The world is constantly running and competing in a rat race. Everyone wants to be ahead in the game, but nobody wants to slow down and think about the beauty the world has to offer. Since there is competition, there will be heartbreaks and dissatisfaction. The constant dissatisfaction and the fear of failure leads to depression.
It is very easy to say that you are depressed, but there are many people in this world who are suffering mentally and physically. Depression is a medical condition and is different from sadness. Socializing becomes a grueling task and your heart feels like you do not belong to this world.
Are we trying to say that depression has no fix? Not at all! Depression is a condition that needs immediate medical attention. A depressed person can meet a psychiatrist and share their dilemmas, fears and doubts. The question is – How can you help a depressed person?
If you find that your friend, colleague, family member or a patron traveling in the metro is depressed, you can handle the situation and speak to them. Your mind questions whether it is a wise move or not and that’s why this post becomes relevant.
Read on to find out how you can help a depressed person.
Identifying The Signs of Depression
Did you know that approximately 300 million children and adults are living with depression? When you see a person from a close distance, you will be able to tell whether they are generally sad or depression.
Sadness is a temporary condition, but depression can prolong.
If your friend/family member/colleague is under depression, they will showcase the following signs:
- Negative talks and thoughts
- Feeling insignificant, guilty and empty
- Too much sleep or insomnia
- Suicidal thoughts or talking about death
- Constant flow of tears. They want to stop but breaking down comes naturally
- Lethargy and disinterested in everything around them
- Easily irritable or agitated
- Starts eating too much (more than usual)
- Stops thinking about their physical appearance and hygiene
When a person is depressed, they may showcase it through different signs. However, there are people who are good at hiding their tears. These are the givers, who believe in wearing a smile in front of the world.
Erving Goffman talked about the front stage and back stage. The front stage is where the human beings put up a show. The world is a stage and they become mere characters! In the front stage, they are behaving and acting as per the societal norms. However, the backstage is where they are finally resting. Putting up a fake smile is easy and a depressed person may be good at hiding their true emotions.
If your friend/colleague/family member is showcasing at least one sign of depression, you should sit down and talk to them.
What else can you do? Let’s find out in the next section.
How to help a depressed person?
Seeing someone in a bad state can be heartbreaking. When it is a close friend, colleague or a family member, your heart goes out. It is commendable that you are at least making the effort to solve their problem. Helping someone to get out of depression is a noble thought!
Let’s cut to the chase and answer the question – How can you help a depression person?
Now that you have an idea about your friend/colleague/family member’s situation, you can sit and listen to them. We are always hearing people out, but the art of listening is incredible. The depression person has a lot to say, but they are too afraid that nobody will listen.
It is possible that the cause was a heartbreak, a divorce, rape, or mental torture caused by a family member. As human beings, we tend to think too much about what the society would say! You need to reassure this person that you are here to listen.
Ask relevant questions but respect their privacy
Your friend/colleague/family member will appreciate the gesture, but you need to listen to their story before drawing a conclusion. Ask them relevant questions about how they feel and what is making them feel this way!
Show empathy towards them through your body language. It is best to not give examples of ABC person being in a similar situation. It is possible that they are going through a very tough phase and you are not able to understand the difficulty. Do not be pushy! If they do not feel comfortable in sharing the details, let them know that you are around.
Help them find a therapist
Depression requires medical attention. In case they are feeling awkward going to the psychiatrist or therapist, you can simply find one and accompany them. Tell them that you are ready to help them to get out of the situation!
You need to encourage, support and motivate them to opt for therapy. Sometimes a hug or ‘I’m there for you’ is not enough. The psychiatrists hold a degree in psychology and know about the ways to get rid of depression.
Never Judge Them
The society wears a judgmental lens. It is possible that the depressed person is not giving you the details because they fear that you might judge them. Listen to them but do not judge or criticize. It pushes a person away from you!
In such cases, you need to be understanding and offer your support. For example – If the person is depressed because they had a breakup, you do not have to indulge in name-calling or tell them that you knew this would happen! If someone got a divorce, you must never tell them they are at fault or make a big fuss about how the society will view him/her.
Never Leave Them Alone
You need to set boundaries, but never leave their side. This is the time when they need someone’s support and an ear to hear them out. Lastly, you must read more about depression. Keep yourself in their shoes and try to offer full support.
Never scold them for crying or screaming! Depressed people may bottle up their feelings, but it will be helpful to let it out. Let them cry, scream and scribble on a paper. Be patient with them and always know that a depressed person just wants someone to listen to them and understand the situation.