Strengthening A Family Member Who Has Depression




Strengthening a family member who is diagnosed with depression can be daunting. You might feel powerless and don’t know what else to do. Learn ways on how to provide support and knowledge and help a loved one acquire the proper resources to deal with their depression. Here are some things you can do.

Know More About The Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of depression vary from individual to individual. These include tiredness or lack of energy at even the small activities, sudden outbursts of anger and irritability, feelings of hopelessness and sadness, insomnia, anxiety, appetite loss, or heightened cravings for different kinds of food, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, and frequent suicidal thoughts, among others.

For most individuals with depression, the symptoms are typically intense enough to lead to obvious problems with activities of daily living, like at school, work, relationships, and social activities. Others might be more miserable or sad without really knowing the reason why. Teens and kids may be more cranky and short-tempered rather than down and gloomy.

Pursue Treatment

Individuals who have depression may be unable to acknowledge that they are indeed depressed. They might even be unaware of the warning signs of depression so they would actually think that what they are feeling is normal. Also, they feel embarrassed about their illness and pretend to believe that they must surpass the illness on their own. But in truth, depression rarely becomes better without any complementary treatment. In fact, it might even worsen. With the proper treatment, your loved one will heal, recover, and get better.


What can you do to help your depressed family member?

  • Express to your loved one your concern about the symptoms that you have noticed.
  • Tell him or her gently that depression is something that is medical, not a weakness that was caused by her, and emphasize that there is a treatment for it.
  • Encourage your loved one to ask for help from a mental health professional – a counselor, psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist.
  • Let your loved one feel that you are there for him by going with him to his doctor’s appointments or just being with him when he needs someone to talk to.

Know The Signs To Watch Out For In Severe Depression

Everybody experiences different signs of depression. Keep an eye on your beloved family member. Read more about how the illness impacts him and learn tips and strategies on what to do when his depression worsens.

Things to consider:

  • What usual depressive signs and symptoms does your family member present with?
  • What kind of behaviors or type of language have you observed when depression is severe?
  • What situations can trigger your loved one’s depressive condition?
  • Are there activities that your loved one can do to help decrease depressive symptoms?


Severe depression must be treated promptly. Encourage your family member to see his mental health provider so that they can discuss a treatment plan for his illness. His mental health provider might require him to make adjustments to his medications, visit a psychotherapist, and give more attention to his health – his food, activities, and his hours of sleep.

Give The Support He Needs

Keep in mind that your family member’s debilitating illness is not his or your family’s fault. You can’t possibly cure your loved one’s depression, but you can definitely provide the support and understanding that he needs. If he is currently being treated for depression, perhaps you can remind him about taking his medications and keep up with his appointments. You must also be there to listen to him. Let him feel that you understand him – or you want to. However, try to avoid giving unsolicited advice or judging him. Listening and understanding him is more than enough help.

If you have extra time, you can offer to take care of other chores that he might not be able to do because of his treatments. Cook a meal for him or his children. Help with the laundry or do the dishes if he’s too down or preoccupied. In this way, you are helping him create a less stressful environment, which in turn reduces his symptoms.

Lastly, if your loved one is open to emotional or spiritual healing, encourage him to participate in activities that would help him express his faith, whether it be joining a religious organization or a group of close friends who are into prayer and meditation.


As for you, as a family member, supporter, and loved one, what you can do is learn about the illness, as the more you understand the definition, causes, signs and symptoms, and many more about depression, the more helpful you can be.


Also, you must not forget to take care of yourself. Helping someone overcome depression is quite daunting. Ask help from others and take the necessary steps to prevent you from getting depressed or frustrated yourself. Find relaxing activities or hobbies that would interest you. Finally, remember that patience is a virtue. Depression does get better with treatment but it doesn’t happen overnight. Find the best treatment program. For some, symptoms improve fast after a few weeks of treatment. For others, it might take longer.



COVID-19 Mental Health Awareness – Self-Care Tips When You Feel Low And Broken

Are you feeling overwhelmed with all the things around you, especially now that you need to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic? Are you struggling financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally? Are you feeling that everything negative is happening all at once? Sadly, when you are feeling low and broken, it becomes easy for you to convince yourself to stay in that unfortunate situation. You become less and less worried about what might happen to you because you think you are already on the ground.

