Right now, the importance of good mental health is more obvious than ever before. For decades, there has been a stigma associated with mental health that we are finally breaking free of. Mental health is not a taboo subject, it will affect us all in one way or another. It is important that we educate ourselves as best we can on this very subject.
It is estimated that 1 in 4 people will suffer with a mental health issue at some point in their lives. Depression is certainly up there as being one of the most harmful.
Depression can affect us all, for a whole host of reasons, and if it isn’t addressed it can make life unbearable.
Caring for and supporting a loved one with depression can be hard, but with your help, their battle against depression will be that little bit easier.
Here are 9 useful tips for caring for somebody with depression.
1. Don’t try to dish out tough love
One common misconception when it comes to caring for somebody with depression, is that sometimes a little ‘tough love’ is necessary when in reality it isn’t.
People often believe that being stern with people dealing with depression will help them to “snap out of it” and that it will inspire positive changes in them. In reality it will likely have the opposite effect.
Suffering from depression is bad enough at the best of times, but having somebody that you care about being harsh with you and deliberately being rough on you will only make matters worse.
Avoid giving ultimatums and using negative language and expressions I.E ‘fine be miserable’ or ‘okay, deal with your problems by yourself’ as this will again only make matters worse.
You wouldn’t yell at somebody with a chronic disease or who had suffered a heart attack, so don’t do it to somebody dealing with depression.
2. Keep an open mind and be understanding
Depression can affect us all, at any time, for no obvious reasons in some instances. If you’re caring for somebody with depression, it’s vital that you keep an open mind and be understanding.
Whatever is causing them to feel depressed should be acknowledged by you and respected by you, regardless of how “minor” it might feel to you. Remember, everybody is different and we all deal with and handle things in different ways. Just because it likely wouldn’t affect you in that manner does not mean that the same applies to them.
If they are willing to open up about what is causing them to feel depressed, respect this, accept that it is causing them to feel that way, and be understanding.
3. Allow them to feel the way they feel
Again, this could perhaps be tied into the tough love category, but as it is so important we’ve included it here as well.
When supporting somebody with depression, it’s important that you allow them to feel depressed and to feel the way that they feel.
Don’t say things such as ‘you need to be stronger’ and ‘don’t let it get to you’ because that type of language is beyond pointless. Telling people not to let things negatively affect them is like telling people not to feel upset if a loved one passes away. The simple fact of the matter is that we don’t choose to let things negatively impact us, they just do.
4. Be a good listener
They say that a problem shared is a problem halved and if you want to help somebody near and dear to you deal with their depression, one of the best things you can do is listen.
Getting somebody dealing with depression to open up can be difficult, but it can be done. If/when they do, make sure you listen to what they have to say and take it on board.
Ideally you should be what is known as an active listener. This means that you can listen to a person’s struggles, take on board what they’re saying, talk about it with them and offer constructive advice and potential solutions.
This is important because it shows that you truly care and that you value their feelings. Plus it helps to build trust which will help them to become more open with you.
5. Educate yourself
If you’ve been fortunate enough to have never suffered with depression before, think yourself lucky because it is truly awful.
Supporting somebody with depression can be equally as difficult, which is why it is important to educate yourself and learn as much about depression as possible.
Depression is a complex mental illness that affects everybody differently. When dealing with it and supporting others affected by it, it’s important to learn the facts so that you know what you’re dealing with.
There are a lot of common misconceptions associated with depression. It isn’t just a condition which miraculously goes away when the person affected happens to have a good day or goes through a period of feeling relaxed and happy.
Depression is a condition that can linger in the background for days, weeks, months, or even years and it is something which can be very hard to diagnose.
The more we understand about the condition, though, the better equipped we will be to help.
6. Always be patient
We aren’t going to sit here today and try to pretend that supporting somebody with depression is easy because it isn’t. It isn’t easy for you, and it certainly isn’t easy for them.
Supporting somebody that you care about with depression can be very frustrating. You need to remember that it isn’t about you, it’s about them. As a result you need to make sure you are patient.
If they have a bad day or a bad episode, don’t grow frustrated and take it out on them because that will likely make them feel even worse. It will make them feel guilty, which will only add to their depression.
Rather than growing frustrated, tell them to take their time, ask if there is anything you can do to help, and offer your help. Even if it’s something as simple as offering them a warm drink, or preparing a meal for them, the gesture will work wonders and will help lift their spirits and set them at ease somewhat.
7. Try to make an effort
Sometimes, when dealing with depression, it is the small gestures that mean the most.
Oftentimes, when a person suffers with depression, they find themselves lacking energy and motivation to do even the seemingly most basic of tasks. To a person fortunate enough not to suffer with depression, taking a shower and getting dressed is nothing. To a person crippled with depression, it can feel like an enormous battle.
Sometimes when people are affected by depression, even though they won’t suggest doing things, deep down they long to and sometimes it might be worth you facilitating these things instead.
If somebody affected by depression suggests going for a walk, unless you are adamant that you can’t, going the extra mile and making an effort to accommodate their wants and needs can really make a huge difference.
8. Share your thoughts and feelings with them
Again, living with and supporting somebody with depression can be tough. Sometimes it can be beneficial for both parties, if you share your thoughts and feelings with them.
The thing to remember here is not to make them feel guilty or make them feel like a burden. Instead, use positive reinforcement and what are known as ‘I’ statements. For example, talk about what you are feeling and talk about what you personally think may help.
If you open up to them, you’ll help them to feel motivated and it will help to build trust and help them to feel comfortable around you.
9. Consider suggesting Kratom
Kratom is a natural plant-based ingredient that is derived from a tree that grows naturally in Asia. For centuries, the leaves of Kratom trees have been used for incense, and are renowned for their ability to improve a person’s mood.
Kratom contains an active ingredient known as Mitragynine, has the ability to bind to opioid receptors located in the brain that can cause feelings of happiness, relaxation, and euphoria.
As a result of this, Kratom is now recognized as aromatherapy for mental health issues such as depression. Kratom can lift your mood, promote sleep, promote relaxation, ease anxiety symptoms, and even alleviate chronic pain and discomfort.
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