So everyone talks about how they got through their depression, but no one is talking about how you can help someone else with their depression. Ever since I got over my social anxiety (learn how I got over my social anxiety) I have been talked with ample amounts of new people EVERY SINGLE DAY!!! You could blame that on my job, but even the smallest interaction has made me realize the amount of people who are actually unhappy with life. Having dated someone who was depressed, having friends that were/are depressed, and having been depressed for years in my past, I felt the need to discuss how to help someone who is depressed. Helping a friend or partner through their depression may be as hard as getting over the depression yourself, but after reading this article you will have a better understanding with how to help someone with their depression.
Depression Is Contagious
One thing to consider when being around a depressed friend or partner is that depression is contagious. Yes, i said contagious. When being around negative emotions, negative actions, and negative words, you will find yourself being filled with negativity. This is not to scare you away from that person, but rather to prepare you for how you will feel being around them. In order to help them, you will have to be strong beside them.
Bring Up The Issue(s) Sparingly
Bringing up what makes someone depressed is probably one of the hardest things to do in life. Much like my article Handling The Grief Of Loss, those who are depressed need to face their reality and keep from masking their emotions. Bring up the things that make them depressed rarely, but helping talk about their problems and helping them find closure is essential to their ability to overcome their depression. Find openings, help talk them through their problems, and know when to lighten the mood before focusing too much on the negatives.
Keep Them Smiling
The best cure for sorrow is happiness. Keep the person you are trying to help smiling. Jump around like a monkey, dance even though you don't know how, send them funny photos, or make funny faces when you see them. Smiling is the purest form of happiness. The more you keep them smiling the better.
Check On Them Often
A big misconception about depression is feeling as if the person wants to be left alone. For anyone who has been truly depressed, the main thing you feel during depression is lonliness. When we feel as if someone is depressed or upset we tend to "give them their space". Giving people space in your eyes is you not caring enough to check on them in theirs. What's worse than feeling sad about something in your life? Feeling as if no one cares about you and what you are going through. Even if the person does not answer right away, or answer at all, they will be better off knowing atleast someone cares about them.
Try To Keep Them In Public
It is easy for those who are depressed to want to become a hermit and stay in their room to sulk and try and escape the world. Try keeping your friend or partner in public and have them connected with the real world. The more they stay in their room and escape the world through television, books, video games, or others outlets, the more that person will just mask their situation. By keeping them in public, you are keeping them from resorting back to hiding from their life.
It's Their Battle To Fight
Last but not least, you must understand that it's not your war to win. It's their battles they must face everyday. By performing the actions explained above, you aid them in their recovery. Supporting them is the best thing (and really the only thing) you can do. Be by their side, but realize they must want, from the bottom of their heart, to overcome their own depression.
Overcoming depression has been talked about quite a bit all over the web, but not many people are talking about how to handle and help friends or partner's that are fighting depression. When it comes to helping those around you with depression you must:
1) Realize that depression is contagious and remember to stay strong by their side when the negativity seems to hit you as well.
2) Bring up their situation sparingly, but bring it up nevertheless. They need to talk about their depression, face their feelings, and work on overcoming their depression.
3) Whatever you do, just keep them smiling. Smiling and laughing are the purest forms of happiness and you should try to make them happy as much as possible. Depression is best fought with happiness.
4) Regardless if they reply to you or not, check on them often. Checking on someone often let's them know you care and that they will have someone to talk to when they are ready to discuss their depression.
5) Try to keep them in public so they do not stay confined in a room full of depression and regret. Help them stay connected with the world and help them stay connected to reality.
6) Lastly, you must realize it is their battle to fight and their war to win. You are there for support, but the struggle is their's to overcome.
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