- Depression is not a choice.
Loving Someone with Depression is one of the most helpless and frustrating experiences a person can have. It’s sometimes feeling sad, sometimes feeling empty, and sometimes feeling absolutely nothing at all. There are times when depression can leave someone feeling paralyzed in their own mind and body, unable to do the things they used to love to do or the things they know they should be doing. Depression is not just a bad day or a bad mood and it’s not something someone can just “get over.” Remember no one chooses to be depressed.
- Saying things like “it’ll get better,” “you just need to get out of the house,” or “you’ll be fine” is meaningless.
It’s easy to tell someone these things because you think you’re giving them a solution or a simple way to make them feel better and to ease their pain, but these kinds of phrases always come across as empty, insulting, and essentially meaningless. Saying these phrases to them only create more tension within, making them feel as though they’re inadequate, and like you’re not acknowledging what they’re going through by trying to put a band aid on a much larger issue. They understand you’re just trying to help but these words only make them feel worse. A silent hug can do so much more than using cliched sayings. What you can say instead: I’m here for you. I believe in you. I believe you are stronger than this and I believe you’ll get through this. What can I do to help you? What do you think would make you feel better? Avoid offering advice but instead just let them know you’re there for them and ask them questions to help guide them in discovering what could make them feel better.
- Sometimes they have to push you away before they can bring you closer.
People who suffer from depression often get frustrated with feeling like they’re a burden on other people. This causes them to isolate themselves and push away people they need the most, mentally exhausting themselves from worrying about if they’re weighing their loved ones down with their sadness. If they become distant, just remember to let them know you’re still there, but don’t try to force them to hang out or talk about what’s going on if they don’t want to.
- You’re allowed to get frustrated.
Just because someone deals with depression doesn’t mean you have to cater to all of their needs or walk around eggshells when you’re around them. Depressed people need to feel loved and supported but if it begins to create a negative impact on your life you’re allowed to acknowledge this and figure out how to show them love and kindness without self-sacrificing.
- It’s important to discuss and create boundaries.
In those moments of frustration it’s important to take a step back and look at how you can help the depressed person while also maintaining your own sense of happiness and fulfillment. Be patient. Talk to them about your concerns and explain the boundaries you need to create within your relationship. Find out something that works for both of you.
- They can become easily overwhelmed. Constant exhaustion is a common side effect of depression.
Just getting through the day can be an overwhelming and exhausting experience. They may seem and look totally fine one moment and in the next moment feel tired and have no energy at all, even if they’re getting plenty of sleep every night. This can result in them canceling plans suddenly, leaving events early, or saying no to things altogether. Just remember it’s not about anything you did. It’s just one of the prevalent side effects of living with the disease.
- It’s not about you.
When you have a loved one dealing with depression it can be difficult to understand what they’re going through and to consider how their sadness is a reflection of your relationship with them. If they need space or become distant don’t blame yourself and wonder how you could do things differently to heal them. Understand their depression is not about you.Express your willingness to help, including making and preparing for appointments.