How To Help Someone With Depression

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How To Help Someone With Depression

Caring about someone who has depression can be the loneliest place in the world. You are so concerned about your partner or family member or friend, and yet, you don’t know what to do. You’d love to how to help someone with depression feel better but you are out of your depth. 

If only they would smile, or feel happy, or be positive! When we care about someone, it is totally natural to feel bad when they feel bad. I firmly believe that the best way to help someone when you don’t know how to help them is to start by educating yourself about depression.

There are many wonderful books available in your local bookstore, or on Amazon, that explain not only all about depression symptoms and the various mental health conditions that are grouped under the one word “depression”. 

I will recommend below some books that I think are a great place to start so that you can understand more about what the person feels and what lifestyle changes you can gently encourage them to make that will help lighten their depressed mood.

How To Help Someone With Depression Who Doesn't Want Help

how to help someone with depression who doesn't want help

If the person you love or care about doesn’t want help, that can be even more difficult for you. When you have spotted the warning signs and you pretty much know that your loved one is depressed, the important thing to realise is that you have to set boundaries. 

There is a line which you cannot cross. It’s that line between caring for the person and interfering! That can be a very difficult line to figure out. I think it’s important to show the person that you respect their right to make their own decisions.

In some cases, it may be necessary to tread carefully. You don’t want to have a falling out with the person. So perhaps, leave appropriate information for them to stumble upon. Maybe use the line “if you want my help or support, I’ll go with you to the doctor’s appointment”, or something like that. 

When the person is in denial about their depression, allow them to be but don’t help them to do that. Don’t cover up for them to others even though you feel it’s your duty to. Your job is to gently guide them in the direction of professional mental health care.

How To Help Someone With Depression When You Have Depression

If you suffer from depression yourself, you may not be the right person to help someone with depression. That sounds odd, doesn’t it? You would think that you would understand it better because you have it. Well, of course, that is true. 

Just remember that the best person to help someone with depression is someone who knows how to get them to think happier thoughts. If you haven’t actually achieved that in your own life, while you may understand very well and empathise very well, you may not be the right person to help them recover.

Perhaps instead, you could lead by example. Maybe you could get professional support and learn some good ways of improving your own mental health. .

It is also important to remember that no two experiences of depression are exactly the same, so just because you feel a certain way, or felt better by doing a certain thing, doesn’t mean your loved one will have the same outcome. From years of experience in practically helping people with depression, I can honestly say, no two cases were ever the exact same.

So when you have depression and you’re trying to help someone who also has depression, remember that your no.1 priority is your own health.

What To Say To Someone Who Is Depressed

I think it’s always important to acknowledge that you don’t know what the depressed person is feeling. Saying things like “I know how you must be feeling” will just annoy them because, you don’t! Maybe just gently ask them to explain to you a little more how they are feeling because you’d love to understand it from their point of view. 

If they start opening up to you, just shut up and let them speak. Show them you are actively listening. You can ask things like “sorry, just so that I understand a bit better, does that mean x or y?”

Gently suggesting getting help is a much better approach. Some people just come straight and say “you should go to a doctor”, or “I think you need anti-depressants”. You think you’re helping when you say these things but honestly, you’re probably not. The best thing to do is say something like “did you know that your doctor might be able to recommend someone to go talk to that might help you to feel much better?”

The most important part of communicating well with a person who has depression is make them feel supported, not dictated to. Especially in the case of more severe depression, it’s really important to be careful of the words you use and try to say the right things rather than something that will upset, or frustrate, or disempower them.

What To Say To Someone Who Feels Hopeless

It’s important NOT to try and jump in and say something you think will be helpful. When we love someone, we want to convince them of what we believe about them. However, this can actually make them feel like they are not being heard which will make their sense of hopelessness worse, not better. 

If you just know the person is feeling hopeless because you’ve picked up on the vibe, but they haven’t said anything specific, I would always lead with “so, how are you really? Are you ok?” Remember the aim is to understand, not to fix (at least not straight away). 

Maybe probe a bit more if their answer indicates that they are covering up the real answer. Tell them you’ve noticed something and that, because you care, you wanted to just check in and make sure that they are ok. The aim is to get them to open up so don’t make suggestions, don’t tell them everything will be fine – just listen. Make sure they know that you are here to listen.,

What To Say To Someone Who Is Suicidal

what to say to someone who is suicidal

It’s important just to ask questions so that you can figure out if the person is having suicidal thoughts alone, or is having thoughts of suicide and has actually planned how to end their life. 

After ascertaining if they are having suicidal thoughts, this is the appropriate question to ask – “have you ever planned out when, where and how to actually do it?”. 

If you find that the person has gone that far, it would be a good idea, if you live in the United States to ring 988 or go on the website 988lifeline.org . If the problem is really immediate in nature, call the emergency services.

