How To Help Someone With Depression

I am not an expert

"I don't want to be alive."  We'd had many people around us with this kind of thoughts.

Depression is a serious but treatable disorder that affects million of people, from young to old, your regular friends around you to the celebrities you see on TV, and from all levels of life. According to studies, In Nigeria, more than 1.5 million cases are recorded per year.

A few months ago, the church I attend (Harvesters International Christian Center, Gbagada) did a series about dealing with depression. A whole lot of points were discussed by the Senior Pastor, Pastor Bolaji Idowu. 

A few days later, a close friend of mine disclosed to me that she was depressed at some point and I didn't know. I mean, she looks so happy with no sign of depression anywhere near her camp. 

So many people around us are stressed out, frustrated, depressed, and I've wondered: How do you actually help someone with depression. What should the follow-up texts and phone calls look like to make the person feel better and not worse?

It is hard to know what to say when speaking to a depressed person. Your words might make them angry, feel insulted, or bring them comfort, hope and eventually bring them out of the state of depression.

What is Depression?

If you search for the word "Depression", the first definition you will find is:

"A mental health disorder characterised by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life."

Simply put "Depression is a mood disorder that causes someone to feel persistently sad for a long time."

Depression is a Serious Condition

Don't underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a person's energy, optimism, and motivation.

See Also: 10 Positive Things You Should Say To Your Children

Signs of Depression

Depression makes it difficult for a person to connect with anyone, In addition, a depressed person often say hurtful things and lash out in anger.

A depressed person might decline your invitations to meet up, cancel plans again and again, or ignore calls or texts. In person, a depressed person might snap at you, drink excessively, get upset about the smallest things, or seem more anxious, irritable, flat and just really negative and down.

How Can I Help Someone With Depression?

#1. Put Yourself In Their Shoes: Putting yourself in someone else's shoes is about compassion. Take yourself out of the picture. Let go of your thoughts, opinion, feelings, reactions, etc. while focusing deeply on what the other person is saying.

#2. Be A Compassionate Listener: You probably have heard of this technique. Always remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice. You don't have to try to fix the person, you just have to be a good listener to understand how best you can help.

#3 Help To Get Help: While you can't control someone else's recovery from depression, you can start by encouraging the depressed person to seek help.

#4. Be Gentle, Yet Persistent: Don't expect a single conversation to be the end of it. Depressed people tend to withdraw from others and isolate themselves. You may need to express your concern and willingness to listen over and over again. Be gentle, yet persistent.

Don't try to rescue a depressed person. It's not up to you to fix the person, nor can you. Recovery is in the hands of the depressed person.