Nevertheless, part of you still wants things to get better. You hope that someday, all your worries and fear will soon end up. But before that, you need to help yourself get back on track, so consider these self-care tips.


Try To Step Outside

It is ideal to follow specific protocols such as social distancing these days. It is one of the best ways to keep you away from getting infected from the virus. But your thoughts can become even louder, especially when you’re at home alone. Sometimes, you get congested with all the negativity from watching the news. So if ever you can, please step outside and get some fresh air. Make use of your chance to be alone with nature. Try to step outside for short walks, or at least utilize your lawn if you have one. Stepping outside is beneficial in clearing your head as well as improve your mood.


Take A Nap

You are not meant to experience life locked up in a room. Understandably, you are trying your best to look for ways to keep yourself busy while staying at home for quarantine. But admittedly, there are times that you don’t get enough sleep. That explains why sometimes your moods take a turn for the worse. You get cranky from the mental and emotional exhaustion. So to avoid that, consider taking a nap once or twice a day. Just curl up on the couch, try to close your eyes, and allow your mind and body to recharge. And once you wake up, you will entirely feel better.


Do A Space Makeover

During this lockdown, cleaning your space is one of the best things you can do. It can keep you distracted, which is beneficial to your emotional and mental state right now. But note, cleaning doesn’t have to be overly excessive. You can still make a difference even if you only organize or rearrange stuff in your room. Big or small, the changes you make can always enhance the atmosphere of your space. And since you are spending more time in your area, it is better to give it love and attention.


Take A Break From Social Media

As much as you want to thank the internet for keeping you busy during your lockdown experience, there is a benefit if you take a break from it. Yes, social media helps in distracting you from stress and anxiety. However, too much of it can cause a whole lot of different mental issues. It becomes a platform that adds pressure in terms of competing with other people’s lives during this pandemic. At some point, it emphasizes some of the worst situations out there that can add bitterness and sorrow to your heart. So if you think your sense of self is worth more than a digitalized reputation, step back away from social media pressure.

Reach Out

During this time, it is essential to reach out to people digitally. It is okay to tell them how you feel. Avoid shutting down yourself from everyone only because you think this pandemic is causing issues on social relationships. Be creative and talk to people. Make it a habit to communicate and allow other people to be there for you, even digitally.

Knowing God Is Not Too Bad When You Have Depression

Religion has never been a significant part of my life. Even when I was growing up, I had never seen my parents pick up a Bible or go to a church. But then, when I got diagnosed with depression last year, a friend invited me to the God and Depression Conference 2019.


I genuinely had no desire to attend the conference, especially not when it sounded like a religious one. However, I saw how much my friend wanted me to come, and she rarely asked me for anything—it was always the other way around. So, I allowed her to drag me to the event.

During the first hour, I was already bored. A Roman Catholic organization organized the conference, so there was a church mass at first. As the hours went by, I found myself listening about people’s testimonials about how God helped them. That inspired me to welcome Him in my life for the first time, hoping to overcome my depression naturally. 

I realized that it was the best decision because:

It Felt Like Having A New Friend But Without The Adverse Side Effects

A typical friend is comparable to a double-edged sword in the sense that it can protect or stab you. However, when you befriend God, you need not worry about dealing with a potential backstabber. You can tell Him all your issues, and no one else will hear about them.


It Was Humbling To Hear About His Hardships

Getting to know God entails having to understand His life story through the Bible or even church songs. Either focus on everything that Jesus Christ did to save all of us and such information is humbling. It has made me think, “If God can do all that without falling into depression, I should start getting my act together.”

Final Thoughts

Whether you have depression or not, I will never force you to start knowing God now. I still don’t believe in miracles or going to church every Sunday, but I can attest to how talking to Him like a friend has helped ease my depression. 


This Coronavirus Makes Me Feel All Alone

Like everybody else, I have been at home a lot for an extended period. Perhaps some of you are spending time with a few members of your family. But as for me, I have to deal with the situation all by myself. Don’t get it wrong. I live alone because I work far from my family. I lived and stayed in another country for almost five years, so that explains why I am dealing with this situation single-handedly.


