Disclaimer: This article is aimed to provide education on depression. If you or someone you know is diagnosed with depression or show severe symptoms, please reach out to a mental health expert such as a psychologist or therapist.
Depression is a serious condition. Those who suffer from depression won’t always show symptoms. They may conceal their issues from the world, hoping to be as little of a burden as possible. However, hiding the problem may eventually worsen the depressive episodes, which is why it’s crucial for others to frequently check on those with depression and assure them that they are worthy and cared about. A compassionate listener — someone who is willing to understand the root of depression is key in helping those who suffer from the disorder. Here are a few things those with depression would highly appreciate.
1) Others starting the conversation
It’s important to reach out and check in on those with depression, even if they don’t have the energy to reply. They often choose to withdraw from social interactions in order to conserve the last bit of energy or to avoid troubling other people. By reaching out and starting the conversation, they are reminded that there are people who care about them and will be there for them throughout the healing process. Phrases like “I’m concerned about you lately,” or “Will you let me know what’s been on your mind?” will spark a conversation filled with empathy and openness.
2) Staying by their side
Perhaps they continue to withdraw from any verbal interactions, the thoughts in their mind stopping them from speaking aloud. Try to remain by their side, whether it’s sitting next to them during social situations or being available to call/text any time. Your presence may bring them a sense of comfort and safety, allowing them to heal and confront their intrusive thoughts by speaking to you whenever they need to.
3) To be reassured that they are loved no matter what
Unconditional love improves many relationships and is especially beneficial to those who suffer from mental illnesses. Being reassured that they are worthy and loved no matter what circumstance will help them develop positive self-esteem, which will eventually expedite the recovery process. Maintain a positive attitude around their presence; compliment and encourage them, acknowledging each minuscule improvement. Positive self-esteem acts like an emotional anchor that will guide them to better mindsets, regulate their medicinal use, use counseling effectively, and seek help whenever they need it.
4) Understand the root of the situation
Before judging their immediate reactions and behavior, remember to take into account what they have gone through. Learn about their background, the reason behind their depression. By acknowledging the cause behind their symptoms, you are prepared to make more appropriate judgments and better decisions on how to help. By educating yourself on depression in general, just like you are now, you are equipped with knowledge that will help others alleviate depressive symptoms. Those with depression will appreciate that you have taken measures to understand the context, rather than reacting based on their surface-level emotions.
5) Guide them through the storm in baby steps
There are plenty of resources to help those with depression, but the abundance of them can often be overwhelming. Those with mental illness may not know where to seek help, or who to talk to. If you can take the time to research therapists, psychologists, and other mental health experts for those with depression, your gesture will be appreciated in the long run. It’s already extremely difficult for them to cope with their own thoughts and emotions, let alone maintaining enough energy to seek out reliable aid. Let them know that you will help guide them through each obstacle and progress through recovery as slow as they feel comfortable.
These are a few things that those with depression would appreciate, even if they are afraid to verbally ask for them. Reach out frequently to those who need help and be by their side. Knowing that they have support is already a powerful head start in conquering the journey.
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