Here are some tips for people who don’t know what depression feels like & some insight as to what they can do (or not do) to help their loved ones who are dealing with it.
- It’s Not About You
- Depression Manifest in Many Ways
- Be Understanding of What May Be Difficult for Them
- Be There How They Need You to Be
Probably the most frustrating thing about dealing with depression (other than dealing with depression) is having people think that somehow my mental illness is about them. If you are a friend/family member/significant other of someone who is dealing with depression, do not assume that they are depressed because of you, or that you don’t make them happy. People with depression can still feel happiness, along with any other emotion.
Generally when people think of “depression,” they think of someone being really sad and lethargic. However, that is only one very small aspect of depression, and it also doesn’t apply to everyone. “Depression” is kind of an umbrella term, and sometimes I wish we as a public heard more about all the different ways in which one can experience depression. For instance, I mentioned I have bipolar depression (the term “bipolar” is deeply misunderstood as well, but I won’t go into that).
Dealing with depression is hard. Very very hard. It often makes it difficult to do regular everyday things. So, what doesn’t seem like a big deal to you may be a huge deal to someone living with depression. For some people, the fact that they even made it through the day, even though they didn’t get out of bed, is an accomplishment.
Sometimes people just need someone to talk to, to cry to, to hug, to lay with, to watch tv with, to run an errand with, to laugh with. Sometimes they need someone not to be there physically, but to just be available; to have someone they can count on.
These are just some of the many things you can do to help your loved one. Try to talk to them to get a better understanding of what they’re dealing with and how you can help. Some people may not want to talk about it at first, because it is hard to talk about, so be patient and respectful.
If you or someone you love is living with depression, consider learning more about Segal’s clinical study opportunities. Fill out the prescreen form below or call (877) 734-2588 for more information.