Due to this negative news that I see and hear every day, I wonder. How much safety will this self-isolation provide me? What about my mental health? Why does it feels like social distancing is a form of torment that I follow without hesitation? Honestly, I may not have the answers to these questions, but one thing I know is sure. I am alone, and I can’t stop thinking about how depressing my situation is right now. I don’t want to sound so negative, but it is pretty hard to manage things at this point in my life. Not that I didn’t try every means out there that supposedly help me get through this condition because I did. Unfortunately, not a single one of them works.


The Mental Struggle I Dealt With

I tried exercising since I know it can help in maintaining active brain waves while enhancing the body’s immune system. But after a couple of times doing at least 5 to 10 minutes of physical activity, my mind tells me I’m exhausted already. I also tried meditation. I understood the importance of a calm mind and body; that is why I did my best not to think about anything bad or worse in this situation. However, I failed to concentrate because the worries and fear I have for my family, considering they are far from me, is more significant than any of my attempt for mental calmness. I also diverted my thoughts by reading books. But after reading a few pages and a moment of pause, I began having negative thoughts all over again. It is as if these bad thoughts are only trying to wait for an opportunity to pop up in my head.


Dealing with this situation alone is not everyone can understand. No one can tell me to do this or that. I tried not to think about these unhealthy thoughts. Admittedly, I know I am not weak because I managed to live my life away from my family for a lot of years. But this time, given this uncertain situation, my entire mental and emotional capability is fragile. To add damage to the situation, the stability I once had is now gone. I recognized that I am now at the point where my negative emotions are powerful than my will to survive in this global health crisis.


What I Want To Say

For those of you who do not understand my situation, I humbly ask that you stop assuming that depressed people like us can follow your guidelines just like that. Please note that we are more than willing to do our best for the sake of our mental and emotional health. But the idea of you continually telling us that what we are feeling is something you can easily handle, I might have to disagree. We all have different levels of sadness, and we experience things differently, as well. Therefore, you have no right to tell us what we should and shouldn’t feel at this time of crisis. I understand that some of you are only trying to help by encouraging us to feel even a little positivity. But trust us, we are genuinely trying.

Helping A Depressed Sister Feel Better

When I went to the 2018 Depression Cell Conference, I had mixed emotions. In general, I felt honored to take part in such an eye-opening event. Everyone was welcoming; you could not feel a hint of judgment from the people around you.
However, it also saddened me to hear the ordeals that led folks to depression.


Many of them were victims of abuse, and they could not forget it. Others lost a loved one and could not get over it.
But you know, that experience has later allowed me to help my sister overcome depression after a rather intense breakup. It made me that depressed loved ones need:
To Be Heard
Depression comes when negative thoughts pile up in your head. My sister was afraid of making us worry at the time, so she chose to bottle up everything. Once I encouraged her to speak up, though, the situation got better.


To Feel Loved
Depressed folks are some of the loneliest people in the world. They feel like they cannot talk to anyone, even though they are almost never physically alone. When it happened to my sister, my parents and I made a point of calling her every day, talking casually about day-to-day events, and ending it by exchanging “I love you.”
To See The Reality Of Life
Depression makes you not want to deal with harsh facts. In my sister’s case, she could not accept that her four-year relationship came to an end. Without sounding too critical, I laid out the pros of splitting with her ex and made her see it in a different light. It was challenging, yes, but it was for the best.


Healing from depression did not take place in one day. My sister would still sometimes cry about the breakup even after a few months. But she gets more resilient every day and continues to learn how to respect herself more than any man in the world.
Remember the tips above to see your depressed sister, brother, friend, or any loved one heal.

Depression From Frustrations

[Supporting Your Husband Dealing With Frustration]


Depression can come from goals and dreams that did not become a reality. Many people may live the rest of their lives trying to chase the opportunities that they think will lead them to their goals, but sadly some opportunities knock only once.

“There seems to be a misunderstanding that depression is crying all of the time and not getting out of bed. However, increased irritability is a common symptom,” says Julie de Azevedo Hanks, Ph.D, LCSW.

