It can be extremely difficult to know how to deal with someone with depression if you have never experienced it yourself. Depression is much more than a temporary sadness that can pass over time. Depression is a long-lasting feeling that makes a person feel like there is a continuous black cloud over his head that may never be lifted. For this reason, we are going to offer a few of the most important suggestions that can help you deal with a person that is feeling the horrible effects of depression.
Ask the right questions
Everyone that has to deal with depression is experiencing it in a different way. You can’t assume that the person will automatically want to pour his heart out to you. On the other hand, you can’t assume that he would like to be left alone. You don’t really know how to help the person or the right way to do it.
The best thing you can do is to start by asking questions. The first one should be, “How can I support or help you right now?”You may not be given an answer on the first try but you should continue to ask the question from time to time. This way, you’ll be able to establish a connection with the depressed person and find out how you can actually support him during his time of need. Other questions that you can ask include the following:
- What do you need right now?
- Is there anyone that you would like to talk to?
- Is there anything I can help you with?
These are safe questions to ask that lets the person know that you care and willing to help.
Say the right things
The questions are important but you also need to know how to say the right things. You have to let the person know in a calm and gentle way that you’re there to help and not to judge. Some of the statements that you should avoid saying include:
- You’ll feel better tomorrow.
- You need to snap out of this.
- You’re letting this drag on too long.
- Let’s look at the positive side.
- You’re just imagining things.
- It can’t be that bad.
You get the idea. The statements above show indications of judgment and this is not how to help someone who is depressed effectively. The things you say can deeply affect a person that is already feeling sad.
Here are some examples of better things to say to help a person that is feeling depressed:
- You’re not alone. I’m here to help you.
- I know that I don’t understand how you’re feeling but I’m still ready to help you through this.
- You’re an important part of my life and I care deeply about you.
There are no judgment calls coming from these types of statements. You are setting yourself up to be a safe individual that this person can talk to.
You need to stay strong
When you’re helping someone with depression you need to stay strong yourself. You certainly won’t want to get dragged down into a deep sadness. If you end up collapsing when you’re trying to lend a hand, you won’t be of any use to anybody! For this reason, some boundaries need to be set and you must understand that you may not be able to handle the level of depression that the person is experiencing on your own.
Put limits on the amount of time you’re willing to invest and stay in control of your emotional limits. Sometimes, when things get to be too much, you may simply have to walk away for a while to regroup and recharge your own batteries. You should never feel guilty about needing to do this either. Depression has a sneaky way of trying to bring others down into a bottomless pit with it.
Explain to the person with depression that you aren’t walking away for good but just need time to handle some things that you’ve been ignoring and putting off. Let the person know that you’ll be back soon and that they can call when need be. You should also have somebody take your place temporarily so that the depressed individual is not left with the feeling of abandonment.
Keep your strength up and do your best to remain happy. Happiness is an important part of life and sometimes it can be easy to forget this when you’re dealing with someone that hasn’t seen the light of happiness for quite some time.