7 ways to help someone with depression
It isn’t easy, but when someone you care about suffers from depression it is important to love them and support them. I was asked what I felt some of the best things people could do to help me, and whilst this is by no means a complete and exclusive list, these are perhaps the most important things I thought of.
Talk I might not want to always talk about how I’m feeling, or what’s going on inside my head, but I am always interested in you - tell me about your day and what’s happening. It won’t send me into a downward spiral if you tell me you're struggling with something, I want to help you just as you want to help me.
Be completely honest
Feeling safe, and being able to trust is incredibly important to me. My depression feeds my anxiety, which feeds my depression; feeling unsure if something is true sets me back, but feeling I can trust what I’m hearing gives stability.
See the good, and bad as a whole
You may be having a tough time not knowing how to help me; trust me though, I’m feeling the same if not worse. It’s easy to focus on the hard parts that are rotten, but remember to see the good parts and happy memories too so we can get through the hard patches together.
Recognise what is a big deal to me
Little things, even as simple as getting out of bed can be a huge achievement for me. You may not understand why, but it takes a lot of strength to get through some days, and at times things are just too much to face.
Pick up on what I do achieve, not just what I don’t
There will be times I don’t manage things, or take on too much. Sometimes a day in itself it enough without adding more pressure. Undoubtedly you’ll notice these things not happening. Please don't just focus on that, try to notice what I have managed. To me it’s taken a huge amount of effort and I’m chuffed - I want you to be too!
Don’t get angry with me for something I can’t do myself
Sometimes I need a bit of help or support, and that’s a scary thing for me to ask for. It may seem silly to you, but if I can’t do something myself please don't get angry, it scares me enough that I struggle. It isn’t easy to ask for help, but if I seem like I’m trying to, please just help.
Recognise that it is an illness
Mental health problems are illnesses. You would alter your expectations and understandings if it was a broken leg, and all I want is for you to use the same principle. You may not be able to see my illness, but it is there. I am only asking that you hold my hand, be there for me and support me
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