Continue reading Depression From Frustrations

Understanding Post-Adoption Depression


Some couples cannot have a baby of their own. No matter how many years of trying, they still end up with just the hope of holding a little angel in their arms. So instead of prolonging the agony, some couples decide to go through the process of adoption. But like any other life-altering decision, there are many considerations and consequences that should be pondered upon before finally going through the process. Many couples ignore those things because of the excitement they are feeling. They believe that adoption could once and for all be the solution for their longing for a child. Continue reading Understanding Post-Adoption Depression

Saving A Sinking Ship: Reaching Out To A Depressed Partner



Paying attention to depressive disorder cues is vital in helping your partner go through the condition with proper diagnosis and treatment.


The Ripple Effect


When your partner is depressed, your marriage is also depressed because this illness reverberates and erodes the concept of sexual and emotional intimacy while suffusing a relationship with resentment, isolation, pessimism, and anger.

Dr. Susan Whitbourne, Ph.D., even said, “[P]eople who have major depressive disorder (the clinical form of depression) have higher levels of distress in relationships, feel that their marriages are less satisfactory, and become unusually upset when problems develop in their relationships. They are more likely to blame their partners when things go wrong, and they tend to shut down emotionally instead of reach out and connect.”

Even the most radiant, capable person can be sucked into depression’s forceful undertow of scenarios like:


  • Being overwhelmed by extra chores inside the house that your partner refuses to finish due to lethargy.
  • Being resentful due to your spouse’s behavior that he or she cannot just snap out of.
  • Taking the blame for somehow causing the illness.
  • Feeling alone for unwillingness to convey problems inside the house that are related to your partner’s condition.
  • Wondering whatever happened to a once joyful, humorous, and fun relationship.


Do not allow depression to seep in and destroy your marriage from inside out. If you think that your significant other is depressed, you have to act not only for the welfare of your spouse but also for your relationship. After all, you wouldn’t want to be just another statistic in the divorced archive.


Getting Your Partner And Your Life Back


Initially, the most important requirement to help a depressed better half is to know how to spot depression; therefore, one must pay enough attention in recognizing the following clues, according to Dr. Dina Cagliostro:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or emptiness

  • Irritability, frustration, or restlessness

  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that used to be enjoyable

  • Difficulty sleeping, sleep disturbances or sleeping too much

  • Fatigue and lack of energy

  • Difficulty thinking clearly, remembering, concentrating, or making decisions

  • Appetite or weight changes

  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or back pain.


  1. Be Perceptive Of Minor Behavioral Changes


Like a thief in the night, depression comes slowly and sometimes, imperceptibly. It will take time for couples to recognize a pattern and will take further time to accept that depression might be the main reason for minor behavioral changes. Sometimes, the depressed person is so in denial that all kinds of explanations are provided – it’s just a phase, it’s because of the economy, it’s because of the new baby.


With this kind of attitude towards the disorder, the spouse must initiate in diagnosing their partner’s condition because the illness hinders the depressing ones from realizing that there’s something profoundly wrong with their behavior. If you notice that there’s something awry about how your partner thinks, acts, or feels, suspect that your spouse might have depression. Furthermore, if your spouse has developed vices or habits like being workaholic, alcoholic, or has become a thrill-seeker, depression might be the culprit.


  1. Reach Out Before It’s Too Late




Waiting for a ship to sink before going out on a limb to help is a huge mistake because once you head on out to rescue, the person has sunk deep. This scenario is similar to helping a partner whom you think might have depression. Letting a person hit rock bottom before offering help is like allowing cancer to spread and then hoping that the malignancy will be cured.

Dr. Emmanuel Maidenberg, Ph.D., also said, “[I]f you become concerned about someone, talk to them about what you have noticed and see if they need support. It can be incredibly helpful to intervene before things get worse.”

Chronic depression is harder to treat, can severely affect the relationship, and is more likely to happen again.  But the terrifying risk of not reaching out before it’s too late is the possibility of your spouse resulting in suicide. Around 60% of those who attempted suicide either have minor or major depression or has a different mood disorder.


  1. Support Is Vital


When seeking help, see to it that you are there when the diagnosis is revealed. A lot of illnesses which includes diabetes, chronic pain, viral infections, and heart diseases can influence similar symptoms related to depression. For this reason, once the physician rules out various underlying causes and divulges the diagnosis, it is crucial that you are there to support and comfort your spouse. There will be times that depressed patients will be denying the result or will not be able to focus on the recommended treatments. During these moments, an ally is required.


