Coping With Depression Tip : Reach Out And Stay Connected
Getting support plays an essential role in overcoming depression. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy perspective and sustain the effort required to beat depression. At the same time, the very nature of depression makes it difficult to reach out for help. When youre depressed, the tendency is to withdraw and isolate so that connecting to even close family members and friends can be tough.
You may feel too exhausted to talk, ashamed at your situation, or guilty for neglecting certain relationships. But this is just the depression talking. Staying connected to other people and taking part in social activities will make a world of difference in your mood and outlook. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it wont mean youre a burden to others. Your loved ones care about you and want to help. And if you dont feel that you have anyone to turn to, its never too late to build new friendships and improve your support network.
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Listen To What They Have To Say
People with depression can often feel isolated and find it hard to talk about their depression. Be willing to talk openly with your loved one about their feelings and listen to what they have to say. This will show them that no matter what they might be going through and how negative everything may feel to them, they are loved and valued.
Its also important to be an active listener and really immerse yourself in the conversation. Use verbal and non-verbal prompts during the conversation, maintain eye contact throughout, and regularly paraphrase what your loved one says back to them to clarify meaning and demonstrate that you have understood them. This will make opening up to you as easy and natural as possible for your loved one, making it more likely that theyll confide in you in the future if they need to.
Help Them To Find Support
Your friend might not be aware of what professional support options are available, or they may be unsure of how to get support. Even if they know about support options, it can be daunting to see a health professional.
You can offer support by encouraging your friend to speak to a health professional or an adult they trust. You could offer to join them for the conversation if they want, or even ask if theyd like you to book the appointment if its with a professional. A GP can organise a mental health care plan for them if needed. This means that your friend will get a referral to a psychologist or other professional. Theyll also get Medicare-subsidised sessions getting help doesnt have to mean they have to fork out hundreds of dollars.
Not everyone is ready to see somebody face-to-face. You could recommend hotlines or online chat-based helplines. The ReachOut NextStep tool can also provide tailored support options so they can make their own plan. Here are some support services they could use, and some more information about getting professional support for depression and anxiety.
If theyre not able to seek help on their own, ask for their permission to talk to an adult they trust on their behalf. If they refuse, and youre still really concerned, consider talking to an adult you trust, such as a teacher, parent or school counsellor.
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What You Can Do For Yourself
- Learn about depression: The better you understand what causes depression, how it affects people, and how it can be treated, the better youll be able to talk to and help the person you care about.
- Take care of yourself: Supporting someone with depression isnt easy. Ask other relatives or friends to help, and take steps to prevent becoming frustrated or burned out. Find your own time for hobbies, physical activity, friends, and spiritual renewal.
- Finally, be patient: Depression symptoms do improve with treatment, but it can take time. Finding the best cure may require trying more than one type of medication or treatment approach. For some people, symptoms quickly improve after starting treatment. For others, it will take longer.
Help a friend with depression and rebuild your relationship with professional guidance and evidence-based therapies for long-term recovery.
At We Level Up Treatment Center provides world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope. In addition, we work as an integrated team providing information about How to Help a Friend With Depression and other aspects of treatment. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our specialists know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.
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What To Say To Someone Whos Depressed
If your loved one does want to open up to you, its important that you respond to them in a compassionate and supportive way. You could use phrases such as:
- Im here for you if you need me
- What can I do to help?
- This must be incredibly difficult
- Its ok to feel like this
- Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness
- Try to look on the bright side
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What Can I Do To Help Today
Depression often causes fatigue, trouble sleeping, and a lack of motivation. Sometimes just getting out of bed can be hard.
Asking what you can do can really help them through their day.
Maybe theyre not eating well and you can pick up dinner. Maybe they need a morning call or text to ensure they get to work on time.
Sometimes you just need to listen. Helping doesnt have to be a huge, drastic effort. It can be as simple as picking up a phone, sharing a meal, or driving them to an appointment.
what Not to say
Just remember: Advice isnt the same as asking for help. If they ask for your advice, give it if you so choose. But dont offer them helpful solutions or statements that seem like a cure for their depression. This can feel judgmental or not empathetic.
- Just think happy thoughts. I dont understand what you have to be so sad about.
- Everything will be OK, I promise.
- I cut out sugar and I was cured! You should try it.
- You just need to snap out of this.
- So many people out there are worse off than you.
Learn About Depression On Your Own
Imagine having to educate each person in your life about a mental or physical health condition youre experiencing explaining it over and over again. Sounds exhausting, right?
You can talk with your friend about their specific symptoms or how theyre feeling, but avoid asking them to tell you about depression in general terms.
Read up on the symptoms, causes, diagnostic criteria, and treatments on your own.
While people experience depression differently, being familiar with the general symptoms and terminology can help you have more in-depth conversations with your friend.
These articles are a good starting point:
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Take Care Of Yourself
When you care about someone whos living with depression, its tempting to drop everything to be by their side and support them. Its not wrong to want to help a friend, but its also important to take care of your own needs.
If you put all your energy into supporting your friend, youll have very little left for yourself. And if youre feeling burned out or frustrated, you wont be much help to your friend.
Setting boundaries can help. For example, you might let your friend know youre available to talk after you get home from work, but not before then.
If youre concerned about them feeling like they cant reach you, offer to help them come up with a contingency plan if they need you during your work day. This might involve finding a hotline they can call or coming up with a code word they can text you if theyre in a crisis.
You might offer to stop by every other day or bring a meal twice a week, instead of trying to help every day. Involving other friends can help create a bigger support network.
Spending a lot of time with a loved one who has depression can take an emotional toll. Know your limits around difficult emotions, and make sure you take time to recharge.
