13 Things To Remember When You Love A Person Who Has Depression

I’ve suffered from depression.  It was really bad after my child was born. I couldn’t shake it and unfortunately, everyone was used to me being the one that did everything and kept everything going. Everything just stopped.  I remember sitting down talking to the midwife. My husband had just upped and left for a few days but was there at my midwife appointment.  I told her I was struggling.  She asked him why he wasn’t helping me.  He then put his arm around me and asked me what help looked like to me.  I almost threw up.  I mumbled, “I don’t know” and just went completely numb.  He knew what I needed.  I am a very straight forward person and we had talked and had this argument several times post birth.  He knew he was wrong in not helping but he didn’t want to look bad in front of my midwife.  My midwife told me that I needed to figure out what I needed if I was to ask for help.  It was frustrating to be in that situation.  Over time, the depression faded but I do know I was completely alone in where I was at.  It made me very aware of decisions I had to make once I was in a better place.

Depression is a choice- FALSE.

Depression is one of the most helpless and frustrating experiences a person can have. It’s sometimes feeling sad, sometimes feeling empty, and sometimes feeling absolutely nothing at all. There are times when depression can leave someone feeling paralyzed in their own mind and body, unable to do the things they used to love to do or the things they know they should be doing. Depression is not just a bad day or a bad mood and it’s not something someone can just “get over.”Remember no one chooses to be depressed.

Saying things like it’ll get better, “you just need to get out of the house,” or “you’ll be fine” is meaningless.

It’s easy to tell someone these things because you think youre giving them a solution or a simple way to make them feel better and to ease their pain, but these kinds of phrases always come across as empty, insulting, and essentially meaningless.

Saying these phrases to them only create more tension within, making them feel as though theyre inadequate, and like youre not acknowledging what theyre going through by trying to put a band aid on a much larger issue. They understand you’re just trying to help but these words only make them feel worse. A silent hug can do so much more than using cliched sayings.

What you can say instead:

Avoid offering advice but instead just let them know you’re there for them and ask them questions to help guide them in discovering what could make them feel better.

 

 

They can become easily overwhelmed.

Constant exhaustion is a common side effect of depression. Just getting through the day can be an overwhelming and exhausting experience. They may seem and look totally fine one moment and in the next moment feel tired and have no energy at all, even if they’re getting plenty of sleep every night. This can result in them canceling plans suddenly, leaving events early, or saying no to things altogether. Just remember it’s not about anything you did. It’s just one of the prevalent side effects of living with the disease.

It’s not about you.

When you have a loved one dealing with depression it can be difficult to understand what they’re going through and to consider how their sadness is a reflection of your relationship with them. If they need space or become distant don’t blame yourself and wonder how you could do things differently to heal them. Understand their depression is not about you.

Avoid creating ultimatums, making demands, or using a “tough-love” approach.

Telling someone you’re going to break up with them or not talk to them anymore if they don’t get better is not going to magically cure them of their illness. They won’t suddenly become the person you want them to be just because you’re tired of dealing with their problems. It’s a personal decision to walk away from someone if their issues become too much for you and your relationship with them, but thinking the ‘tough-love’ approach will make them better is unrealistic and manipulative.

 

Just because someone is depressed doesn’t mean that they’re weak.

In his book , author Eric G. Wilson explores the depths of sadness and how experiencing mental anguish can actually make us more empathetic, creative people. Although he explains the difference between depression and melancholia, he rejects the idea of inflated happiness our culture and society is obsessed with, and instead explains why we reap benefits from the darker moments in life. Wilson writes:

In a similar manner psychiatrist and philosopher, Dr. Neel Burton, discusses in his Tedx talk abouthow some of the most influential and important people in history have experienced depression. He explains the way our culture looks at and treats depression and howtraditional societies differ in their approach, seeing human distress asan indicator of the need to address important life problems, not a mentalillness.

It’s important to remember depression is not something that should beconsidered shamefuland experiencing it doesn’t make someone weak or inadequate.

Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/koty-neelis/2015/04/13-things-to-remember-when-you-love-a-person-who-has-depression/

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