Out Of Depression

    Dont Abandon Your Depressed Friend No Matter What

    When your friend struggles with depression, he/she may not be in the mood to even get up from their bed. Even if your friend tends to skip meetings, you should encourage them to address their responsibilities.

    No matter if your friend is looking for professional help, they should know that youre there for them, providing support without judgement. If the situation aggravates and you fear for your friends life, you shouldnt hesitate, and get emergency health service right away.

    Sometimes, you may feel overwhelmed by the whole situation, and its perfectly acceptable to look for professional help for better management. We all make mistakes, and we all have our limitations.

    Support For Friends Of The Affected

    If postpartum depression has affected your friend, you may be concerned about how to best support her. It may feel like she is ignoring your attempts to help or that shes withdrawing from your friendship. It is important to note that these are common symptoms of postpartum depression and you should treat your friend delicately during the recovery process.

    Here are some tips on how to support and help your friend as she recovers from postpartum depression.

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    How Can You Tell If Someone Is Dealing With Depression

    Depression touches most Americans, whether they experience it personally or it affects someone they know. In fact, The National Institute of Mental Health reports its one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States an estimated 17.3 million adults were living with depression in 2017.

    So how can you tell if a friend is just a bit sad or hassomething deeper brewing? There certainly are telltale signs, Dr. Borlandnotes. But since you dont necessarily see that person every day, you may haveto do more detective work.

    He recommends watching for behavioral changes or anything that could be out of character for your friend. Some depression symptoms include:

    • Lack of engagement:They lose interest in activities they used to enjoy or want to hang out less.
    • Change in communication patterns: Youused to chat or hang on the regular, and now theyre MIA.
    • Changes in hygiene and sleepingpatterns: Theyre sleeping less or all the time. Their appearance andhygiene no longer seem to be a priority.
    • Displays of sadness or anger: Theirtemper now has a hairpin trigger, or maybe they seem more down than usual.
    • Withdrawal from social outlets:Theyre missing from activities where they were formerly fixtures.

    What You Can Say

    How to help someone with depression

    For a long time, no one really talked about depression at all. Now were working hard to change that and we need to learn how to talk about depression in the right way. You cant help someone with depression in any meaningful way without talking to them about it. Thats why its so important to have the courage to speak up and find your words.

    You May Like: How To Help Someone With Mild Depression

    Taking Care Of Yourself

    Theres a natural impulse to want to fix the problems of people we care about, but you cant control someone elses depression. You can, however, control how well you take care of yourself. Its just as important for you to stay healthy as it is for the depressed person to get treatment, so make your own well-being a priority.

    Remember the advice of airline flight attendants: put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. In other words, make sure your own health and happiness are solid before you try to help someone who is depressed. You wont do your friend or family member any good if you collapse under the pressure of trying to help. When your own needs are taken care of, youll have the energy you need to lend a helping hand.

    Speak up for yourself. You may be hesitant to speak out when the depressed person in your life upsets you or lets you down. However, honest communication will actually help the relationship in the long run. If youre suffering in silence and letting resentment build, your loved one will pick up on these negative emotions and feel even worse. Gently talk about how youre feeling before pent-up emotions make it too hard to communicate with sensitivity.

    Is Depression A Permanent Condition

    Depression is the same way. Theres no cure for depression, but there are lots of effective treatments. People can recover from depression and live long and healthy lives.

    While the geographical solution does not help numerous kinds of depression and other emotional health challenges, it can work wonders for seasonal depression. If moving to a brand-new location is not a choice for you, there are various how can depression affect family and friends other methods you can try. Body clock The decline in sunlight can interrupt your bodys all-natural rhythms. Without healthy sleep, youre most likely to struggle with sensations of depression and also stress and anxiety.

    Also Check: How To Live A Happy Life With Depression

    Coping With Suicidal Thoughts

    If your negative feelings caused by depression become so overwhelming that you cant see any solution besides harming yourself or others, you need to get help right away. Asking for help when youre in the midst of such strong emotions can be really difficult, but its vital you reach out to someone you trusta friend, family member, or teacher, for example. If you dont feel that you have anyone to talk to, or think that talking to a stranger might be easier, . Youll be able to speak in confidence to someone who understands what youre going through and can help you deal with your feelings.

    Whatever your situation, it takes real courage to face death and step back from the brink. You can use that courage to help you keep going and overcome depression.

    There is ALWAYS another solution, even if you cant see it right now. Many people who have survived a suicide attempt say that they did it because they mistakenly felt there was no other solution to a problem they were experiencing. At the time, they couldnt see another way out, but in truth, they didnt really want to die. Remember that no matter how badly you feel, these emotions will pass.

    Having thoughts of hurting yourself or others does not make you a bad person. Depression can make you think and feel things that are out of character. No one should judge you or condemn you for these feelings if you are brave enough to talk about them.

    If youre thinking about suicide

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