Depression is a complex mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. 59.8% of youth with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment. It is crucial to understand depression, especially if you have a family member suffering from it, so you can gauge its severity, provide support, and seek help if and when required.
Understanding how to deal with someone fighting depression is extremely crucial for people present around them to support them on their challenging journey. In the end, it is not only them who suffer from depression; the caregiver also suffers significantly. At these crossroads, it calls for extra tenderness, love, and endurance.
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What is depression?
Ever feel like the world is crashing down on you? The walls are closing in on you. The endless wrath of nothingness strikes with the clock at 12 every night. The pain and endless suffering that keeps adding on with every breath?
This might be what people who are/have been through depression would explain it as, Clinically speaking, Depression is a mental health disorder, often influencing mood disorders characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in activities.
How do I recognize depression?
Depression may or may not have visible symptoms. People suffering from depression often hide behind their smiles and mask their struggles. Symptoms of depression include:
- Influence on Mood: anxiety, apathy, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or sadness
- Disturbed sleeping patterns: early awakening, excess sleepiness, insomnia, or restless sleep
- Physical symptoms: excessive hunger, fatigue, loss of appetite, or restlessness
- Behavioral symptoms: agitation, excessive crying, irritability, or social isolation
- Cognitive symptoms: lack of concentration, slowness in activity, or thoughts of suicide
- Physical changes: weight gain or weight loss
Are these symptoms the sole indicators of depression? No, for the majority of people, depression is a vague concept; the aforementioned symptoms are frequently dismissed as “overthinking.” People who are depressed may not even be aware of their symptoms, which necessitates immediate professional help for them.
Symptoms of depression manifest differently for different individuals, sometimes they don’t show at all. Being observant and empathetic is vital. Empathy is the cornerstone of supporting someone with depression. Try to understand their pain and validate their feelings without judgment.
Remember, depression is an illness, not a choice.
How do I provide support?
The first step to providing support is acknowledging and accepting the diagnosis. It is difficult to accept when a loved one is diagnosed with a mental illness as severe as depression. Remember, from now on, your support and love for them are going to make the biggest difference.
Here’s what you can start with:
As soon as you find out, lend a supportive shoulder, listen to them, and understand how they are taking in the information. It is extremely important that you listen.
Learn about the diagnosis, the symptoms, and the medicines. You might have to seek professional help for them, help them with their medicines, accompany them to appointments, and familiarize yourself with the process.
Make sure they understand the need for professional assistance and the fact that this condition is not their fault. It is normal to feel that way at times when they are unable to accept the diagnosis. But you need to help them understand and, at times, convince them to seek help.
Help them with their daily tasks and errands by providing practical assistance. Allow them to exercise their freedom and assist with tasks, it is important for them to feel valued.
Create a space where open communication is encouraged. Allow them to speak and express themselves, even if their words do not make complete sentences. Be present with them and listen to what they have to say.
Resist the urge to offer quick fixes or solutions. People with depression often need a listener more than a “fixer”. Use affirmative sentences like these:
Recovery can be a long process; practice patience and understanding.
Seek support for yourself when needed; your mental well-being is just as important. It’s okay to get exhausted at times; take essential breaks.
Learn to recognize signs of a crisis and understand how to handle these situations. Talk to a therapist.
Always have your local helpline number on speed dial and in visible places in your house and at your loved one’s house.
Supporting a loved one with depression can be emotionally challenging, but it’s also incredibly meaningful. By understanding depression, offering your unwavering support, and encouraging professional help when necessary, you can be a source of strength and comfort for your loved one on their journey to recovery.
Remember that your empathy and care make a significant difference in their lives, offering hope and the assurance that they are not alone in their struggle.
How do I seek help?
Times can be tough; it can be taxing to try to support someone, and you might need support. Being a caregiver can make you feel trapped and like you need help; taking care of yourself is not being selfish. Speak out and seek help.
Connecting with a professional and getting help has gotten much simpler thanks to technological advancements and expanding market opportunities. You can get in touch with us if you need expert help or if a friend or loved one is going through a difficult time and needs your support. Our Life Coaches, therapists, and psychiatrists are committed to assisting you in embracing positive change.
We leverage technology to our advantage to give you access to best-in-class resources like our global Virtual Wellness Coach, STELLA. She is the world’s most advanced, interactive, and generative AI persona.
- STELLA can speak and understand 29 languages
- Comprehend 40 human emotions
- Provide diagnosis with 85% accuracy
With her ability to listen to you, offer suggestions, assist you in managing your emotions, and help you select the best professionals to assist you, Stella can offer you unmatched support. The best part? You can experience STELLA at no cost.
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Attempting to handle everything at once can be demanding and difficult. For someone with a mental illness, communicating their feelings and struggles can be very challenging. However, it makes a significant difference to have a caring caregiver who is understanding of their difficulties and who enables them to recover and blossom.
The caregiver may occasionally feel the strain, but let us face it, We all require support, so there is no excuse for refusing to ask for help because of social stigma. Keep in mind that you are not traveling alone. We want to give you the tools you need to achieve wellness in every area of your life.
Connect with us to get started on the path to a better future!