Any type of emotional or mental illness is difficult to understand if it doesn't affect you. Not knowing how to help someone who is depressed you might say, "Just pull yourself out of it." When you are living with or have a loved one suffering from depression you probably feel powerless, frustrated, angry, sad, concerned and scared. You probably feel all of those at one time. The question is, "How can I help?"
1. Care for yourself by educating yourself. Believe me, people don't want to feel such despair as someone who has this disorder. Know what is typical for people who suffer from this emotional illness… and it is an illness just as is heart disease or cancer. There are also support groups available for you.
2. Try to imagine what it's like. Can you even begin to imagine living in your loved one's skin? She probably has many of the same feelings you do. She doesn't want to feel this way. The hopelessness can be unbearable. That's why there are suicides.
3. Remember who the person really is. You may feel like you've lost the person you loved. He or she is hiding somewhere under all the helplessness, all the despair, all the inability to move out of bed, as well as all the actions you don't recognize. Hold onto your memory of her.
4. Be a listening ear. Allow the individual to talk about his feelings. Hand her tissues while she cries. Each depressed person needs people who love and accept them as he or she is. This provides the strength to fight this illness.
5. Get professional help if needed. If your loved one hasn't gotten assistance, encourage them to do so. Sometimes you have to do things which may seem cruel. Set firm boundaries. Say, "No, I won't do that until you go to the doctor." If you are worried about suicidal behavior call 911 and get him or her to the emergency room. Yes, they will probably be angry, but do it anyway.
6. Be aware of medication side effects. Know the medications your friend or family member is taking. Be aware of complications which can occur from these drugs. Know drug interactions as well as food and alcohol interactions. One debilitating side effect of anti-depressants is the exact thing the drug is meant to make better. If you are concerned, get help.
Recovery from depression can be a long road. The sufferer will need all the assistance he or she can get. You will also need assistance. Take care of yourself or you will not be able to take care of him or her. If you want to know how to help someone who is depressed be certain that focusing on self care is critical.