The first step towards curing a depression is its correct and timely diagnosis. A lot of times people spend their lives without this silent killer ever being clinically detected. So if your loved one has been diagnosed with the condition, they are already on the path to recovery.
The next step is helping them make the journey because depression renders its victims incapable of self-help. This is where you step in to support your loved through the process and help them bounce back.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Understand what you are dealing with.
For a regular person, it is difficult to fathom the deep ramifications of depression. It is NOT sadness and one cannot just snap out of it. You must truly understand this sinister problem and be informed before you try to help someone. Otherwise, you might end up doing more harm than good.
Patience is the key.
You must be prepared to let the person talk without pressurizing them. They may take time to open up or may not be responsive to your approach. But do not give up. Just keep a cool head and lend a listening ear.
Do not belittle their feelings.
Do not say things like, ‘it’s all in your head’ or ‘look on the bright side’ when they share their thoughts with you. No one wants to ruin their life on purpose. Instead, try using supportive phrases like ‘I am there for you’ or ‘you are important to me and we shall deal with this together’.
Try to encourage activity.
Physical exercises/activities contribute greatly to mental health. It can be as simple as a walk in the park or getting an ice-cream together. These might help in reducing the stress level by diverting the mind.
Point out their strengths.
Depression causes a change in the person’s attitude and is harmful to their self-confidence. At a stage where they are doubting themselves, you can help by making them aware of their qualities and abilities. This will help them find the strength within.
Join a support group.
An important step towards recovery from depression is venting out. Joining a support group will place the person in an environment of empathy where they are able to garner support and understand that they are not alone in this situation.
It is a well-known fact that laughter helps a person heal. In fact, research lists laughter as one of the best things to cure depression since it releases the ‘feel good’ chemicals. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown rolling on the floor kind of laughter, even practicing smiling in front of the mirror is a good first step.
Keep your own wellness in mind.
To be able to help someone else, you need to first ensure your own physical and mental well being. Dealing with someone suffering from depression can be draining and very frustrating. So take out time to relax and unwind.
Whatever you do, never forget the crucial fact that depression is an illness. Your aid is limited to supporting the person and helping them in their fight against the disease. For a proper course of treatment medical assistance is indispensable.
– Khyati Shah