HealthMental Health10 Ways To Help A Loved One Who Is Going Through Depression

10 Ways To Help A Loved One Who Is Going Through Depression

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a steep increase in the number of people suffering from depression. But fortunately, now there is more awareness with regards to mental health, at least as far as the urban educated population is concerned. The fact that A list Bollywood celebrities like Karan Johar, Deepika Padukone and Shaheen Bhatt have shared their struggle with depression in public has helped many people acknowledge their mental health concerns and seek expert help. 

Read Here: Anxiety And Depression – How To Identify, Differentiate & Treat Them Individually

Depression In A Nutshell

It is an illness that cannot be diagnosed by any health scan. It is a rather dangerous mental illness that can cause even the most rational people to take some extreme steps. There is very little relation between achievement and depression because even the most established and successful people have been known to have suffered from chronic depression. Depression is a state of mind where the individual experiences feelings of hopelessness, sadness, emptiness, anxiety, lack of motivation, worthlessness, self-doubt, guilt, insomnia , fatigue and also suicidal thoughts. Oftentimes, these emotional effects of depression are accompanied by physical symptoms like chronic pain, inflammation, nausea, diarrhoea, constipation and sleep deprivation. This is because depression has adverse effects on the human immune system.

In many cases, the person who is depressed is amongst the last persons to realise it. It is only when friends and family begin to point out the changes in their attitude and behaviour that they realise the magnitude of their negative feelings. Seeing a loved one go through depression is a challenging and heartbreaking journey. As far as depression is concerned, loved ones play a very important role in helping the individual cope with depression and come out of it. In order to help someone you love deal with depression, it is necessary to be able to recognize the symptoms of the disease.

5 Ways To Identify If A Loved One Is Depressed

1. Anxiety

Although many people are worriers and worry about every little thing, people with depression have anxiety that reaches such elevated levels that they find it impossible to function on an everyday basis. Some symptoms of anxiety that could be early signs of depression are nervousness, trembling, excessive sweating, lack of focus and panic.

2. Fatigue And Sleep Disorders

People stop doing things they like out of tiredness and depression leads to chronic fatigue. A person who is depressed will be perpetually tired and lack energy. This is the reason why most depressed people spend a lot of their time sleeping. However, getting too much sleep does not mean that the person is getting much needed rest. Too much sleep can lead to a disruption in his/her sleep patterns and result in disturbed sleep or even insomnia. Watch out if a person you love is spending most of their time sleeping and yet looking constantly tired all the time.

3. Disinterest

When you begin to notice that a loved one is not showing any interest in the activities and things they used to love, it could be a symptom of depression. Depression is a disease that can kill any feeling of joy or interest, causing the individual to show zero enthusiasm even in fun activities like socializing, playing sports or traveling. 

4. Appetite And Weight Fluctuations

It is very common for people undergoing depression to either eat too much or too little. The turmoil in their mind accompanied by physical fatigue often results in eating disorders like bulimia, binge eating or anorexia. Depressed people either find solace in food or are repelled by it. These extreme feelings towards food and nutrition cause considerable weight fluctuations in a depressed person.

5. Suicidal Thoughts

The most serious symptom of depression is thinking about death and suicide. When left untreated for a long period of time, depression can lead people to end their own lives. If you find your loved ones talking about death or get a feeling that they might be planning to take a step to this effect, the first thing to do is to not leave their side. Make sure to keep any sharp objects of flammables away from their sight and get help immediately.

If you do think that someone you know is showing any of the above symptoms, know that there is a lot you can do to help them out of this condition. Although depression is a serious concern, a lot of times, following simple practices in everyday life has proven to be very effective in battling minor depression. The support of friends and family is vital in helping a person suffering from depression to overcome those negative feelings. 

Read Here: Psychiatrist Dr Parul Tank Discusses Perinatal Depression In Women During Pregnancy

10 Ways To Help A Loved One Who Is Depressed

1. Be Aware Of The Symptoms

Being aware of the symptoms of depression is the first step to helping a loved one come out of depression. It is very important for one to be able to differentiate the symptoms of depression from infrequent bouts of sadness. Experiencing negative emotions can be identified as a symptom of depression only when an individual exhibits them on a regular basis and when those feelings start to disrupt the normal processes of routine life.  