Ask your spouse’s consent first. Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of having someone around even if it’s their significant other. Respect your spouse’s decision whether he or she wants you to be physically there when the evaluation is given.


Remember that the percentage of success is promising if depression is treated early on. The road is relatively quiet simple – counseling or therapy, antidepressants, or a combination of both. But don’t be discouraged if recovery is not yet discernable within the few months of treatment. The road to success in battling depression is long and winding and requires a lot of patience, time, and understanding.


Frequently Overlooked Indications That Depression Is Ruining Your Relationship



Marriage dissatisfaction and depression are said to be interlinked that their correlation also goes both ways. Meaning, depression can contribute to marriage dysfunction, or it could be the other way around.


Since the majority believes that a person’s well-being is dependent on the relationships they form – platonic or romantic – the difficulty to enjoy life ensues. Happiness can be occluded by the mere fact that when problems arise, especially along the sensitive subject of mental illness, many people are baffled about the reality that depression exists and is one of the reasons why relationships are going astray.


If you are one of many who takes your partner’s condition for granted, here are some pointers on the commonly overlooked indications that mental illness like depression is destroying your relationship one symptom at a time.


Disturbed Sleeping Pattern


Depression affects a person’s sleeping pattern – it can either be oversleeping or under-sleeping. For Dr. Wendy Troxel, Ph.D. and collaborators, there is a relationship between sleep and marriage. She elucidated, “given that the marital relationship is the primary social context for most adults and that most married adults sleep with their spouse, marriage may have important implications for sleep. Indeed, a substantial body of evidence suggests that marital status is associated with sleep outcomes, with the divorced typically having more sleep problems compared to their married or single counter-parts.” Put simply, depression This affects the relationship in a way that your significant other might be tossing and turning at night then gets drowsy in the morning that, instead of investing time in the relationship, your significant other will nap the time away. There is a fine line between laziness and depression, and you cannot solely disqualify a person’s mental condition thinking that sleeping all day is intentional.


Persistent Mood Swings


Mood swings that are mostly juggling from irritability to melancholia to anxiety have become a daily thing. Usually, these mood swings would present the following:


  • Withdrawn or disinterested
  • Uncommunicative
  • Needs continuous affirmation
  • Constantly worried about a lot of things
  • Abandonment fears with no specific reason




Due to these mood swings, your partner’s sex drive is also diminished to the point of being distrustful of your show of affection. Mood swings are also due to the toppling of energy leading to fatigue that causes a lack of motivation to engage in usual relationship activities like going on hikes, shopping, and completing home projects.

In a study by John Grohol, Psy.D., he said that “denying one has mood swings, especially if others bring it to your attention, isn’t going to make things any better. Getting help for them can.”

Unexplainable Annoyance Towards Circumstances Or People


It’s just not you who takes the blame, but your partner is always annoyed by the sight of other people or the realization of certain circumstances either inside or outside your home. This behavior presents unusual demeaning or being critical of the partner by magnifying even the smallest flaws. Immediate and unpredictable outbursts are also apparent due to anger or frustration over inconsequential occurrences. Therefore, if your significant other instantly becomes annoyed over the littlest things, it might not be your fault entirely.


Increased Alcohol Or Drug Consumption


Recreational drugs or alcohol are major relationship destroyers for they can significantly influence the way your partner treats you and talks to you. As Dr. Cory Crane, Ph.D. and co-authors, had found, “daily diary studies show that alcohol consumption increases the odds of perpetrating verbal and physical aggression later that day by both men and women.” If your partner becomes alcoholic or has been increasingly secretive about what’s inside his stash, suspicion of addiction or abuse should ensue. But you have to realize that drug usage and alcoholism are just symptoms for a lot of mental and physical disorders happening in this modern-day society; therefore, it is essential that you stay adamant in knowing what the real problem is behind the abuse.


If you or your partner can identify with two or more symptoms that are listed, most likely, depression is looming and is hurting your union. Although it may take a lot of self-determination and courage to recognize that your partner is experiencing mental instability, acknowledging the problem is beneficial in finding a solution in mending your relationship.


High-Functioning Depression: Five Signs To Watch Out For



Admit it, when someone utters the word “depression,” the first thing that comes to mind is someone who doesn’t have the energy and willingness to do things, even getting out of bed.


