Sufferers will experience a wide range of symptoms, including feelings of isolation, hopelessness, low self-esteem, and low energy.
While depression can be hugely troublesome for the sufferer, it can also cause a great deal of distress to loved ones.
If you have a friend or family member who is suffering from depression, you are possibly feeling very confused and helpless. Your support however is crucial for their recovery.
Below we have a few tips on supporting a loved one who is struggling with depression:
Having a better understanding of depression will help you to be more compassionate and supportive of someone with the illness. Unfortunately depression is largely misunderstood – often viewed as a personal weakness or laziness – rather than a medical illness. It is not a choice or something sufferers can simply snap out of.
Just be there
Rather than offering advice or encouraging your loved one to do something proactive, simply being there for them when they need to cry and untangle their thoughts and emotions is one of the best things you can do. While it may be hard to accept their challenging emotions and irritable behaviour, do not take it personally because these are natural side effects of the illness.
Some people with depression may be unaware that they have it, thus are unlikely to seek treatment. On the other hand some people know they have depression but are too ashamed to get help – or are convinced it will get better over time. If this is the case with your loved one, it is important that you encourage them to get help. You may want to go through treatment options with them and go along to a doctors appointment with them.
Depression coaching is another way sufferers can receive support, and is typically offered in conjunction with medical treatment. To find out more about how depression coaching can help, please see our depression page.
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