Thursday, February 2, 2023

Should I Talk To Someone About My Depression

Tell Them You Understand

How to talk to someone with depression

Before you tell someone “I understand,” you should be certain that you actually do. Have you ever experienced clinically significant depression? If you have, it may be helpful for your friend to hear that you have experienced what they are feeling and that it can get better.

Keep in mind, however, that there are several different types of depression, and even if you did experience clinical depression, it may have been very different than what your friend is going through.

If what you have been through was a case of the blues, on the other hand, your friend may feel like you are trivializing their experience by comparing it to yours.

In this case, it would be best to simply admit that you don’t understand exactly what they are going through, but that you care about them and want to try. Often, the best words to say are, “I don’t understand, but I really want to.”

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What Are The Symptoms Of Depression And How Is It Diagnosed

The NHS recommends that you should see your GP if you experience symptoms of depression for most of the day, every day, for more than 2 weeks.

Doctors make decisions about diagnosis based on manuals. The manual used by NHS doctors is the International Classification of Diseases .

When you see a doctor they will look for the symptoms that are set out in the ICD-10 guidance. You do not have to have all of these to be diagnosed with depression. You might have just experience some of them.

Some symptoms of depression are:

  • low mood, feeling sad, irritable or angry,
  • having less energy to do certain things,
  • losing interest or enjoyment in activities you used to enjoy,
  • reduced concentration,

You may also find that with low mood you:

  • feel less pleasure from things,
  • feel more agitated,
  • find your thoughts and movements slow down, and
  • have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Your doctor should also ask about any possible causes of depression. For example, they may want to find out if youve experienced anything traumatic recently which could be making you feel this way.

There are no physical tests for depression. But the doctors may do some tests to check if you have any physical problems. For example, an underactive thyroid can cause depression.

On the NHS website, they have a self-assessment test which can help you to assess whether you are living with depression: www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/overview/

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Warning Signs Of Suicide

Theres a lot of stigma involved in talking about suicide, and this can make it difficult to know what you should be looking out for. Here are some of the key warning signs for suicide

  • Talking about suicide, even obliquely
  • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide
  • Making a plan for taking their own life
  • Referring to themselves as a burden or suggesting that others would be better off without them
  • A sudden sense of calm or energy following depression
  • Having made previous suicide attempts
  • Withdrawing from social support and activities
  • Giving away possessions, making a will, or getting their affairs in order without any obvious reason
  • Gathering resources for suicide, for example collecting pills or weapons
  • Dangerous or self-destructive behavior
  • Making arrangements for dependants or pets

Getting A Second Opinion

Things to Say and Not to Say to Someone who is Depressed

If youre unhappy or want to confirm that the advice or support you were given was correct, you can ask for a second opinion from another GP or a specialist. It is your right to see a GP who you feel is competent to deal with your case. You can also make an appointment with another GP in the practice, or change practice altogether if your GP refuses to arrange a second opinion for you.

Sometimes seeing a different doctor can make all the difference.

When I first became ill and went to the GP with whom I was registered, he was useless and unsympathetic. I was advised by a friend to see a different GP in my practice. WOW, what a difference. Right from the start he listened, empathised gave me the time and support I needed when I was scared and confused and referred me to the correct mental health service. Edith

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How To Talk To Friends About Your Depression

Deciding to tell the people you love that you’re struggling with depression is a big step. Not only is it challenging to find the energy to reach out to people, but there are naturally worries about how the news of your diagnosis will be received.

Unfortunately, there are too many misconceptions about mental health and what it means and the last thing you need is to be judged negatively because of it.

But, opening up about your depression is one of the most effective ways to get the help and support you need at a time when you likely feel vulnerable and alone, especially if you choose to disclose your illness to people that you know and trust.

Remember though, you are in control and you get to choose who knows and who doesn’t. Just don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from opening up to the people who care about you.

If you’re considering disclosing your diagnosis to the people close to you but just aren’t sure how to start the conversation, here are some things to consider.

Encouraging The Person To Get Help

While you cant control someone elses recovery from depression, you can start by encouraging the depressed person to seek help. Getting a depressed person into treatment can be difficult. Depression saps energy and motivation, so even the act of making an appointment or finding a doctor can seem daunting to your loved one. Depression also involves negative ways of thinking. The depressed person may believe that the situation is hopeless and treatment pointless.

Because of these obstacles, getting your loved one to admit to the problemand helping them see that it can be solvedis an essential step in depression recovery.

If your friend or family member resists getting help:

Suggest a general check-up with a physician. Your loved one may be less anxious about seeing a family doctor than a mental health professional. A regular doctors visit is actually a great option, since the doctor can rule out medical causes of depression. If the doctor diagnoses depression, they can refer your loved one to a psychiatrist or psychologist. Sometimes, this professional opinion makes all the difference.

Offer to help the depressed person find a doctor or therapist and go with them on the first visit.Finding the right treatment provider can be difficult, and is often a trial-and-error process. For a depressed person already low on energy, it is a huge help to have assistance making calls and looking into the options.

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Depression Makes You Feel Even More Alone

Depression is tricky.

It makes you believe things that are not true, and in the process, it keeps you more isolated from your loved ones and the people who can help you.

Depression makes you believe all kinds of lies. And many times, you dont even realize that its tricking you.

Has depression ever made you say these things to yourself?

