Depression. It’s a growing epidemic of our generation and, yet, one that we still ignore by thinking “yeh toh bas drama kar rahi/raha hai” and ” humaray zamanay main toh koi itna masla nahi hota tha.” This kind of attitude and mentality towards clinically depressed people contributes to the deterioration of the mental health of our society. To combat this issue, here are 15 actually helpful things you can do for a clinically depressed person.
1. Understand that being sad or feeling down is NOT the same thing as being clinically depressed
More often than not, when someone confides in us that they are depressed, we respond by saying “oh don’t worry, I have been there.” Feeling sad sometimes or being upset about something is NOT the same thing as depression. By saying that it is, you are dismissing the person’s feelings.
Rather you should say: ” You’re not alone in this. I am here for you.”
2. Know that getting professional help is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!
Whenever we have a physical ailment, we are quick to go to a doctor to have it checked out; so why not the same thing when it’s a mental ailment? A lot of the time, depression is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain and, so, in order to treat it, it’s important to see a mental health professional.
They may not necessarily prescribe medication, but it’s important that you take your loved one to them so that the doctor can make the determination about the best course of treatment.
3. Be supportive by being an active part of their healing process.
Show them that you care by driving them to their appointments and holding their hands during the tough days. People who are clinically depressed often do not like to partake in social activities. Hang out with them at home. Watch a movie or even just chill but BE THERE!
4. Help them realize what they are feeling is real.
Depression is a REAL feeling caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. THEY ARE NOT IMAGINING IT.
5. Offer them help with daily chores
Depressed people feel fatigued both mentally and physically. Due to this, they do not like doing any kind of work. Offer to help them with daily activities such as buying groceries, but be sure to assure them that you do not feel any kind of burden.
6. Lend an ear.
Sometimes all we need to feel better is someone who will listen. It’s the same case with those who are depressed. Encouraging them to talk about their problems and then listening is a great healthy coping strategy.
7. Tell them they matter.
Depressed individuals often feel as if their life has no meaning and that they matter to no one. Make sure your loved one knows how much they matter to you by expressively telling them. Help them understand their value.
8. Assure them that they are not broken.
Help your loved one understand that depression is an ILLNESS. Having depression does not mean you are weak or broken.
9. Don’t compare their feelings to anyone else’s.
NEVER make the mistake of saying “someone out there has it worse than you do”. This is not consoling. Rather, it makes the other person feel extremely guilty for feeling something they don’t have any immediate control over.
Depression is not a switch you can turn off at will.
10. Tell them they don’t deserve this
Feelings of guilt that accompany depression are common. Tell your loved one that this isn’t their fault; that they’re a good person who’s not at fault.
11. Don’t tell them what to do but rather ask what they need.
Simply telling someone to stop feeling the way they are is plain stupidity. Don’t tell them to get over it but rather ask them what you can do for them.
12. Don’t try and tell them their life is awesome.
You may say it out of the goodness of your heart and to make them feel better, but saying “oh your life is so great, moo latka kay mat betho” only invalidates their feelings. Instead, tell them you understand that they are in a bad situation and that you support them.
13. Don’t ask why
There isn’t always a reason why one feels depressed. Yes, it is often triggered by a tragic or disturbing event, but those suffering are often unable to identify this. So asking why they’re feeling this way is a question for the mental health professionals.
14. Assure them that there is hope.
Depression can be helped. It can be made better through medication, therapy, and support.
15. Get help.
If you or anyone you know are having suicidal thoughts, talk to someone you trust. Your life is worth more than the pain you are going through right now and there is no shame in asking for help.
So remember, we all go through shit in our lives. But it helps to have a friend get us through that shit. Be that friend for someone else.
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Cover image via MD Productions