How To Help Someone With Depression In A Relationship

If you’re in a relationship with a partner that you love, you can feel pretty helpless at times. You’d love to make them smile or cheer them up but no matter how hard you try, it just doesn’t seem to work. Here are some tips to help you:

 

  1. Learn About Depression – read some books or go to some well-respected websites and find out more about depression. You’ve got to be able to put yourself in their shoes and imagine it from their perspective in order to truly help.
  2. Gently Suggest Getting Professional Help – tell the person that you don’t know how best to help them but that a professional like a counselor, doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist may be able to help a lot. Don’t push too hard for them to do this or else they’ll end up going to therapy just to please you but not because they actually want to do something about their problem.
  3. Encourage Small Improvement – encourage the person with depression to just take baby steps. A good one to start with is getting them to make their bed every morning and then praising them for that. The more routine you can encourage them into, the better. But be careful not to try to go too fast with this. 
  4. Mind Yourself – looking after or living with someone who has depression is hard work and can drain you emotionally. Take time out to mind yourself. Remember, part of being depressed is isolating yourself from social groups. It can be quite easy to be so concerned about the person who has depression that you unintentionally do this to yourself and end up depressed too. An analogy to keep in mind is that if you want to save someone who is drowning, it’s a rather sensible thing to not drown yourself in the process of trying to save the other person.
Overcome Depression

Self Hypnosis Audio To Overcome Depression

Self hypnosis can be a great tool to learn how to overcome depression. This powerful audio is 25 minutes long.

How To Get A Depression Diagnosis

I think one of the important reaons to have a proper depression diagnosis is that there are so many differnt varieties of depression. Take a look at some of the possibilities below

  • situational depression
  • clinical depression
  • bipolar depression
  • depression with anxiety
  • depression with psychosis
  • depression and dementia
  • depression after covid
  • depression and brain fog
  • depression and anger
  • depression during pregnancy
  • post natal depression
  • depression from social media
  • substance use disorder 

The only medical professionals who are qualified to make a depression diagnosis are either doctors or psychiatrists (at least, in the jurisdiction that I live in). 

As you read the list (above), realise you are not qualified to properly diagnose this problem and the best thing you can do is recommend the person with depression goes to see an appropriately qualified medical professional. 

Try to encourage the person NOT to resort to Dr. Google. While Google is wonderful resource, the untrained individual can assume a diagnosis and be dangerously off the mark.

What's The Biggest Cause Of Depression?

There are many different forms of depression varying from mild to severe. Studies have shown however, that there is one commonality that seems to be more prevalent than any other and it is long-term exposure to stressful or upsetting life events such as:

  • Long term abusive relationships
  • Witnessing abuse over a long period of time
  • Long term unemployment
  • Being in an uncaring relationhip for a long time
  • Being alone or lonely for long periods of time
  • Work stress that persists for a long time

Is Depression Hereditary?

There has been a number of studies over the years that have suggested a genetic source for depression. As a matter of fact, an article in the Stanford Medical website suggests the following –

“If someone has a parent or sibling with major depression, that person has a 2 or 3 times greater risk of developing depression compared with the average person”

The main understanding taken from this article is that people do not “inherit” depression but instead they receive a certain set of genes that predispose them to depression. This does not mean they are guaranteed to get depression – just that they are more at risk from suffering depression as a result of this set of genes. 

So I suppose the takeaway from this is not to go blaming your parents. 

top 10 tips for depression

Top 10 Tips For How To Help Someone With Depression

Download this beautiful A4 pdf right now and print it off.
Stick it on the wall next to your bed to remind you of what you can do every day to help someone with depression. 
(No subscription required)

Depression Self Help: How To Overcome Depression Without Medication

Many people have a negative view of antidepressant medications. Maybe they are afraid they’ll get hooked on them, or be like a zombie. I believe that it is important to always try to be sensible. That means choosing the right treatment for the time frame that you find yourself in. 

If, for instance, you are having suicidal thoughts, the most important thing is to reduce or eliminate the risk of suicide and if medication succeeds at doing that, then maybe it’s the best option for now. 

There are also some types of depression, such as bipolar disorder that may make it an absolute necessity to take the appropraite medication and get professional advice from someone who is qualified to deal with your particular form of depression.

If the person’s depressive episodes are relatively manageable, and it’s not as serious as major depressive disorder, then the person may decide to try to overcome their negative thoughts without medication. There are various treatment options available to manage your depressive symptoms. For instance, your local mental health service may be able to suggest some support groups locally that may be helpful

Here are some ways to overcome depression without medication. Maybe you can suggest some or all of these to the person you might be trying to help with their depression. 

