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Loving Ways How to Help People With Depression

DepressedSource: The Silva Method

We can all go through brief periods of “the blues” but if someone you know and love is struggling with chronic depression, you may be at a loss how to help. You may be wondering how to help people with depression but the good news is, you can do more than being a comforting shoulder to cry on or a sounding board for someone’s woes.

First, it’s important to realize that depression is a medical condition. Love and a sympathetic ear can’t always cure depression, and although long-term use of anti-depressants is rarely a good idea, the patient can always get a jump start on healing using medicine. Therefore, the first course of action is to seek the advice of a doctor. This approach may be helpful to the patient’s loved ones, too, because may be frustrated and wondering why they cannot help someone who is clinically depressed.

Aside from medical treatment, here is what you can do for someone suffering from depression:

1. Support their treatment. Some people feel there is a stigma associated with being on antidepressants and may resist taking them, even short-term. If the patient understands that depression is a medical condition, they may be more willing to get help – but approach this carefully, with love, compassion, understanding and avoid saying the dreaded “you should.” A better approach is through education. Once a patient understands that help is available and that it is effective, they will likely seek treatment on their own. In severe cases (if you suspect suicidal tendencies) of course you must take decisive action, even if it goes against the patient’s will.

2. Support small achievements. A depressed person may not even want to get out of bed, so encourage them to set and achieve small goals (even getting out of bed and joining you for a cup of tea in the kitchen). Whenever possible, help them engage in an activity that brings them joy. It doesn’t matter if their happiness lasts only a few minutes – that’s something. Let small achievements build up to larger goals that bolster their self-esteem and happiness.

3. Keep in touch! People suffering from depression may have a tendency to withdraw and isolate themselves from social contact – either they feel they don’t want to be a burden, or they don’t feel welcome, or they may feel a need to hide out and heal. Gently coax the person out of their shell by engaging them in social activities they enjoy. Don’t start dragging them to every cocktail party, though – social activity in small doses may be more manageable!

prayer34. Help them promote a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, good sleep, excellent nutrition and stress-relieving activities like meditation. If the depressed person is resistant to taking care of themselves, (“why bother?”) then at least get them out into the sunshine for a companionable walk as often as you can, and offer to make them a few meals. Exercise and meditation both stimulate the production of endorphins and other feel-good substances in the body. So does a daily dose of sunshine!

5. Help them improve their mindset. Go to a comedy club together or watch funny movies; listen to music; create art; go for a bike ride; go outside in Nature… and help them reprogram the negative self-talk that is constantly running through their head by pointing them to the Silva Method where they will learn to stop self-destructive, negative thoughts in their tracks and replace them with positive, empowering and uplifting thoughts. This will take a bit of work but the results can be astonishing!

6. Change up the routine. Sometimes, depression can be the result of hopelessness (being stuck in a bad job or relationship). A change of scenery may help: organize a weekend getaway with enough of the right activities the person enjoys, to get their mind off their woes.

7. Say the right things. You may be wondering what to say to someone with depression. Here’s a list of what to say, and what to avoid:

  • Say: You’re not alone. I’m here for you. You can get help. Never say: You’re not alone. Lots of people are depressed and many of them are way worse off than you!

  • Say: There is hope! There is help!Never say: Try to snap out of it!

  • Say: Let me help you. Would you like a hug? Do you want to talk? Never say: Stop feeling sorry for yourself!

  • Say: I’m going to see you through this. Never say: You have to be strong and get over it!

  • Say: You matter to me and I love you! (if “love” is appropriate) Never say: Life’s a bitch, isn’t it? It’s no wonder you’re depressed!

  • couple_1Say: Depression is a treatable medical condition. Here are some options. Never say: You don’t need to see a doctor for this, there’s always a rai

    nbow after the storm!

  • Say: I haven’t walked in your shoes but I’m a good listener. Do you want to talk?Never say: Whoa, I was totally depressed once so I know just how you feel!

  • Say: You can get through this – I’m (we’re) here to help you! Never say: You can choose not to be depressed, you know!

  • Say: You have the right to feel good and take care of your needs! Never say: Quit this “me, me, me” stuff, you’re not the only person with needs!

  • Say: We’re in this together. Never say: I’m tired of this behavior!

8. Encourage them to speak up and express their feelings and thoughts. It’s not always easy to know what to say, so when in doubt, offer a smile, a shoulder, a hug… just a compassionate, empathetic ear might be enough to get them talking. Don’t give your opinions. It’s best to ask open-ended questions that en

courage the person to look deep within themselves and perhaps solve their problems just by talking about them. They will appreciate your non-judgmental listening!

9. Educate yourself. Depression affects more than just the patient. Know what the options are.

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