If you need to let your friend know you wont be available for a while, you might say something like, I cant talk until X time. Can I check in with you then?
When Youre Depressed You Cant Just Will Yourself To Snap Out Of It But This Guide To Depression Help Can Put You On The Road To Recovery
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many of us are dealing with social distancing, isolation, and lockdowns that make it even harder to cope with symptoms of depression. Whatever your circumstances, though, there are ways to overcome feelings of sadness and despair, improve your mood, and regain a sense of hope. In addition to the tips in this article, you can also find help for depression in our Coronavirus Mental Health Toolkit.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Depression
While the symptoms of depression can vary depending on the severity, there are some standard symptoms to watch for. Depression not only affects your thought and feelings, it can also impact how you act, what you say, and your relationships with others. Common symptoms include:
- loss of interest in pleasurable or fun activities
- sleep issues
- no energy
- trouble thinking clearly or making decisions
- poor performance at work or school
- dropping out of activities
- pain, like headaches or muscle aches
- drug or alcohol abuse
Some people also show signs of mania, psychotic episodes, or changes in motor abilities. These can signify other conditions that can cause depression, like bipolar disorder.
If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:
- · Call 911 or your local emergency number.
- · Stay with the person until help arrives.
- · Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
- · Listen, but dont judge, argue, threaten, or yell.
If you think someone is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Many factors can increase your risk of developing depression at some point in your life. Risk factors include:
- being a woman
- having low self-esteem
Monitor Your Own Moods And Thinking
Enduring barrages of negative comments, holding the household and family together, and losing the sweetest, most supportive aspects of your marriage isnt easy. Over months and years, the non-depressed spouse may give in to confusion, self-blame, demoralization, and resentment, notes Anne Sheffield, author of Depression Fallout: The Impact of Depression on Couples and What You Can Do to Preserve the Bond. You may conclude that you must leave to save yourself. If this sounds familiar, get help for yourselfand insist that your mate do the same. Depression separates couples with surgical skill and is a major home-breaker, Sheffield wrote in her book.
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Taking A Stance On Medication
Medication can be very helpful for depression, but it doesnt work well for everyone.
Some people dislike its side effects and prefer to treat depression with therapy or natural remedies. Even if you think your friend should take an antidepressant, remember that choosing to take medication is a personal decision.
Likewise, if you personally dont believe in medication, avoid the subject when talking with them. For some people, medication is key in getting them to a place where they can fully engage in therapy and start taking steps toward recovery.
At the end of the day, whether or not someone with depression takes medication is a very personal decision thats generally best left to them and their healthcare professional.
Depression can increase a persons risk of suicide or self-injury, so its helpful to know how to recognize the signs.
Some signs that might indicate your friend is having serious suicidal thoughts include:
- frequent mood or personality changes
- talking about death or dying
- purchasing a weapon
- getting rid of belongings or giving away treasured possessions
- talking about feeling trapped or wanting a way out
- pushing people away or saying they want to be left alone
- saying goodbye with more feeling than usual
If you think your friend is considering suicide, urge them to call their therapist while youre with them or ask your friend if you can call for them.
Things To Remember About Depression
Depression isnt anyones fault
Its important to understand that your loved one cant help the way theyre feeling and its not their fault. Treating your loved one with compassion and understanding is incredibly important.
You cant flick a switch and cure depression
Unfortunately, theres no quick fix for depression and your loved one cant simply pull themselves together. It will take small steps for them to recover, and what helps one person will not necessarily help someone else.
Patience is invaluable
When youre suffering from depression, the thought of getting out of bed and going through the daily motions can be exhausting. However, this doesnt mean your loved one lacks the motivation to get better. Allow them to go at their own pace and comfort level, and support them where you can.
Depression is a serious but treatable condition
Your role here isnt to fix your loved ones depression. In most cases, it takes professional treatment from highly qualified people to overcome depression. The best thing you can do is be as supportive, compassionate and patient as possible.
Further reading on 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.
Depression Support: What To Say
These statements validate their feelings without being dismissive:
- I dont know exactly how youre feeling, but Im here for you whenever you want to talk about it.
- Youre not alone a lot of people do deal with depression. Im really glad you shared this with me, because I care about you and want to help.
- Have you talked to your provider or health professional about your depression? How would you feel about it?
Just acknowledging the complexity of depression and their experience is a great start. You can normalize without minimizing, and turn it into a positive experience. Direct the conversation to active help while leaving some space for them to make a decision.
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Dos And Donts With Depression Support
The biggest dont with supporting someone with depression: Dont jump into problem-solving mode right away. Its tempting to try to fix the problem for your loved one, but its not that simple. And if it was, they would have already done it.
Instead, keep an open door for your loved one to talk to you about how theyre feeling. Listening is key make sure you understand their personal experience. And ask what exactly theyre looking for you to do. They may not know yet, but just be there for them as they share their feelings.
When theyre ready for help, lead them toward professional help. You can suggest they start by talking with their primary care provider. At UVA, we have a behavioral health consultant within our Family Medicine Clinic. After asking for help, you can see a consultant the same day to address your depression.
How Can We Approach A Conversation And Encourage Them To Seek Professional Help
Raising the subject of seeking professional help for depression can be daunting for family or friends. Lalor says to avoid giving advice and trying to fix it. She says you can start the conversation one of these ways:
- You havent seemed yourself lately, how are you feeling?
- Hey, Ive been noticing that youre a little XXX, is something troubling you?
- I just wanted to check and see how you are travelling…
Ask them if there is anything you can do for them. Letting them know you are here if they need to talk is important, says Lalor.
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