If someone you love is living with depression, it can solicit a range of feelings – confusion, sadness, and even frustration. Many people don’t know what to say or how to help – feeling like they may make the person feel even worse or potentially say the completely wrong thing. Or perhaps you’re giving your loved one advice but it seems like it’s just not sinking in.
Depression can be isolating, relentless, and can severely impact the person’s personal relationships – and watching from the sidelines can make you feel helpless and even more confused.
But, lending your support is crucial and there are ways you can help a loved one suffering with depression. Keep reading to check out the six ways to help.
1. Simply be there
It may seem fairly obvious, but letting them know that you are there – simply listening or sitting with them while they cry or vent can be one of the best ways you can offer your support.
2. Do your research
The best way to avoid missteps is to clue yourself up on depression. Learn as much as you can, because once you are educated on the symptoms and impacts of depression, you can better support your loved one.
3. Don’t minimize their pain
No matter how frustrated you might be, saying things like “Why do you let every little thing effect you?” are ultimately more damaging. Minimizing their pain results in feelings of shame, invalidation, and glosses over the effects of this serious disorder.
4. Try a small gesture
There are other ways to express your support other than being a shoulder to cry on. Anything from a handmade card to bringing them some cake, while only small acts of kindness, can show someone that you truly care.
5. Avoid the tough-love approach
It can be easy to fall into the trap of tough love – believing that it will instill some kind of positive motivation to get better. In fact, it’s quite the opposite and can be very hurtful and equally as harmful as someone who avoids checking in with their loved one altogether.
6. Avoid comparison
We all want our loved ones to feel less alone, but unless you’ve gone through depression yourself, saying you know how they feel is unhelpful and can minimize their experience.
7. Be patient
Finally, many believe that mastering the art of patience is one of the best ways to help. Letting them know that it doesn’t matter how long recovery or any treatment takes – that you’ll be with them every step of the way.