There are many people who suffer from depression, which is a serious but very treatable disorder. Not only does it affect the person with depression, but also those around them. When someone you love is depressed, you may experience feelings of helplessness, sadness, anger, frustration, fear, or other emotions. These feelings are normal and occur frequently when a friend of family member is depressed. Although you want to care for your loved one, you also need to take care of yourself. Ensuring that you are healthy both mentally and physically allows you to be able to be a support to someone with depression.
You may notice the depression before your friend or family member does. Understanding the symptoms can help you support this person to seek help. Here are some of the symptoms that a depressed person may exhibit:
- depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
- insomnia or hypersomnia
- decreased interest in activities
- weight loss or weight gain
- loss of energy or fatigue
- feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
- decreased ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions
- thoughts of death, or suicidal ideation
Some points to understand when someone has depression:
- Trying to cover up or hide the problem doesn’t help. Depression is s serious problem and often the depressed individual cannot just “snap out of it” on their own.
- Anger may be part of the depression – often depressed people can say hurtful things and show anger when they don’t mean to. It is difficult for the person to connect emotionally with others, even those they are closest to.
- You cannot fix someone’s depression, or rescue them from it. It requires the person with depression to work on the issue and feel happier.
When trying to talk to someone about their depression, don’t feel you need to “fix” things, just try to be a good listener. Encourage the person to talk about his or her feelings, and encourage therapy as a treatment option. You can ask when the depressive symptoms started, if there was something that happened specifically, and what you can do to help. Encouraging statements can be helpful, as well as letting the person know they are not alone.