I’m a depressed person. That entitles me, I think, to talk about how you can help other depressed people. First of all, it is important to understand that of course not all depressives are the same. What helps me can be terrible for another person and vice versa. Nevertheless, I would like to try to show you some options for action, to make it easier for you to deal with your depressed relatives, friends* or partners*.
Dealing with depressed people can be a real challenge. Especially in relationships you often feel helpless, you want to help somehow and be there for the person concerned, but of course you’re still afraid to make things worse with wrong behaviour. Often a wrong gesture or even the wrong emphasis of a word is enough to trigger depressives.
It goes without saying that this can quickly be overtaxing for everyone involved. In addition, it is not very helpful that depressed people often feel guilty about their depression and therefore rarely admit whether they need help or not. But don’t let this discourage you, keep offering activities or your help. The following nine tips are meant to be a kind of guide, but of course do not offer a panacea for depression.
Take care of yourself
You can only be there for other people if you’re doing well yourself, otherwise you quickly get lost in a maelstrom of depression and just pull each other down. Give yourself a break and time for yourself, define your limits and make sure that they are not exceeded. Sure, you want to help 24/7, but you can’t, because even the biggest energy reserves will be used up sometime. So allow yourself time to recharge your batteries and communicate clearly when you don’t want something.
Depressive people often don’t handle rejection so well because it encourages them to think that they are worth nothing. So be careful to communicate in time and
Communication is the key to success
Listen, without judging
Maybe depressives want to talk about their problems, maybe not. It may sometimes suddenly bubble out of them when you’re watching a movie or shopping, and you may have to listen to the same story 15 times. But please don’t judge, listen and support.
Pay attention to your choice of words, because well-intentioned advice, like laugh, everything is half as wild, don’t act like that or I can’t hear it any more are anything but helpful. Depressives often have the feeling to be annoying for all people and these comments play right there.
Advice may seem useful at that moment, but is rarely really feasible, since depressives are often paralyzed by their illness and well-intentioned advice only show them what they can’t do. It’s enough if you just listen, really. If they want to hear advice, they ask you for it.
Don’t say, “Let me know if you need anything.”
Well-intentioned, but unfortunately also just missed. Because this sentence is so wide-ranging and demands so much personal initiative from a depressed person, who simply can’t afford to take a shower or have breakfast when she just got out of bed.
It is more likely that she will become a world champion in tap dancing or invent a miracle cure for bad weather. Instead, whenever it is possible and you feel ready for it, you can independently seek contact and proactively offer help, time or your ear. Examples such as “Have you eaten today?”, an invitation for a walk or a helping hand in cleaning can be returned directly and be worth gold.
Even if you don’t hear from them, it is very likely that they miss you like crazy. They just don’t dare to contact you because they don’t want to be annoying or annoying or they tell you that you don’t love them anyway. What sounds almost absurd for a healthy person is unfortunately often everyday life for depressives.
Sometimes you have to jump over your shadow because you are also crazy that they haven’t contacted you in such a long time. The difference between you and a depressed person, however, is that you can jump over your shadow while depressives are trapped in an eternal whirlpool of gloomy thoughts.