Depression & The People That Love You


 

Depression & The People That Love You

Depression is real and it is not something to joke about.

You can’t turn it off just because you want to or because someone insists you have nothing to be depressed about.

Depression never goes away BUT with the help of therapy, friends and family it IS something you learn to live and deal with.

Many people suffer from depression but refuse to acknowledge it for multiple reasons.

  • They are scared of what people might think.
  • They are ashamed that they don’t have better control over their emotions.
  • They don’t trust someone enough to talk about their inner most feelings.
  • They don’t feel they have enough spare time in a day to really pay attention to their mental health.
  • They are in complete denial about what is happening to themselves.

Having the blahs and feeling down about yourself or your situation is not depression.

Depression is when feelings of sadness drown out everything else around you. You can barely work, sleep, or function anymore, if at all. You don’t just feel sad, you feel worthless, like life for everyone around you would be better if you just didn’t exist.

If you think you might be suffering from depression but aren’t sure check out Mental Health America’s Depression Screening questionnaire.

If you know you are suffering from depression and are not ready to seek help from a therapist or counselor here are some things you can try until you are ready (This helpful list can be found on PsychCentral.com).

  • Give yourself realistic goals that you can achieve every day and then reward/acknowledge yourself each time you reach one. Don’t underestimate the positive affect achieving a goal (of any size) will have on you.
  • If your daily life seems too much right now, break your daily responsibilities into smaller tasks and prioritize them from most important to least important. That way, if you can’t finish everything you needed to do that day you at least took care of the most important things.
  • Try to be social. I know it’s the last thing you’ll want to do but it goes a long way in keeping your depression from swallowing you hole. Just texting someone, chatting on a forum or even playing a video game that allows you to connect with other people online can be a form of socializing.
  • Think back to before you suffered with depression. What sort of activities did you enjoy doing? Try doing those now and see if it helps to lift the fog of depression even just a little bit.
  • Get some exercise. You don’t have to go to the gym or do a workout routine at home if you don’t want to. Exercise can consist of anything that keeps your body moving like walking, swimming, dancing or even cleaning.
  • Don’t expect miracles. If you are actively working on keeping your depression at bay, don’t expect to feel better right away. It will come little by little.
  •  DO NOT MAKE IMPORTANT LIFE ALTERING DECISIONS. While in the throws of a deep depression you aren’t thinking clearly. You might think you are, but you aren’t. If you need to make an important life altering decision, confide in someone first. Let them know what is going on with you and also what it is you need to decide. Tell them what you think you should do and ask their opinion.
  • On that note, if you still aren’t ready to talk to a therapist or counselor about your depression find a friend or loved to confide in. Talking about the things that are weighing you down will help ease the burden a bit.

If you don’t have friends and family who you think will be understanding and supportive you can connect with people online in support forums like:

PsychCentral.com Online Support Community

The Depression Forums

If you are ready for more one on one help but aren’t ready to see someone face to face or don’t have the free time to schedule and then attend a therapy appointment don’t worry. There are online options you can check out, like:

Crisis Text Line – Text their trained crisis counselors about anything that’s on your mind. Its free, 24/7 and confidential.

7 Cups of Tea – A free, anonymous and confidential online text chat with trained listeners, online therapists and counselors. Here is a link to their Free App for Android & iTunes

TalkSpace – A website that offers online therapy with access to over 300 licensed therapists. It isn’t free but the assessment used to match you to the right therapist is. If you choose to use them you have options on how to pay (I don’t know how much they cost or what those options are) and once that is figured out you will have access to your therapist whenever you need him or her. You can talk to them through the computer, cell phone or tablet. No appointments needed and no limit to how many times you need their help. Here is a link to their Free App for Android & iTunes

Even though you have options nothing beats being face to face with a trained and certified therapist or counselor. If you are ready to find one do the following:

  • If you have medical insurance, first call your insurance provider to see if they cover therapy. If they do, ask them for a list of therapists near you. Some insurances require a referral from your primary care doctor in order for them to cover some or all of the costs. Check to see if your insurance has that requirement before picking a therapist.
  • If you don’t have insurance or your insurance does not cover therapy you can look on PsychCentral’s Find Help page for facilities near you.
  • If you can’t afford traditional therapy but you still need one on one counseling contact your local churches or community center and ask them to point you in the right direction.

What do you do if you aren’t depressed but you know and love someone who is?

