When a family member or friend suffers from depression, your support and encouragement can play an important role in his or her recovery. However, depression can also wear you down if you neglect your own needs. Today, as your trusted Simi Valley counselors, we’re giving you a few guidelines that can help you support a depressed person while maintaining your own emotional equilibrium.
One of the first things is learning about depression and how to talk about it with your friend or family member. Remember, depression is a serious but treatable disorder that affects millions of people, from young to old and from all walks of life. It gets in the way of everyday life, causing tremendous pain, hurting not just those suffering from it, but also impacting everyone around them. It’s also important to remember that the symptoms of depression aren’t personal and it may be hard for the person to connect with you.
While reaching out to your friend or loved one, you should also remember not to be an enabler. What does that mean? Hiding the problem won’t make it go away – It doesn’t help anyone involved if you are making excuses, covering up the problem, or lying for a friend or family member who is depressed.
Be concerned if your loved one:
- Doesn’t seem to care about anything anymore.
- Is uncharacteristically sad, irritable, short-tempered, critical, or moody.
- Has lost interest in work, sex, hobbies, and other pleasurable activities.
- Talks about feeling “helpless” or “hopeless.”
- Expresses a bleak or negative outlook on life.
- Frequently complains of aches and pains such as headaches, stomach problems, and back pain.
- Complains of feeling tired and drained all the time.
- Has withdrawn from friends, family, and other social activities.
- Sleeps less than usual or oversleeps.
- Eats more or less than usual, and has recently gained or lost weight.
- Has become indecisive, forgetful, disorganized, and “out of it.”
- Drinks more or abuses drugs, including prescription sleeping pills and painkillers.