In this article we will have a look at how to help someone with depression by exploring what you can do to help a person you love with depression – help themselves.
Look at it this way – this article shows you how you can get a person with depression to help themselves.
But before I jump into the details I want to make sure that you understand the difference between you helping someone with depression and you helping the person to help themselves, by using at least one of the strategies discussed below.
The difference is that instead of you directly helping the person with depression, you encourage, support and help the depressed person to help themselves.
Okay? Good, let’s continue.
There are many things that you can do and say to help a depressed person.
It is important that the person has the support of their family, friends, a mental health practitioner, or a fellow depression sufferer to help them with their depression.
Support from these people really help the person with depression feel that people care about them, they are not alone and if they are feeling low or down, they have people to talk to.
But it doesn’t stop there, either.
There are several strategies that a person can do to help themselves.
So what are they? I’m glad you asked!
How A Depressed Person Can Help Themselves: Strategies
Stress is common in daily life but stress by itself is not depression. Stress generally indicates something is resulting a worry situation which strong enough to influent our feeling and thinking.
It is only when acute distress becomes a “stressor” and may be a risk factor for depression if it persists. A “stressor” is a stimulus that causes stress.
Please allow me to explain.
– I do not like to go to places where there is a large crowd, such as at a concert. For me, the large number of people is my “stressor” that results in me feeling very distressed, anxious and is a risk factor in making my depression worse.
– So to reduce my stress I avoid crowed areas and put aside some time everyday to relax and do things that I enjoy, such as listening to my favorite music, exercising, or watching my favorite television show.
– Also, if I am feeling stressed or anxious, I avoid making major changes in my life, such as changing jobs. I leave these big decisions to a time when I am feeling better.
– Other ways to reduce stress is by practicing slow-breathing exercises and mediation. Personally, I don’t do these 2 things as I don’t find it helpful to me, but I am aware of many people that like and use them.
Help Them In Getting Enough Sleep
I know from personal experience that hard to fall in sleep is very common issue when someone is having depression. Instead of sleeping, I would worry about what someone thought of me, how much work I had to do or did I speak too harshly to a friend.
The lack of sleep and tiresome led to me having no energy, poor concentration and irritability.
Having a good night’s sleep is important for maintaining good health. The body needs the opportunity to recharge from the day’s activities.
Now if I go to bed and can’t sleep, I get up after trying for 20 minutes and write down all my worries and them go back to bed. This strategy works for me as once I have put pen to paper, I feel that I can let go of my worries or concerns.
A person not necessary need to sleep for long hours to get a good quality sleep. Quality sleep is known as ‘dream sleep’ and ‘deep sleep’. For ‘deep sleep’, it is happening at the first 5 hours after you fall in sleep.
What this means is even if someone only sleeps for 5 hours, they will get the similar amount and quality of ‘deep sleep’ as anyone who lay on bed for 8-10 hours. I usually only sleep for 6 hours a night and wake up refreshed.
I must admit that I found being active very difficult at first, but once I got into the routine of being active, it was no longer a burden.
Doctors have recommended that I undertake activities such as swimming, yoga, or a gym workout. But these are not things that I enjoy, so I do physically active things that give me a sense of achievement.
So what do I do?
I go sailing as often as I can.
Doing the housework is very physical and rewarding when I look at my clean house.
If the weather is good, I will go for a ride on my motorcycle.
Everyday I walk my 2 dogs, which they love and it is a great way to get me out of the house.
Help Them To Reduce Alcohol & Other Drugs
Many people with depression will take cigarettes, alcohol, as well as other drugs which they think this will make them feel better.
These substances maybe can offer them with temporary relief, but they will incurred long-term issues and worsen the situation as they tend to interfere with the anti-depresant drugs effects.
It is certainly hard to stop using alcohol or other drugs completely, but as a friend or family, you should try to stop them from taking these types of helpless substances or you should at least reduce their intake, they will be helping themselves.
Dealing With A Bad Day
Everyone has times when things are really tough and they have a bad day. But having a bad day for a person with depression can have serious consequences.
Why is this?
For the simple reason, that a depressed person may not have any support mechanisms in place, such as family or friends that they can talk to. It’s not uncommon to feel isolated when you have depression.
I felt very isolated when I was first diagnosed with depression and I did not help myself by staying at home alone, instead of maintaining social contact.
I can’t stress this enough – the absolute worse thing that a person who is having a bad day can do, is to stay in bed. This is exactly what I did, and it had a huge negative mental and physical effect on me.
It’s best to get up and get on with a normal routine as soon as possible e.g. going to work, school, university, meeting friends or family.
The reason why it was a very bad idea for me to stay in bed, was because I would go over and over in my head what a failure I was, does anybody care about me and so on.
These negative thoughts would not stop. It was only when I got out of bed and distracted myself, by going to work or doing any sort of activity was I able to stop these negative thoughts.
When people get depressed, often they don’t feel like socializing, but it’s important that they continue to talk to family and friends.
Something as simple as talking to a friend on the phone or organize to meet for a coffee or go to a movie, is a very good strategy for the depressed person to help themselves.
There are several things that a person with depression can do to help themselves, but it may take time and your support for them to do these things. For example, you can show your support by suggesting that you go for a walk together.
I suggest that when you are helping someone with depression, be patient with them and when the time feels right, mention the above tips that they can do that WILL make them feel better.
Each person with depression is at a different stage of recovery, and we need to be sensitive to that, and not try and make them do things that they may not be ready for. Persistence is the key!