Practical Ways to Support Someone with Depression
When you support someone with depression it isn’t about ‘fixing them’, it’s about being supportive, listening and doing what you can to make life a little easier for them.
There’s a great disparity in the way people react when you tell them you are unwell with depression, compared to being unwell with something like a cold or a broken leg.
You might feel a bit lost, a bit useless, a bit like a spare peg but you’re none of those things. We promise.
There are practical things you can do to support someone with depression. We asked our community to provide some examples to help you feel as though you’re helping your loved one.
Stay in touch
When your mind is feeling unsafe, the rest of the world just amplifies that unsafe feeling. You may have invited your friend to various events to be turned down, time after time. Please don’t take this personally, it’s really not a reflection on how that person feels about you it’s about how they feel about themselves and the world at large.
Keep in contact regularly, to remind them you care and also to remind them how highly you think of them. When the voice in your head is on repeat, telling you how hopeless, helpless and horrible you are, your words make a difference to the voice in their head and how horrible they feel.
Offer to Help with Chores
The exhaustion that comes with depression is difficult to put into words. When you expend energy fighting the negative thoughts every single second of every single day (yup, they invade our dreams too), there’s little energy left for anything else.
When we’re well, we operate on autopilot a lot of the time. Things like having a shower, brushing our teeth and answering the telephone, are seemingly little they require little thought and little energy.
Those tasks for someone with depression can be insurmountable. It’s not laziness either, it’s a level of exhaustion that makes your body feel as though it’s made of lead.
Help them Prioritise Self Care
Self-care can feel icky at the best of times. It feels like a luxury and the very act of it is so at odds with how we feel about ourselves, that it often loses the battle of resistance.
If you can remove some of the physical barriers to self-care, that can help enormously.
Your Presence (and Listening Skills) are Valuable
Sometimes, depression can be the elephant in the room. You know it’s the reason things have changed. Your loved one is aware that it’s the reason things have changed. This is uncharted territory for the both of you. You want so badly to help that you might sometimes come across as a bit ‘problem solver-y’. We know your intentions are good, there’s no doubt about that, but your just being there, and willing to listen, speaks volumes.
Sharing is caring: please share this post to help others, you never know who might need it.
By Burt Tream
Every Friday, we share and talk about depression among unemployed young people! Share your story with us via firstname.lastname@example.org