- Depression is an illness.
Depression is a condition that makes you feel empty and unable to do the things you used to love. Depression is not a choice and is not just a bad mood. No one chooses to be depressed.
- It doesn’t help to say: “it’ll get better,” or “you’ll be fine”.
You may want to tell someone these things to someone who is depressed, because you think you can make them feel better, but these kinds of phrases always come across as empty and essentially meaningless. They understand you’re just trying to help but these words only make them feel worse. A silent hug can do so much more useful. You can say: I’m here for you. I believe in you. I believe you are stronger than this and I believe you’ll get through this. What can I do to help you? What do you think would make you feel better?
- They push you away before they can bring you closer.
People who suffer from depression may sometimes isolate themselves and push away people they need the most. When they become distant, just remember to let them know you’re still there, but don’t force them to hang out or talk about what’s going on if they don’t want to.
- It is normal for you to get frustrated.
You have to offer love to depressed people, but it is absolutely normal to feel that they create a negative impact on your life. You’re allowed to acknowledge this and figure out how to show them love and kindness without self-sacrificing.
- It’s important to create boundaries.
When you have to deal with someone in depression, it’s important to take a step back and look at how you can help while maintaining your own sense of happiness. Being patient helps a lot. Talk to them about your concerns and explain the boundaries you need to create within your relationship.
- They get easily overwhelmed.
Exhaustion is a common side effect of depression. Just getting through the day can be an overwhelming and exhausting experience. You have to know that you don’t have to blame yourself for what a depressed person may feel. It’s just one of the prevalent side effects of living with the disease.
- The victim is not you.
Understand that depression is not about you when you have a loved one dealing with depression. If that person needs space, don’t blame yourself and wonder how you could do things differently to help them.
- Avoid using a “tough-love” approach.
If you tell someone with depression that you’re going to break up with them or not talk to them anymore you won’t help them cure their illness. It’s a personal decision to walk away from someone if their issues become too much for you, but thinking the ‘tough-love’ approach will make them better is unrealistic and manipulative.
- They can’t deal their illness alone.
Be close to the people with depression, somehow shadowing them. You can bring them out of their routine and where you two can connect can often mean everything for them. Remind them they don’t have to do this alone.
- Don’t compare your experiences with theirs.
When you talk to someone who is depressed express your empathy but don’t suppress their feelings. The greatest resource you can share with your friend is your ability to listen. That’s all they really need.
- Give them advice.
It’s okay to directly ask a depressed person how they care of themselves and to come up with a s plan for times when their depression becomes too overwhelming.
- Spend time together.
Find amusing or interesting ways to spend time together: exercise together, go to grocery shop, or hang out together.
- Depressed people are not weak.
It’s important to remember that depression is not something that should be considered shameful and experiencing it doesn’t make someone weak or inadequate.