Helping Yourself or Someone Else Who Suffers From Depression

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Depression can be a matter of life and death, so help from others is of vital importance. Since depression affects millions of people each year, chances are you may know someone who suffers from this terrible illness.

Helping someone with severe depression can be frustrating at times. Many depressed people don’t want to be helped. It’s as if they feel they can benefit from being depressed because no one expects anything from them. Some even go as far as to feel that being depressed is easier than dealing with life’s problems and trying to improve them. It’s important to realize however, that not ALL people who suffer from Depression feel this way.

Many people suffer from depression needlessly all because they won’t consult with a Doctor. If you know someone like this It’s important that you do what you can to convince them to seek professional care. Let them know that you care and just want to make sure that they are okay. Sometimes if the person won’t take the initiative, you may have to make the appointment for them and make sure they get there. Be kind but at the same time, be firm. Helping a friend or relative who suffers from Depression is no easy task, but it can be lifesaving. At times, just knowing you care makes all the difference in the world.

Many people who suffer from Depression feel like they are a burden not only to their family and friends, but also to themselves because they feel as if they are helpless and can’t get past their depression. Some even feel ashamed and humiliated. So, instead of getting help, they isolate themselves some more and in turn drift further and further away.

In order to help a person who suffers from Depression, you first need to have empathy for that person. In other words, try to identify emotionally with them. Be sensitive to their feelings and realize that they really are in emotional pain. What they are feeling is real so try to be understanding. NEVER ever tell a depressed person to ‘snap out of it.’ This simply cannot be done.

Other ways to help a depressed person may be to encourage them to talk. You never want them to keep everything bottled up inside them. Avoid judgemental and critical comments. Remember, most depression sufferers have very low self-esteem, so try to restore it by reasoning with them. Ask them why they feel the way they do and really LISTEN when they talk. By showing them this attention you are showing them that you have a genuine interest in wanting to help.

If you are married to someone who suffers from Depression don’t automatically assume that you are the cause of the depression. Depression isn’t ALWAYS caused by a bad marriage. However, it can be brought on by friction, guilt or a strained or isolated relationship. Always remember that if you are married to someone who suffers from depression and they lash out at you, don’t take it personal. Remember the emotional pain they are in. Also remember that in most cases, YOU are not the one they’re mad at. Remembering this can help you respond to them in a mild way.

If it’s your wife that suffers from depression, take the initiative by helping cook and clean. If there are kids in the family, help by tending to them instead of your wife having to do it. By doing this you are helping in more ways than you know.

So, if you know someone who suffers from Depression, always be patient, show empathy and assist them in any way you can. Be encouraging and let them know you are thinking about them and you care. Send them a letter or card in the mail. Give them a call on the phone, or better yet, pay them a visit, even if It’s for a little while. All these little things can mean the world to a person who is depressed. Don’t expect someone with depression to get well overnight. It can be a slow process at times. So the best thing to do is to try to prevent it.

If you suffer from Depression and want to prevent or fight it, start by getting plenty of exercise, get proper rest and eat a well balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid the ‘depressing foods’ like chocolate, caffeine or other sugars. Don’t build your sense of worth on the love of others, on money, power or your job. Avoid drugs and too much alcohol. Always do the best you can but don’t try to be perfect. There is no such thing. And the number one thing you have to remember is to recognize the early symptoms of depression and seek help immediately. By doing these things you can have more success in conquering your depression.

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  1. Andrianna

    April 30, 2016 at 6:00 am

    A good article with one huge exception- the 2nd paragraph. It is completely untrue that “many depressed people don’t want help.” That they somehow are getting secondary gains or that they somehow “benefit” from their depression as no one will expect anything from them. This is not supported in the medical literature anywhere. While yo do state @ the very end of this paragraph that it’s important to realize not all people who suffer from depression feel this way, how you’ve phrased this & where you’ve placed you’re opinion (@ the beginning) isn’t appropriate. Although certainly not your intent, I believe many people, who already have a bias against those who suffer from this devastating disorder, will focus right into those very early mentioned statements, which support their pre-conceived beliefs & will overshadow the good information that follows. As an RN of 30 years, I would suggest editing this article & placing your opinion @ the end & stating something such as ” while there are SOME, but certainly not in any way the majority….” or, better yet, remove that paragraph, please. It really stirred feelings in me personally as a person who has had this disorder for years & heard many unkind & incorrect statements. I’d give anything to never have to deal with this disorder again.

    • Sean Bennick

      April 30, 2016 at 11:20 am

      Andrianna, While I agree wholeheartedly with you, I have to respect the author’s choice to include their opinion regarding this disorder. I can state my own opinion that Anna Allen likely carries this belief because she has never dealt with Depression personally and likely feels that whichever friend or loved one of hers did deal with the disorder was in her opinion (quite wrongfully I might add) just trying to avoid some responsibility. What I will do is work to find a more competent author to rewrite the article entirely. Perhaps you know someone with personal experience and more medical knowledge who might have an interest?

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