Do you have a friend or family member that suffers from depression or perhaps bipolar disorder? Not only is this very upsetting to the depressed person, but it can cause much frustration in those among their family and friends. Some hold back from trying to help such a person for fear that they will make them worse. What are some things that you can do to be a support to a depressed person?
The first step is to reassure your love for the person. They may feel like their illness makes them unlovable. Make sure to distinguish clearly in your own mind the difference between the illness and the person. This often takes a lot of patience and love. For example, at times, a bipolar person may not like being around other people, but don’t take this personally. Keep being their friend.
Another step to supporting a depressed person is to do research about their particular condition. This can give you and them special insight into the way they think and act. This can help you see to what extent their illness is affecting them. This will also help you treasure the person behind the illness. You might even consider accompanying your friend or family member to the doctor so that they feel like they are not alone.
Good communication is essential when dealing with a depressed person. Misunderstandings can easily arise on either side. Being constantly kind and forgiving will reassure the person that you are there for them and understand what they are going through. You will also want to avoid making the person feel that they are responsible for their own suffering and that if they only exercised enough willpower, they could get better.
Try to be empathetic. This means putting yourself in the sufferers place and think of how you would feel or want to be treated. Try to see things from their point of view. Do not expect too much from them. When a depressed person feels accepted for who they are, they can gradually gain confidence. They thrive under a non-judgemental atmosphere.
Make yourself available. Another big help to a depressed person is to assure them that you are there for when they need a listening ear. Of course for them to trust this, you must follow through on your promises. If they sense you are too busy, they likely will not try to unburden themselves any further. Many depressed persons are comforted by the thought that they have an empathetic friend who is only a phone call away.
Be careful about what you say to a depressed person. Try to speak positively, but don’t overdo it. Sometimes being too cheerful can give the depressed person the impression that you really just don’t get how they feel. Instead, find something that you can commend the person for. Perhaps it is the way they care for their husband, wife, children, parents, or home. By offering sympathetic words and kind constant help, you can help a depressed person carry their heavy burdens.