How to help someone struggling with depression. Supporting or taking care of someone who’s struggling with depression can be a challenge. Sometimes, we don’t know what to say, even though we really care about our significant other’s well-being. You may feel helpless and don’t know what to do. But don’t worry, that’s normal. That’s why we’re making this guide for you.
The more you learn about depression and how it affects people, the more you’ll know how to help.
Depression can cause a variety of symptoms. In this guide on how to help someone struggling with depression, we’ll tell you about all of them. Keep reading!
What are the symptoms of depression?
First of all, you should know that depression is a very prevalent mental health problem. However, that doesn't mean it's not serious. But how do you recognize that someone is struggling so you can help them? Here are some symptoms:
A hopeless outlook is the belief that things will never get better. This often occurs in people who struggle with mental illness, including depression. It is a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness. It can lead to depression and anxiety.
But how does it start? People with a hopeless outlook tend to believe they are a failure or not worthy of love and happiness. It’s a significant amount of pressure for them.
Hopeless outlook doesn’t come by itself. Many things can contribute to it:
- Trauma: Experiencing a traumatic event can increase the chances of having a hopeless outlook.
- Mental health conditions: Anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental illnesses can lead to a hopeless outlook.
- Loneliness: Feelings of isolation can lead to a hopeless outlook. This is because when we don’t have social support networks, we may feel like we don’t have anyone to turn to when things get complicated.
Loss of interest
Loss of interest is one of the first and most common symptoms of depression. Your significant other may, for no apparent reason, no longer want to do what they used to enjoy. Depression can take away people's pleasure or enjoyment of what they like.
When someone loses interest in what they used to enjoy, they may find it challenging to feel motivated and engaged in life. As a result, your significant other may feel bored, hopeless, or lethargic. It can also lead to social isolation, withdrawal, and reduced productivity.
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Increased fatigue and sleep problems
Part of the reason people with depression might stop doing several things is because their levels of fatigue and sleep problems may increase. This makes it very difficult for them to continue their daily life.
They may feel exhausted because depression can take a lot of energy out of them, as it is often accompanied by extreme tiredness and lack of energy. This is one of the most debilitating symptoms. It can also cause excessive sleepiness.
Depression is also linked to insomnia, which is the inability to fall or remain asleep during the night. These symptoms feed off each other. Lack of sleep may also lead to anxiety, another debilitating symptom of depression.
Depression and anxiety often occur together. Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, restlessness, worry, or unease. It can present itself as a normal and healthy emotion, but it becomes a problem when it’s excessive or uncontrollable.
Some of the symptoms of anxiety include:
- Sense of tension
- Rapid heart rate
- Feelings of danger, panic, or dread
- Increased or heavy sweating
- Trembling or muscle twitching
- Trouble focusing
If your friend, family member, or partner presents these symptoms, always advise them to seek help immediately.
Yes, this sounds tough. But it’s important to know about it. Depression is often connected to suicide, and not enough people talk about it. It’s important to do so in order to create awareness and more ways to help.
In 2020, nearly 45,000 people died from suicide in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Suicidal tendencies are feelings, thoughts, or behaviors that suggest someone may be considering suicide. These include:
- Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
- Giving away possessions or making arrangements for one’s affairs
- Withdrawing from social activities and relationships
How to help?
Even though it’s a very hard situation, there are many ways to help. Here are some:
Talk to them about how they are feeling. Let them know you are concerned and want to help them. Never try to make them feel bad about what they are going through. Let them know you are here to help them, not judge them.
Urge people to seek help
It’s common that people with depression don’t know or won’t admit that they’re depressed. Also, they might not even be aware of the symptoms, thinking they are normal. But it’s important that they know seeking professional help is vital to get better. Here’s what you can do to help:
- Talk to the person about what you’ve been seeing and why you’re worried about it.
- Explain and emphasize that depression is a health condition - not a weakness or a personal flaw. And it often gets better with the proper treatment.
- Suggest seeking help from a professional. You can start with a healthcare provider. Your friend or family member can also see a psychologist or a licensed counselor.
- Express your willingness to help. You can set up appointments or accompany them to the therapy sessions if you’re allowed to.
Don’t judge them
Mental illness is very stigmatized. Try your best to understand them and not make them feel bad about what they are going through.
As we mentioned above, always be supportive and offer your help as much as you can. It can also be challenging, and you may be struggling, too. This is why we've put together this guide on how you can help someone with depression.
Never criticize or stigmatize their feelings. Don’t compare them to the process of others or how others might be dealing with their illness.
In addition, here are some tips:
- It’s okay to not know what to say. Depression is a complex issue. Just being there for them helps.
- Don’t try to fix them. As we mentioned, depression is a complex issue with no easy fix.
- Don’t take it personally. Sometimes, they might be upset and don’t want to talk to anyone. Know you did nothing wrong, they’re just dealing with something extremely hard. Respect their space.
We hope this guide has been helpful for you. EGOPROOF.
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