Depression is a disease. It should not be looked at as just a feeling that will fade away with time.
The world says that you will be fine after some time, but the heart and mind knows that the feeling will not go away.
What happens when a friend comes to you with depression issues? Do not rubbish their feelings because they are trying to talk to someone who would understand. They are seeking help from you. This is a clear sign that they trust you.
This is what most people do. This will worsen the situation for the depressed person since it will make them feel stupid. How do you handle such a situation correctly? Let us rephrase the question for you – How to help a friend with depression?
Diagnose the person
In most cases you will be right. Your friend is just feeling sad and assuming he is depressed. Failing in life makes people feel unworthy. This lowers their mood. Do not confuse this with depression.
What if your friend is really depressed?
Sometimes they may not even know they are. Research conducted showed that almost fifty percent of depressed people do not even know they are depressed . They live their lives thinking they are just sad and only notice when it is too late.
Stigma from friends and family also makes people hide their true feelings. Bottling up negative emotions inside ultimately leads to self harming actions such as suicide. Having suicidal thoughts is usually a clear sign that a person is depressed.
Sudden changes in weight are at times due to depression. Patients lose their appetite or eat too much when sad.
If your friend suddenly does not want to spend time with you, or starts spending all their time inside, it could be a sign of depression.
Now that you have discovered that your friend is depressed, what are the next steps? These techniques will help you.
Convince your friend to see a doctor. Do not try advising them and thinking they will get better. You may calm them down by doing this but the real issue will still be there.
Some may actually get angry when you tell them they are sick. They do not want to accept this. Slowly explain what you have observed in them and they will see the truth.
Tell them to seek professional help. This gives them personalized attention. A professional will correctly evaluate their condition and treat them. The doctor will usually prescribe antidepressants .
Medication is usually necessary when the depression is severe.
Take them out
Depressed people spend a lot of time indoors. They prefer avoiding social places. Patients with severe cases are even scared of seeing people.
Convince your friend to go outside. A change in environment may just do the trick. It will give them a better perspective in life.
Basking in the sun is a proven way to brighten up your mood. Leaving the house also allows them to meet people. The feeling of loneliness they had will slowly fed.
Try doing activities they like doing so they join you. Make them feel appreciated.
Monitor their feeding behavior
If possible, always eat together with them. They will then have no excuse for skipping meals. If they are eating a lot due to stress, they are probably idle. Find activities you can do together to avoid stress eating.
Activities such as running are known to have the same effects as antidepressants. Regular exercise keeps your mind off negative thoughts. It allows you to concentrate on the present and not past events that do not have much influence in your life.
Depressed people have a difficult time showcasing their true feelings. Advice them to start writing down how they feel. Gift them a diary and ask them to fill it up with thoughts. This can help them to open up. It also helps them get a better understanding of why they are feeling low.
Joining a therapy class will teach them how to control their emotions. During these sessions, they meet people with similar conditions. Hearing another person’s life story teaches you to appreciate yourself.
Therapy gives you new skills on how to relate to friends and family members. It also guides them on how to think better in certain types of situation.
If your friend is reluctant in going to therapy, you can both join so he feels comfortable . Therapy can help solve your own issues.
People who are depressed often turn to drugs . Drugs allow them to forget their problems. Intoxication is one way to escape from the harsh realities of life. This is usually temporary and as soon as the effects wear out, they go back to feeling miserable.
This prompts them to use more drugs. Forming such a habit leads to addiction. This makes their problems worse. Encourage your friend to avoid drugs at all costs. If they are already using drugs, convince them to seek help from a doctor.
People usually get depressed when they fail at something. Show them that this is not the end of the world.
Advice them to stop setting high targets or unachievable goals. They need to understand their limits and stick to them. This will prevent them from the disappointment that comes from failing to succeed.
Depressed people find it hard to keep their relationships. Broken relationships are one of the major causes of depression. Learning to move on from past events can help people get over relationships. Nothing that you say or do can help them recover, but motivate them to do things they love and meet new people.
Research has shown that most of the depressed individuals have had suicidal thoughts. They might be too depressed and would have thoughts to jump from the building. This is a delicate matter since just talking about it to patients can make them start thinking about suicide. It is better to let an expert handle this topic so that you do not mess things up.
Depressed people normally have exaggerated thoughts. They often feel unloved and alone in life. You need to show them that this is not true.
Before you accuse someone of being depressed, be sure you are right. You may decrease someone’s self-esteem by accusing them. Learn to listen to the depressed soul because they want someone to hear them out.
Majority of the depressed people are not vocal about their feelings because they end up thinking that nobody can understand their situation.
If the friend is unwilling to visit a psychiatrist, you can go along with them. Lastly, never give up on your friend. Friendship is not just meant for good times. It is also about abiding by your friend in times of need.