High-functioning depression is breaking that stereotype of what melancholia actually looks like. Just because you’re not experiencing bouts of sadness or are not listless to go to work, doesn’t mean that you don’t have depression. You do, but you’re just too familiar with your condition that you have managed to hold it together, making people believe that you’re doing just fine.

Margaret R Rutherford Ph.D. says that “People with high-functioning depression are able to use the skill of compartmentalization, where you suppress your own personal feelings for the moment and instead, attend to the needs or expectations of the present.”

Five Telltale Signs


Technically, high-functioning depression is chronic, untreated depression. Probably the most challenging facet of identifying high-functioning depression is people’s lack of understanding because high-functioning depressed people blend in so perfectly.


How do you know if you have high-functioning depression?


  1. You’re Often Anxious Or Worried


While it’s so easy to equate unexplained sadness and constant lack of energy to depression, people tend to overlook one common emotion that is strongly connected with the condition, and that is anxiety or constant worrying. It is essential to point out that anxiety is not just limited to the idea of fear of the unknown because it can manifest in several different ways as depression does. Anxiety, more often than not, causes people to experience confusion, mental disturbance and restlessness, and that nagging feeling in your gut.


  1. You Abstain From Social Gatherings




According to information published by the Harvard School of Public Health, high-functioning depression looks similar to a long-term, low-grade despondency that can persevere up to five years. And even though high-functioning depression does not make someone feel hopeless or devastated, it can severely dent that quality of living, diminishing your eagerness to work, go to school, attend social events, and curb your enthusiasm for family and relationships. “People with high-functioning depression still go to work and interact with people, but outside of work, they may stop hanging out with friends, and make excuses like ‘work’s been really stressful,’” says Dr. Jason Stamper.


Abstaining from social gatherings or declining invites is said to be one of the first prominent signs of high-functioning depression. People with the condition will still work, interact with co-workers and other people, but once they go outside of their workplaces, they’ll go on an excuse-spree to just avoid hanging out. Most individuals who have high-functioning depression are likely to be isolative that then translate into dissociative relationships.


  1. You Have Type A Personality And Is Successful


Affluent literates or those who are living the good, prosperous life are said to lean more towards high-functioning depression as compared to those who don’t have a high pay grade or living a luxurious lifestyle. Paradoxically, high-functioning depression affects educated people who have important jobs in their chosen field of interest. While they have the privilege of being well-educated and well-off, their careers become triggers for stress. It turns out, it’s better to be low-functioning if it means saving you from a lifetime of depression medications and therapy.


  1. Your Definition Of Sleep Is “Disturbed”


Just when you thought you could get that well-deserved slumber, you end up wide-eyed at 3 am, having an existential crisis, begging the heavens for a sweet reprieve. More so, you’ve noticed that when you’re at work, nodding off comes easily and light snoozing becomes a habit. But when that time of the day approaches when you really need the shut-eye, your system sends you a message: Error! Sleep not found. “Many people with depression also struggle with anxiety, which impacts quality of sleep as well, and the symptom of insomnia crosses over between the two,” says Rachel Dubrow.


It’s frustrating and debilitating to be sleep-deprived. Aside from not being refreshed the next day and to be a useful citizen of your community, having too little sleep can worsen your depressive symptoms.


  1. Vices And Addiction Are Comforting


If you’re the type of person who’d rather stay at home and indulge in activities like playing video games, binge-watching, or if you find yourself drinking alcoholic beverages more than usual, or worse, if you have attached yourself to recreational drugs, then you most likely have high-functioning depression. To cover up the loneliness, you turn to your vice or addiction as an emotional bolster.




The disconcerting thing about wallowing in addictive substances and behaviors is that it, instead of just treating depression itself, may require you an additional layer of treatment and care. Substance and alcohol abuse further aggravates your condition, intensifying sleep deprivation, anxiety, and agitation that can directly affect your ability to cope.


High-functioning depression may be the less prominent sister of depression, but it is what most people in this generation are experiencing, especially those who belong to the working class. Just because you think that people who have high-functioning depression are doing well doesn’t mean that they are not slowly dying inside. Therefore, once you notice that you might have high-functioning depression, the best thing to do is get help and support.