Often when speaking with someone who suffers depression they comment that those they love ‘just don’t understand’. The sufferer struggles then with feeling as if they have failed the people that they love and therefore they metaphorically beat themselves up about it and sink further into the depressive state.
I guess when you are on the outside looking in, you have no comprehension of why the person you love is feeling the way they do. After all, they have every reason to be happy – so why aren’t they?I wish there were an easy answer to that. However there isn’t.
Well meaning words such as ‘snap out of it’ or ‘it’s not as bad as you think’ don’t really carry much weight apart from making the depressed person feel worse. Please don’t tell them to ‘snap out of it’ because if they could, they would and they are feeling bad enough without feeling like a failure for not being able to snap out of their depressive state.
I know how it feels to be on the outside looking in.
You want to help the person you love.
You want to fix them.
But the only person who can ‘fix’ the mind of a person who is depressed is themselves.
Sure, medication (if it’s the right one) can help but it’s not the solution.Therapy can help but once again, it is not the solution.
Depression can only be beaten when the person who is depressed manages to control their own thoughts and feelings.
And this is not always easy.
It’s not easy to watch either.
They may shut you out.
Please don’t take offense at this as they don’t mean to hurt you. They just believe that you don’t need to know them when they are not at their best.
They may harbour thoughts of ending their lives because they cannot see how their presence has any positive effect on anyone. They might actually feel that everyone would be better off without them. That’s not the real them talking though. That’s the ‘depression goggles’ they are wearing doing the talking.
These goggles distort their view of the world and make it seem much bleaker than it really is.
Remind your loved one that you love them. Tell them that your life is richer for knowing and loving them.
It might not sink in right away but in time it will.
When someone you love is depressed, they see a world stripped of joy.
They need to learn that joy is still there and it is theirs if they want it.
Encourage them to seek help.
Encourage them to talk.
Don’t offer them advice (unless you have been there yourself and know what they are going through and then only if they are open to it).
Listen without judgement. Sometimes what they say may be wildly distorted but it is their reality right now.
Encourage them to eat well.
Encourage them to sit outside in the sunshine.
Encourage them to come for a short walk – even if it just to the end of the driveway and back.
Let them know that you are always there for them.
Reassure them that they aren’t doing this on their own.
Because that is all you can do.
When someone you love has depression, your heart aches. You want to put your arms around them and make it all go away for them.
It hurts you to see them suffer each day.
You may find that you tread on eggshells.
But know that deep down that person loves you.
Really loves you.
When someone you love has depression you may need to educate yourself on what depression actually is. It may require a whole new way of thinking in order to understand the person you love. But you will do it because you love that person and you want to see them whole and well again.
The image in your mind of your loved one as they were will keep you going.
When someone you love has depression, you need to be able to talk as well. Find someone you can trust. Or write in your journal.
When someone you love has depression all you can do is be there.
And you can’t be there for them if you are having difficulty in dealing with what you feel yourself.
When someone you love has depression you begin a whole new journey.