  • Im surprised there are people out there who love me at all. Really, I bring everyone down.
  • Everyone is so busy these days, why would they make time for me?
  • Look at them they are so happy. Dont be a downer by sharing how you are feeling.
  • You are already a burden. Opening up to them will only weigh them down even more.
  • Nobody notices you anyway. If they did, they would have come up to you and asked whats wrong.
  • They are going to think you are insane if you tell them how you feel.
  • They are not going to believe you. You dont cry enough. You look like you have a great life.
  • They are going to think you just want attention.
  • You are going to come across as ungrateful.
  • They will probably say something stupid like cheer up or snap out of it. Why even bother?

One of the best things you can do to fight depression is to find someone to talk to about it. Yet, your mind will put you in a place where you begin to pull away from people.

Dont listen to these negative thoughts. Reach out and find someone to talk to.

Related: Depression Test: Do You Have The Symptoms of Depression?

Smoking Drugs And Alcohol

101 Things You SHOULD Say To Someone With Depression

If you have depression it may be tempting to smoke or drink to make you feel better. Cigarettes and alcohol may seem to help at first, but they make things worse in the long run.

Be extra cautious with cannabis. You might think it’s harmless, but research has shown a strong link between cannabis use and mental illness, including depression.

The evidence shows that if you smoke cannabis you:

  • make your depression symptoms worse
  • feel more tired and uninterested in things
  • are more likely to have depression that relapses earlier and more frequently
  • will not have as good a response to antidepressant medicines
  • are more likely to stop using antidepressant medicines
  • are less likely to fully recover

A GP can give you advice and support if you drink or smoke too much or use drugs.

You may also find the following pages useful:

  • getting help for drug addiction
  • alcohol support

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Offer To Help With Everyday Tasks

With depression, day-to-day tasks can feel overwhelming. Things like laundry, grocery shopping, or paying bills can begin to pile up, making it hard to know where to start.

Your friend may appreciate an offer of help, but they also might not be able to clearly say what they need help with.

So, instead of saying Let me know if theres anything I can do, consider saying, What do you most need help with today?

If you notice their refrigerator is empty, say Can I take you grocery shopping, or pick up what you need if you write me a list? or Lets go get some groceries and cook dinner together.

If your friend is behind on dishes, laundry, or other household chores, offer to come over, put some music on, and tackle a specific task together. Simply having company can make the work seem less daunting.

Urge Them To Talk With A Doctor

Depression treatments are a very important part of recovering from depression, but people often feel ashamed of their condition or pessimistic about whether treatment will really help.

If your friend has not yet seen a doctor, encourage them to seek help and reassure them that there is nothing wrong with asking for assistance. Depression is a realand treatableillness.

If your friend is already seeing a doctor, offer to help with picking up medications and being on time for appointments.

Read Also: What To Do About Crippling Depression

Everyone Goes Through Tough Times

Saying everyone goes through tough times might feel like youre empathizing with your depressed loved one and also putting their feelings into a wider context. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be what they hear.

To someone with depression, saying that everyone has problems tells them

  • Their problems arent severe enough to justify their reaction
  • You might think that theyre faking/exaggerating
  • They are to blame for their own illness
  • They shouldnt talk about their feelings
  • They are being selfish/self-centered
  • Theyre just sad or feeling down

What to say instead: Depression is an awful illness that affects lots of people. Its absolutely not your fault. Id like to see if theres anything we can do to get you help, if thats OK with you?

What To Do If You Think A Friend Is Considering Suicide

What should I do or say when my depressed best friend starts posting ...

Suicide isnt inevitable. We can all help prevent suicide. If you believe someone you know may be thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 for free, any time, 24/7.

The hotline also offers you a toolkit for supporting people on social media, down to specific platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

They can help you determine how to identify someone in need of support and who to contact within the social media community if youre worried about their safety.

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What Not To Say To Someone With Depression

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.

Dont say:

  • 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.

Your Mental Health Is A Priority

Mental health is something we dont take seriously enough as a society. Its estimated that about 1 in 5 adults suffer from some kind of mental health condition. Thats 20% of the population. Your mental health should always be a priority. Its hard to prioritize it when depression is gnawing at your heels, but know that there is always someone who cares. You can reach out whenever youre comfortable, but be sure that you do reach out.

We should all be making mental health a priority. Without the health of the mind, the body will suffer, too. Depression doesnt have to rule your life, but the first step to healing is reaching out to someone and talking about it.

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Should I Force Myself To Eat If I Have No Appetite

Forcing yourself to eat can be detrimental, especially if you make yourself sick. If you want to force yourself to eat a full meal, it would be better to have a light snack, like a piece of fruit or small bowl of granola. If youre trying to lose weight, its important to make sure that you are eating a healthy diet.

If you dont eat enough protein, you wont be able to build muscle, and youll be more likely to gain weight. Protein is the most important macronutrient for weight loss and building muscle. You can get protein from a variety of sources, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, beans, nuts, seeds and vegetables.

I Am Not Alone In Dealing With Depression At Work

An Open Talk About My Depression

Mental illness can be isolating, and I would often find myself thinking that I was the only one struggling with it. Through my recovery, I began to learn more about how many people are impacted by mental health conditions. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States are affected by mental illness every year. In fact, clinical depression is the worldwide. When I think about these statistics in the context of my office, its almost certain that I was not and am not alone in dealing with depression or anxiety.

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Ask How They Are Feeling

Asking about their emotions is the first step. People with depression often believe that other people dont care about their feelings, so asking the question lets them talk.

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They may shrug off your initial inquiry, for example by saying fine. You can follow up with a gentle question, such as Is that a real fine, or a just being polite fine? This lets them talk if they want to, without too much pressure.

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