(Depending on the nature of your depression or if you are actually suffering from a mental illness, you may require medication or specialized depression treatment – always consult your primary care provider first)

  • Sleep: get good sleep – go to bed around the same time every night and get up around the same time every morning, even though you might not feel like getting out of bed.
  • Social Contact: surround yourself with people who are genuinely helpful and understanding and try to limit time spent with negative people. Don’t isolate! Get involved in social activities!
  • Exercise: try to get some regular exercise every day – make it a routine. Do it at the same time every day (preferably in the morning). Make it one of those daily activities that you would never miss.
  • Eat healthily – now, more than ever, your body needs healthy food. Bad eating habit make you feel lethargic which will only add to your depression.
  • Goals: set small, easily achievable goals that you know you can succeed at. In this way you start to build your self esteem  – baby steps!
  • Books: read books that help you to understand depression better. Books that encourage small, achievable changes are best.
  • Eye Contact: even though it may be difficult, when you are out in public, try to look people in the eye as they pass you. 
  • Get Help: ask your doctor to recommend a psychologist or psychotherapist. Someone who is qualified in a number of areas is probably best. One of the therapies that is highly recommended for most depression-related issues is cognitive behavioral therapy.

There are various different ways to overcome depression. Here’s a list of some of the things you can do (or suggest to the person who has depression)

  • If you suspect you suffer from depression, go to your doctor and get a proper diagnosis
  • Ask your doctors opinion on talking therapy options – this will vary depending on the type and severity of your condition
  • Consider CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) for most types of mild to medium depression
  • Consider listening to a self hypnosis recording (unless you suffer with borderline personality disorder or psychosis in which case, take the advice of your doctor or psychiatrist)

My number one tip is to get them to listen to a self hypnosis recording such as “Overcome Depression” every day. Depending on the severity of the depression, it may or may not be enough just by itself but, for those for whom it is suitable to listen to self hypnosis recordings, it can be a great help. Check out my article entitled “Is Hypnosis Suitable For Everyone?“.

Depression Episode - What Is It Like?

One of the biggest problems for a depressed person is that they may not actually recognise when they are beginning to have a depression episode. Here are some of things you could ask them to figure out when their depression episode began –

 

  • are they finding it more difficult to sleep?
  • have they slowed down or stopped connecting with other people socially?
  • have they noticed a decrease in energy?
  • have they developed a loss of interest in eating or are they eating less?
  • do they have problems concentrating
  • have they noticed memory problems?

Keeping a journal (like writing a diary) is a very good idea to help the depressed person to notice these changes for themselves so they’ll feel like they have a little more control. If you’re a friend or a loved one, when you tell them you’ve noticed changes, you need to get them to realise you are only mentioning this to help them and because you care about them. This is also very helpful for that day when the depressed person goes to see either their family doctor or a mental health provider. 

Remember, many depressed people have difficulty answering questions posed to them by a doctor or counselor. Many patients describe this as “brain fog”, so it can be really helpful to refer to this journal to help the professional to help the depressed person in the best way possible.

One of the things depressed people struggle with is self love so maybe this article will help – How To Practise Self Love

Overcome Depression

Self Hypnosis Audio To Overcome Depression

Self hypnosis can be a great tool to learn how to overcome depression. This powerful audio is 25 minutes long.

Self Hypnosis For Depression

One of the very simple truths about depression is that the person suffering from low mood is focusing their thoughts on negatives. Now, of course, they are not choosing to do that consciously but, in reality, that’s what’s happening. Of course, whatever we practice a lot, we get good at. So the depressed person has become very good at doing negative thoughts and feelings. 

Self hypnosis for depression can help re-focus the person’s mind just for a short while on to happier, brighter thoughts. In hypnosis, the person’s experience is “hey, I can feel happy again”, even if it’s just for 25 minutes while listening to the recording.. When they make listening to the recording part of their everyday life, the person’s mood typically lifts a little every day.

My recording entitled “Overcome Depression“, can be a source of support. It can even safely be used in conjunction with a treatment plan that includes going to see a therapist or taking medication in most cases. It can also help to ensure that the person gets enough sleep when used at bedtime because it put’s the person in a better mood just before sleep.

Listen to this self hypnosis recording every day for at least thirty days. This recording has been scripted and voiced by one of the world’s leading Clinical Hypnotherapists, Paul J Hunter, so you are assured of the highest quality and standard of recording.

Over fifteen years of experience has gone into this powerful hypnosis audio and will help

  • Focus on more positive things every day
  • Stop self-criticising and self-blaming
  • Look to the future with more optimism
Picture of Author: Paul Hunter

Author: Paul Hunter

Although thousands of people read his blog every month, Paul's path to success was not an easy one. Click here to read his amazing story "From Unwanted Baby And Adopted To A Respected Self Help Blogger". If you want to send Paul a quick message, then visit his contact page here

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Picture of Paul Hunter

Paul Hunter

Although thousands of people read his blog every month, Paul's path to success was not an easy one. Click here to read his amazing story "From Unwanted Baby And Adopted To A Respected Self Help Blogger". If you want to send Paul a quick message, then visit his contact page here

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