  • Help them get diagnosed and treated for depression.
    • If they need convincing help them see why they need to seek treatment.
    • Accompany them to their appointment for moral support.
    • Check to see if they are keeping up with their medicine.
    • Encourage them to stick with their treatment or seek a new kind of treatment if it isn’t working.
  • Be There. Offer emotional support.
    • Ask them how their day was or how they are feeling.
    • Really listen and try not to interrupt with advice or comments.
    • Let them know that no matter how bad they feel you will always be there for them and that you love them.
    • Help them see that depression is hard to live with but that you will always be there to help them through it no matter what.
  • Help the person be active.
    • When a person is depressed the idea of interacting with people and the world in general is hard. Come up with things your loved one likes to do and convince them to come with you.
      • Going out to eat
      • Checking out Museums/historical sites
      • Going to the movies
      • Doing an outdoor activity
    • If you are unable to convince them to go out or to do something active don’t berate them or make them feel bad. Just let them know you understand, you’re not mad and that you will try again another day.
  • Try small gestures like:
    • Sending them a card with a personal message
    • Sending them a text that is either funny or touching
    • Cooking them their favorite meal or have it delivered
    • Leaving a caring voicemail for them to play back when they need to hear words of encouragement
  • Don’t judge or criticize.
    • You are going to loose your patience. You are going to get mad, frustrated and hurt. Loving someone who is suffering from depression is not easy. Just try to remember that yelling at them, getting frustrated or criticizing how they are handling their depression will do nothing but harm you both emotionally and potentially derail the entire treatment. One really bad day for someone who is depressed could potentially be the last day of their lives. Please remember that your words (whether you meant it or not) have a powerful impact.
  • Avoid saying:
    • “Don’t be so negative. Look at things as half full, not half empty”
    • “It’s all just in your head”
    • “Just get up and do something. You’re wasting your life away.”
  • Don’t ever attempt the tough-love approach.
    • By going this route you are just going to add shame to a person who already feels isolated and worthless. People don’t choose to be depressed. You can’t guilt someone out of it.
  • Avoid giving advice. Instead, try these helpful phrases:
    • “What can I do to help you feel better?” and if they don’t have the answer don’t get frustrated. Just accept that there isn’t anything you can do but be there for them.
  • Avoid making comparisons.
    • Even if you, yourself have suffered from depression try not to compare your experience to theirs. Everyone suffers with depression in their own way. What worked for you might not work for someone else.
  • Learn as much as you can about depression.
    • Knowing as much as you can about depression will help you be more understanding about what your loved one is going through.
  • Be patient.
    • When you are patient you are letting them know that it doesn’t matter how long this is going to take, or how involved the treatments are going to be, or the difficulties that accompany the passage from symptom onset to recovery, because you will be there.
    • Know that even though your loved one might smile, laugh, or seem to have a good day that doesn’t mean they are cured.
    • Depression ebbs and flows but it will always be there in the background.

Just as people who suffer from depression benefit from counseling and support so do the people who love and live with them.

Depression doesn’t affect just one person. It also affects everyone that person loves. It’s hard seeing someone you care for suffer whether physically or emotionally and it’s even harder to not take their bad moods and negative thoughts personally.

There is help for us loved ones as well. Check out:

Looking for ways to manage your depression on the go? Try the following apps:

MoodTools – Depression Aid Free for Android & iTunes

Depression CBT Self-Help Guide Free for Android

The CBT App Free for iTunes

What’s Up? Free for Android

Pacifica Free for iTunes

Diary –  Mood Tracker Free for Android

Moodtrack Diary Free for iTunes

*Disclaimer* I am not a doctor or a licensed therapist or certified counselor. I am, however, the daughter of a mother and the wife of man who has suffered from depression for most of their lives. Every suggestion I have listed has come from the heart. My hope is that this article will help those not yet getting treatment to seek help and for their loved ones to never give up on them.

Whether you are a suffer of depression or love someone who is, you are not alone. There is help and support for you.

depression is an illness by Darla Denton

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  • Do you suffer from depression? If so, do you have any advice or comments youLet's Chat Graphic would like to share?
  • Do you love someone who is suffering from depression? If so, do you have any advice or comments you would like to share?
  • Do you know of any other organizations, groups, forums, apps, etc… that exists for depression?

 

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About Darla G. Denton, Writer

I am a Contemporary Romance Writer for Curvy women and the men who love them.
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2 Responses to Depression & The People That Love You

  1. Justine says:

    Great post, Darla. As someone who suffers from depression, it’s important to know it can manifest in other ways…for myself and my dad, we get angry. VERY angry. VERY short-tempered. I think because life feels so overwhelming. I’ve done therapy lots (very helpful) and started meds a few years ago and it’s made all the difference. I’m lucky that my husband is a licensed therapist and the leader of a behavioral healthcare company…he recognized the signs before I did.

    Depression can also be nasty after having kids (2 bouts of PPD for me). But as you say, there is hope.

    Some other resources to consider are NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), which is a great resource for families and for living with depression, in particular because they have lots of local chapters around the country. http://www.nami.org. Also consider the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) — suicidepreventionlifeline.org or 800-273-TALK. There are a ton of resources on their website, both for people who are in crisis/close to crisis and for those who wish to help those in crisis.

    The last little bit of advice I’d give is if you are a friend or family member and are fearful someone is in danger of hurting themselves or others, PLEASE call 800-273-TALK. The calls are routed locally, so you’ll be put in touch with local resources to help you/your friends/family. You can also call 911.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wonderful advice and recommendations Justine. My husband also gets very angry and short tempered when he slips into a deep depression. A combo of therapy, meds and calming techniques help. It took us a few hard years though to find what works for him and what doesn’t. Thank you for sharing you experience. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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