Get over it…Why don’t you take a vacation, just go out on a date with a cute girl, it’ll be fine. It is not that easy, to slip in depression and then to snap out of it with a vacation, a date, a hug. If it were that easy, depression wouldn’t have been on a rise. If our close ones are going through depression, we should be there, hold their hand, rather than telling them to snap out of it. How can we help someone we know who is depressed?
Firstly, let’s educate ourselves about how and why depression happens. As per the American Psychiatric Association, Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.
Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Reading up about your loved one’s condition will equip you better and help you feel in control of the situation. Most importantly make them visit a mental health professional with regular follow ups.
Secondly, be thorough with the types of treatments for depression which might include:
- Mood Stabilizers
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Interpersonal Therapy
- Alcohol and drug avoidance
Thirdly, it’s important for us to understand the root cause of our loved one’s problem. How can we do that? Find answers to questions like when did they first start feeling bad, do they have suicidal thoughts, what was the major event post which they felt out of control, what makes them scared, and what makes them relaxed? Once you have answers to these questions, you might be able to come with a more comprehensive action plan at home.
Lastly, remind them they are incredibly strong, and that you will hold their hand till they find a way out of it.
Remember: When depressed, thoughts can’t be controlled, the thoughts control the person. The only thing they want is people to understand. Be that person.