1/16/2015

When someone you know struggles with depression

This last year has been a doosey! I had a baby, my fourth boy and some pretty serious medical issues after having him that took a few months to recover from, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer and passed away. Any one of those things is difficult to deal with and would cause someone some amount of depression and I already struggle with depression on top dealing with that. I feel that I've found some things that others can do to help someone they know who is dealing with depression.


Depression. Its an interesting word isn't it? I mean it really makes anyone uncomfortable when some one says "I struggle with depression" or "I've been really depressed lately" and the first thing they usually say to try and lighten the mood is "I know just what mean!"  and go on about a time when they had a week or two of feeling sad. I'm sure what they are saying is a real feeling to them but to someone who is really struggling with major depression that can make them feel even more isolated since they haven't felt this way for a few days or a month. Most likely they have been struggling with depression for years and when someone says something that diminishes what they are going through it makes them feel even worse, because obviously they must be the only ones who feel the true meaning of depression, which is a very lonely and isolating place to be.

  
 Depression is a place that is not fun or happy or where anyone would willingly go and yet 1 in 10 adults struggle with it! Wikipedia says this about a person with a major depressive disorder "A person having a major depressive episode usually exhibits a very low mood, which pervades all aspects of life, and an inability to experience pleasure in activities that were formerly enjoyed." Its a feeling of complete apathy that you simply can't care or enjoy the things you desperately want too! No matter how hard you try you can't make yourself feel better or cure yourself or you would.

I've been there. I've struggled off and on with depression over the years and it is not a fun, good or friendly place to be. Everyone struggles with it differently. Anxiety is one of my first symptoms and it tends to just get worse. I get near suicidal when asked to speak in front of crowds or if I'm in a situation where there's too much pressure. I also have very little patience with my loved ones (ironically) and anger is my first defense in that state of mind. I have no drive to do anything that I used to enjoy and I wonder what life has to offer me when there is no escape from the darkness I feel.
Why am I sharing these personal things with you? Well Over the years I have tried many things to help myself, prescriptions, counseling, over the counter drugs, herbs, diet, self help books, increased religious efforts and even essential oils. Everything has helped a little for a short period but nothing has "cured" me. My purpose is to help those who know someone who is struggling with depression. 

The first thing to do is nothing. I know, I know that seems counterproductive but the last thing someone who is really struggling needs is someone getting in their space and showing them everything they should be doing; if they were capable of doing it they would.

The Second thing is to listen. Let them complain, talk about their dreams, their worries (which may be many) and anything they want to talk about. Don't judge or fix anything just listen. 

Talk to them. Chat with them about normal stuff that isn't to heavy or deep and without expectations. Sometimes just chatting with a friend about trivial things is helpful.

Invite them places or to do something. Note: I said invite them but please don't put pressure on them to come with you or do an activity; in other words an invitation without expectation. Inviting helps them to know you care and letting them know its ok if they don't feel like they can, is even better.

Visit them or drop something off.  A little visit can do wonders for someone who is struggling! If you don't have time for a full visit then drop something off like flowers, candy, a card, something homemade, a meal, anything to show you've been thinking of them and care.

Offer specific help. If they have small children offer a specific day and time to watch their kids, pet watching or walking, bring them dinner one night or lunch. Note: just offering help with no follow up is useless because likely they won't call if they needed it.

The last thing is to have patience. Being a committed friend or family member is going to require patience and realizing that this could last for months or longer. Be there for them but be patient; it is going to take time for them to feel better and truthfully they might always struggle to some extent so be mindful of that when they start to act different.

 Depression is a hard thing to watch someone go through. I hope that this list will help you help someone else!

 *WARNING* If you suspect someone is going to commit suicide or hurt themselves then take them immediately to the emergency room! I had someone I cared for who was getting suicidal so I said "we're going to the doctor" He wasn't too happy but I took him anyways. There I found out that he was worse than I realized. They said to just take him to the ER if it ever happened again because they are equipped for emergencies like that. It is always better to be safe than sorry.



I am not a doctor or a therapist so my advise is not to replace what a current caregiver is saying, its just my experience.

nap-timecreations, ladybug-blessings,

4 comments:

  1. I have had a mother who has suffered thru this my whole life and these are some great tips!

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  2. Thank you so much! I really hope it helps someone, help someone else, it can be so hard.

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  3. Anonymous1:52 PM

    I truly appreciate your thoughts on depression. My dad has suffered for YEARS with depression and as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I believe that a lot of people don't realize the seriousness of having depression and think that if you live the gospel that you will be fine. I don't think that is necessarily true. I find that I too am experiencing personally what I have seen my dad suffer with for years and I don't know where to turn or who to talk to. I try praying, reading my scriptures and force myself to be social. I want to be asked to do things and want to feel like any "normal"...whatever that is...person feels like. I just don't know where to go.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous, I am so sorry that you feel that way it is definitely a hard place to be! You are right when you say it is misunderstood in LDS culture but I think as more and more of us speak out about it, it will get better! Depression is a hard thing and while I think praying can help it will not cure it because it isn't a problem of spirituality or a lack of it.
      For years I have struggled with a mild depression and at one point it wasn't minor so I went to my doctor and even though I didn't want to at first I went on some medication and it helped, I also started some therapy and it was a tremendous help for me to deal with my depression!
      Please go to your doctor and discuss your feelings, thoughts and what what you are struggling with! If you don't feel like he is listening to you find another one! I also highly recommend a therapist not because there is anything wrong with you but because it helps to talk to someone who is a third person and get all your emotions out and often I have found they give me tools to help myself out of the deep hole that depression is.
      Feel free to email me if you want! seemesew84@gmail.com

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