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People with depression, most often want to keep it to themselves and not share it with anyone simply because of the judgement that they will endure. Depression is a mood disorder not a mental illness, but often times when people hear about someone having severe depression they judge them as if they can not be trusted mentally. On the other hand some people judge unfairly in the opposite extreme saying that if they wanted to put their mind to it, they could stop seeing things in a bad light and just get better. Either way it is tragic to a person suffering from depression because judgement and ridicule are going to always make the situation extremely worse and never cause someone to feel better. What people with depression need is support, understanding and hope. There is a middle ground between giving in to their pessimism and expecting them to be positive. There is a middle ground between agreeing that life is unbearable and expecting that they get out of their funk and make better choices. Here are some ways to help someone who is suffering from depression.
Outward Signs of Depression:
- feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
- lost interest in their friends, activities, and other fun things they used to love
- they may feel tired and depleted much more often than usual
- they may sleep more often or develop insomnia
- they may gain or lose a noticeable about of weight
- inability to remember things, perform normal tasks or concentrate
- use the world in a negative way and unable to stop the pessimism
- they may be more irritable or aggressive and have a short temper with the people around them
- they may begin to use drugs or alcohol or use it more often than normal
- they may engage in reckless behaviors that are uncommon for them
Types of Depression:
- Dysthmia is a mild form of recurring depression or a mild depression that is always lingering to make one feel not their normal or best self.
- Major Depression is a constant and severe depression that interferes with life. IT can be triggered by an event (such as a death of a loved one) or for no reason other than the chemical and hormonal imbalances in the brain and body.
- Bipolar Disorder is where people swing dramatically from very sad and depressed to high energy and overly happy.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (called SAD) is from a lack of sunlight that causes depression along with tension, stress and lethargy.
How to Help
It can be difficult to know what to say and how to help when someone you know is depressed. A common fear of people is that if they bring it up to the depressed person it will insult them or cause it to get worse. Others are afraid to confront the issue because they are intimidated about what to do and feel like they don’t know how to help. Here are some thing that you can say and do. . .
- Let the person know that you sense they are depressed and that you want to support them in finding ways to feel better.
- Send flowers, a card, a funny gift and let them know that you are thinking about them and that they mean something to you. Remind them that they have you as a friend.
- Bluntly ask them what you can do to help them and offer suggestions too such as help them with household chores, make appointments or give rides to the doctor, take a walk together and talk. . . or just give them a hug and listen to them for a little while. Maybe ask if you can check in on them once a day to make sure that they know that they are loved and they might ask for help at some point.
- If someone is really feeling hopeless and helpless and out of control it is urgent that you get them help right away. Ask that they call a depression or suicide hotline for immediate support. Help them make an appointment to see their doctor as soon as possible. Don’t leave them alone. If things get serious call the police or take them to the emergency room.
If you are suffering from depression feel free to share this article with family and friends to help get a dialogue going about how you feel, how they can help and what everyone’s expectations are.