Many people loosely use the term “depression.” Some people insist that they are depressed when in fact, they are not. These are the individuals who are not capable of distinguishing depression from mere exhaustion, sadness or despair. In a strict sense, depression refers to a condition wherein a person is suffering from feelings of severe hopelessness, unhappiness, grief, despondency, and disappointment.
A person who is suffering from depression shows a low level of energy. He usually tends to withdraw from society. He finds it difficult to interact with other people, most especially with those who are living happy and convenient lives. At the same time, this person may also suffer insomnia or lack of sleep. He can even lose his appetite, making him feel more gloomy and lethargic.
Dealing with a person with depression is difficult. It can be intimidating and frightening since you are at a loss for what to say or what to do. Here are some of the ways on how you can be of help:
- Stop saying “It’s gonna be okay.”
“It’s going to be okay” is the last thing that a depressed person would want to hear from a friend or a loved one. For him, it will never be okay. He is hurting and confused. He doesn’t know what to do or where to go. Telling him that everything is going to be okay will only add to the confusion. Instead, practice listening to what he has to say. Do not pressure him into talking more about the problem. All the person wants is to have someone like you from whom he can get support. “It invalidates what they’re experiencing and completely glosses over the fact that they’re struggling with a difficult disorder – not some weakness or personality flaw,” Deborah Serani, PsyD explains.
- Always be available.
A person who has depression may become clingy. There are days when he just wants to shut everyone out. However, there are also times when he wants to call someone whom he can open up to. It is vital that you are available whenever he wants to talk to someone. “Often, people with depression have difficulty with some of the basics of day-to-day living,” Deborah Serani Psy.D. says. Try to make your schedule flexible. The other person will surely appreciate it. Doing this may help in the recovery of the depressed individual.
- Try doing something fun.
Help the other become more exposed to a new environment. Help the individual find something that to be passionate about. The exposure to a new environment can be an excellent way to fight depression. Some of the things that you can do with the depressed person are:
- Attending workshops or seminars
- Going to the gym
- Partying together
- Enjoying out of town trips
- Signing up for interesting classes
- Recommend a therapist.
Bringing your friend to a therapist can also be a good idea. Take note that there are some problems or situations that you cannot solve on your own. The assistance of a professional may come in handy. A good therapist can help the depressed person process his feelings and emotions. The sessions are designed to allow the patient to understand why he is in a state of depression.
If you want to help someone with depression, do not neglect the things listed above. Always be there for a depressed person. Emanuel Maidenberg Ph.D. explains that, “The unfortunate truth is that supporting people who are struggling with mental health issues can at times be unrewarding and frustrating.” He adds, “Nevertheless, it is important that you keep connected and providing support as long as you can.”