Being with someone who suffers from depression is not the end of the world. It's absolutely normal. Still, you need to be there for that person and, if they are clinically depressed, that means that offering a shoulder to cry on is not enough.
This article will help you both face this situation step by step.
1) Recognize the symptoms.
Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience a few symptoms, some many. Severity of symptoms varies with individuals and also varies over time. Some of the most common symptoms is perpetual sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, pessimism and even emotions such as guilt and worthlessness. Everyday activities might prove depression too: insomnia or decreased energy, overeating or appetite loss. There are even persistent physical symptoms that are related to depression, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain.
2) Understand that depression is a serious condition.
Don’t underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a person’s energy, optimism, and motivation. Your depressed loved one can’t just “snap out of it” by sheer force of will. This describes what depression looks like.
3) Be ready.
I mean, ready for a whole range of moods. Depression can make each day a nightmare of variation. It may be that in the morning all is bleak and dark. A person may be so panic-stricken that even being alone for a few minutes seems to be impossible. This mood may last for hours. In such times be quietly and faithfully present.
4) Treatment is the key.
You both need to realize it. The sooner the better. Every medical condition requires medical care. Your support alone is good, but it might not be enough. If you keep this in mind, it can prevent you from losing patience or getting frustrated with them because your best efforts don't help.
5) Convince your partner to get treatment.
You can't treat a depressed person, but, if you love them enough, you can help them understand the fact that they need treatment. It's something you can and you must do. Don't give up. Don't forget to check out these 10 ways to fight depression.
Keep in mind that the depressed person isn’t communicating well right now, and is probably speaking slower and less clearly. Be patient and don’t interrupt.
7) Depressions is much more than sadness.
Naturally, it’s hard to be compassionate if someone is grumping at you. However, you need to realize that someone with depression is not living in the same universe as you. The laws that govern your universe do not exist in theirs. Imagine that depression looks lik a huge dog.
8) Don’t judge or criticize.
What you say can have a powerful impact on your loved one. Remember that they haven't chosen to be depressed, it's not their fault and it's NOT how they want to feel. That's for sure. In addition, you should never minimize the pain they feel. It invalidates what they’re experiencing and completely glosses over the fact that they’re struggling with a difficult disorder – not some weakness or personality flaw.
9) Recognize the signs of suicide.
Depressed people do sometimes commit suicide when the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness become too much to bear. If you friend talks about suicide, take it seriously. Don't assume they won't act out on their thoughts, especially where there is evidence that they have a plan. Be on the lookout for the warning signs and keep in mind that your loved one will probably need hospitalization.
10) Show your love.
Don't forget that showing love is really important in a relationship. Unfortunately you are the one who needs to show it more often, even if your partner's reaction isn't positive. Hard times can prove true love. Keep that in mind, because your love can really help a depressed soul.
11) Talk about it.
Let them know that you care about them and are available for support whenever they need it. Offer to drive them to treatment or, if they want to talk to you about how they're feeling, know what to listen for. They need to know that someone is truly there for them. You can also offer to spend time with them once or twice a week to exercise, grocery shop, or hang out together.
12) Don’t give up.
The depressed person may have to hear more than once and from several people that he or she deserves to feel better and can, with proper treatment. Be patient and be there for them.
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