Tag Archives: Depression

Helping Someone Who is Depressed

Some things to keep in mind if you know someone who is suffering from depression:

  1. First of all, this isn’t a case of the blues.  It isn’t a passing mood.  Clinical depression does have its ups and downs, but the person suffering won’t just “get over it.”
  2. Second of all, the person may push you away.  People who are depressed tend, involuntarily, to isolate themselves.  They tend to think that they are affecting people around them and to avoid that, they push people away.  Don’t take it personally and don’t let it affect your relationship!
  3. Third, this is a disease.

Now then, to help someone who is depressed, you may actually have to drag them kicking and screaming (NOT literally!) out of the house.  Reach out to them, get them out of the environment that they are trying to hide in.  This may not be what they think they want, but it is very, very good to get them out, away from the environment for a while.  Many people who are depressed tend to retreat from the world and isolate themselves.  Help them fight this tendency.   Go for a walk, go to dinner, go shopping, go to a park.  If they complain, be persistant but not unkind – recognize if they truly aren’t ready but keep coming back.

When you are helping someone who is depressed, it is VERY important to remember to take care of yourself as well.  Take time to do things you enjoy, to spend time with people who are NOT depressed, to do things unrelated to depression or the depressed person.  Get your rest.

Be there for the person.  If they just need an ear, listen to them and let them pour it out.  Avoid giving advice – just be supportive.  If  you’ve done some research about depression, share what you’ve learned and emphasize it is not their fault.

Try to remain upbeat and positive and be patient.

Spend some time together around animals: puppies, kittens, at the zoo, whatever.  Animals can help reach someone who is isolating themselves.

Know the warning signs of suicide – and DON’T be afraid to ask if they are considering it.  Do NOT ignore talk of suicide; take them to the emergency room or to a doctor immediately.

Ask what you can do to help.  Perhaps you can help get the kids to school, clean the house, cut the grass.  Does the car need to be inspected?

One other thing to remember:  don’t do too much for the person.  I know that sounds silly but people do also want to help themselves.  Don’t overdo the care!

Sources of Information

If You Know Someone Who’s Depressed

Depression.com – Help Someone You Love

Depression

WebMD: Supporting Someone Who Has Depression

About.com: Relationships and Depression

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How to Recognize Depression

Depression can be a major problem at this time of year.  Holidays can be a huge source of stress and pain for some people, resulting in depression.  Sometimes depression isn’t obvious, either to the depressed person or to the people around them.  Two major things to look for include are:

  • Loss of interest in normal daily activities
  • Periods of feeling down, hopelessness, and sadness, or crying more than normal

Mind you, you or the person you think is depressed may or may not exhibit both of those things (or variations of them).  For example, I realized that I was apathetic about daily things, former favorite activities (like hobbies), and I felt hopeless at times, but I rarely cried and I rarely felt what I would call sad.

Other symtoms of depression include the following:

  • Sleep problems, including either sleeping too much or not enough
  • Eating changes: either eating more than necessary or not eating normally
  • Impaired concentration: lack of focus, inability to concentrate or difficulty making decisions
  •  Less interest in sex
  • Difficulty remembering things
  • Agitation:  you may be easily annoyed, irritable, and/or restless
  • Fatigue:  your body movements may slow down.  You may feel weariness and lack of energy daily.
  • Depression can also result in gastrointestinal problems (constipation, diarrhea,  indigestion), headache, and backache.  Many people suffering from depression also exhibit signs of anxiety.
  • Male depression can result in different symptoms.  For example, men rarely cry as often as women.  Other symptoms of male depression:
    • Violence
    • Anger and frustration
    • Losing weight without trying
    • More risk taking
    • Alcohol or substance abuse
    • Isolation from family and friends

Sources of information:

Mayo Clinic

 NIMH

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