You are not alone if you’re living or dealing with depressed friends. According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 7% of adults experienced depression in the US in 2017. Roundabout 300 million people are facing depression across the world. Today, we’ll discuss how to deal with a depressed person or how to deal with depressed people in detail.
How to Deal with a Depressed Person
The symptoms and experiences of depression are different in different people. If your friend is going through depression, then he would exhibit the following symptoms;
- Suicidal or death talks
- Eating more/less than usual
- Difficult to make a decision, focus your mind, or remember things
- Disturb sleeping routine
- Losing interest in your physical appearances and don’t care about being hygienic
- Moving slowly and have no energy
- Getting irritated and upset very easily
- Talking less and not spending time with friends and relatives
- Feeling sad and tearful
In learning how to deal with a depressed person; you should observe these symptoms in your friend or the people around you, you should take the following steps;
Listen to them
You should take your friend in confidence and make it clear to them that you’re there for them, no matter what. You should try to talk to them and show concern in their life. You can start the conversation with a question like “you’ve been feeling upset; tell me what’s going on with you?”
You should keep in mind that your friend only wants to talk and share his feelings, not looking for your advice. You should try to connect with your friend by active listening;
- Show interest and empathy with your words and body language
- Accept and validate their feelings and emotions like “I’m sorry to hear that you’ve gone through a very difficult situation.”
- Inquire more information and go into details rather than assuming things on your own
It’s possible that your friend won’t talk to you initially, but you should be consistent and ensure them that you care about them. If your friend lives in another city, try to do video calls.
Find them a Support group
It’s probable that your friend won’t know that he’s even going through depression or be familiar with any of the support groups. If they’re aware that the therapeutic treatment is effective, it would be scary for them to make an appointment with the therapist.
If your friend is looking for a therapist or support group, you should help him/her out. Most importantly, you should support and encourage their treatment and recovery process, so that they would keep doing it.
Continuous Therapy Support
The thing about depression is that it drains out all of your energy, and makes you isolate yourself. If your friend plans to cancel the appointment, you should motivate and support them to stick with it. You can do so by saying “look, how productive your sessions are going. Just keep doing the amazing work.”
If your friend doesn’t want to continue the medication because of the side effects, then you should talk to their therapist and request him/her to replace the medicines. if they stop the antidepressant medication suddenly, then it would have serious impacts.
Look after yourself
When your friend is going through a difficult time, then you would like to sit beside them and take care of their needs. There’s nothing wrong with that to look after your friends. While doing so, you shouldn’t forget about taking care of yourself.
While spending a lot of your time with your depressed friend that you love, it could be very emotional and push you to your boundaries. You should take some time to recharge your energy, and prepare yourself again. You can tell them that you would available to them at that time.
You should set specific boundaries in terms of helping your friends so that it won’t impact your personal and professional life. For instance, you can tell them that you would be available to them after work.
You should develop a contingency plan that how they can reach out to you during working hours. It could be in the form of using a specific code or a special hotline, or you should consider creating a bigger support network for your friend.
Self-Research on Depression
It would be exhausting if you have to inform every person in your life about the significance of mental and physical issues. You should talk to your depressed, inquire about his symptoms, not in general terms, try to be specific and to the point.
After knowing their symptoms, you should do the research, and try to find causes, treatment, and diagnoses. The more you know about the symptoms, it would allow you to have an in-depth conversation with your friend.
Help them in Routine tasks
When a person is going through depression, then it’s difficult for him to perform household chores like paying bills, grocery shopping, and laundry. They clearly need your help, but they won’t ask for it.
Instead of saying let me know if you need any help, you can ask them how do you need help today? For instance, if you notice that their fridge is empty, then you should tell them to let’s go grocery shopping together. The company of a friend would help them to finish up their chores.
Loose Help Invitation
Depressed people find it difficult to reach out to their friends and family members. They would start canceling plans and friends gathering, which leads them to be completely isolated. If you’re aware of your friends’ condition, then you should keep on reaching out to them and inviting them to your gathering. You should let them know that it makes you feel happy to see them in your gathering.
The treatment of depression is a very long process of trials and errors, and it takes a lot of time. You have to try various medications and therapists before finding out the exact symptoms. If the treatment is working, then it doesn’t mean that it would remove all the symptoms. They would start exhibiting the symptoms from time to time.
There would be some good/bad days in the treatment process, you should consider that the person is well now completely.
Stay in Touch
Staying in touch doesn’t mean that you spend a lot of time with them and forget about them later. It means that you should remain in contact with them regularly in the form of text messages, calls, and face-to-face meetings. It is to make sure that you care about them.
You should remember that it’s difficult to maintain a friendship with depressed people and helping hands eventually leave them because they’re non-responsive. You should be consistent with your positive attitude and support.
Familiar with different forms of Depression
Low/bad mood and feeling sad and upset are so of the main symptoms of depression. Some symptoms of depression that people don’t know about are as follows;
- Physical symptoms like muscular pain, headaches, stomach distress
- Sleep and fatigue issues
- Concentration difficulty, memory issues, and confusion
- Irritation and anger
If your friend is going through depression, then he would be feeling exhausted or having a bad mood.
Things that you should avoid
There are things that you should avoid if you’re learning how to deal with a depressed person are as follows;
Not taking it Personal
Remember if your friend is depressed, then it is nothing to do with you. If they lash out their anger on you, then you should let it go and don’t take it personally. However, if you think that you need a break from your friend, then you should. Don’t just stay there out of respect, and let all of your energy drain out. You should also talk to your friend or a therapist to share your negative emotions, depression could impact you as well.
Don’t try to fix everything
Depression is a severe mental health issue, and it is difficult to explain its feelings to those that haven’t experienced it. You can’t treat and cure depression with phrases like “stop thinking about negative things” or “be thankful for everything you have.” You should offer them positive support and remind them they matter.
The symptom of depression changes by the change in your lifestyle, and it’s difficult to keep up with so many changes. They won’t pay heed to your advice even though you offer them good advice like eating healthy food, exercising, or living a healthy life.
You should only offer them your advice when they ask for it. If they don’t, then you should stay as empathic and active listeners. You can bring positive changes in their lives by inviting them to positive activities.
Don’t Contrast their Experiences
If your depressed friend is talking, you can say “I’ve been there, very difficult stage.” It would make them feel better, even though you have never been through depression. The feelings of depression are more than just sadness; they stay with you over time and impact your personal and professional life.
You should avoid comparing their experiences with someone else’s like, things would have gotten worse if that happened. If you say it like that, then you aren’t helping. You should validate their experiences instead of comparing them with others.
Don’t rely on Medication
Antidepressant is a very good medication for depressed people. Some people avoid this medication because of its side effect, and they tend to use organic methods. You should remember that the usage of medication is your personal decision.
For instance, if you don’t believe in medication, then you should bring up this subject. If they’re participating in the therapy sessions, then medication would be very useful to them.
Conclusion: How to deal with a depressed person
After an in-depth study of how to deal with a depressed person or how to deal with depressed people, we’ve realized that dealing with such people is very challenging and requires a lot of patience. If you’re dealing with such people, then follow and practice the abovementioned suggestions.
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