2. Accompany Them To The Doctor To Rule Out Any Physical Ailments

​​When a person you love is facing physical symptoms that might match those of depression, the first thing to do is to rule out any possibility of physical illness. Although physical symptoms of depression can be equally serious as the mental ones, if the individual experiences only physical discomfort without any noticeable change in their behaviour, their condition is most likely due to a health issue and not a mental problem. However,in order to rule out the possibility of depression, getting a full health checkup is highly recommended.

3. Make Them Feel Loved

Feeling worthless is a very common symptom of depression. In this situation, the onus of making the person feel important and worthy is on his/her loved ones. Constant affirmations and encouragement from friends and family play a very important role in helping the depressed person battle his feelings of sadness and gain his confidence again.

4. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Depression can sometimes cause people to act very unreasonably. In such times, it is necessary for the friends and family of the depressed person to be extremely patient and supportive. The person suffering from depression might end up saying or doing things which will hurt the people close to him. At this point, giving up on that person becomes extremely easy. While trying to help someone get over depression, one should always remember that behaviour of the depressed person is not a reflection of their personality or feelings but an effect of the disease. The aim should be to see past the unreasonable behaviour and continue to help the depressed person in battling the condition.

5. Seek Help From Others

Taking care of a depressed person is not a small task. Being around a person suffering from depression can affect your own mental well being as well. While taking care of a depressed person, it is very important to take some time off to recharge your mental energies. Thus, a person who is helping a loved one deal with depression should never hesitate from taking help from other friends and family so that everybody can collectively help the depressed person without having to compromise on their own mental health.

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6. Avoid Judgements Be Supportive

The main reason why the support of friends and family is so helpful for people battling depression is because these are the only people who support and love without judgement. While helping a loved one deal with depression, one should always keep an open mind and offer full support to that individual. Friends and family should encourage the depressed individual to express himself freely and talk about his fears and insecurities. Empathy and encouragement from loved ones goes a long way in making the depressed person feel less miserable.

7. Recommend Helping Resources

People undergoing depression are often resistant to getting help from mental health experts. In these situations, the job of friends and family is to make the individual aware of all the options there are which can help him/her overcome his negative feelings. Loved ones can start by sharing blogs, articles and videos on how help from experts helps people battle depression. The next step is to help with research about the best suited mental health professional. Friends and family can also volunteer to accompany the depressed individual to the therapist in order to make them feel more comfortable.

8. Invite Them To Events

The job of friends and family of a person dealing with depression should be to try to keep his hard life as normal as possible. Even though the depressed individual might be wary of participating in any kind of activity, they should always try to send out loose ended invitations that are of his/her interest. Simply saying things like, “I would love to go out for a run with you wherever you are in the mood” is a great way of coaxing the depressed person to participate in fun activities without putting any kind of pressure on them.

9. Help With Everyday Tasks

Assisting with everyday errands, sending homemade food, making appointments to the therapist, dropping off laundry and picking up the mail are some of the ways in which friends and family of a depressed individual can help in making his/her everyday life easier. People with depression often spend their days in bed. Handling these everyday tasks that seem too overwhelming for depressed people is a great way to help the depressed individual sail through the dark days of depression.

10. Institutionalise If You Notice Suicidal Tendencies

If you believe that a person you love is having suicidal tendencies, the best thing you can do is to help him/her in getting admitted into a professional institution where they will be under constant care and supervision. While at home, it is impossible to keep an eye on the depressed individual at all times. Even a little carelessness can have grave consequences.

Read Here: 25 Ways To Calm Your Mind, Body & Soul

Even though depression is the grim reality of a large part of the world population today, there is an immense amount of hope which comes in the way of friends and family. When a person suffering from depression is given the unconditional love and support he/she deserves, they show considerable improvement in a short span of time. In fact, many people suffering from mild depression are able to battle their disease with the help of loved ones alone.

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