Thank you for being one of the people who wants to help someone with depression. You’re one of the special ones.
Now here is what is everything I have personally learnt about helping someone with depression.
I learnt this from the people who helped me when I had depression. And I know it because I have now been helping other people with depression for years.
There are millions of people who are suffering from depression. Thankfully, I’ve personally been able to help many of people with depression by teaching meditation, but there are millions of people who suffer from depression every day.
Here is how to help them.
How To Help Someone With Depression: Using Your Inner Zen
I’ve helped many people with depression, so there’s one thing I know: it’s not easy.
People who are depressed can say some pretty crappy things. One person I once helped totally challenged my every belief. “You only use meditation to escape reality,” she told me. “You’re a coward just like everyone else.” I made the mistake of telling her that my father used to be an alcoholic before he passed away. “You’re going to turn out just like him,” she said.
Yes. People who are depressed can say some pretty shitty things. That’s why you need to have your inner Zen in gear before you even start trying.
This can be especially true of people with bipolar disorder, who will be nice one moment then nasty the next.
Personally, whenever I help someone with depression I try to meditate for at least 20 minutes first. I find my inner peace, because that way no matter what is said, I know it won’t affect me.
So, here’s tip number 1:
When You Help Someone With Depression, Meditate for 20 Minutes first. That way you will be relaxed and calm and will not be hurt.
How To Help Someone With Depression #2 : Respect
One of the utmost important rules when helping someone with depression is this: respect them.
This is especially true for people in abusive relationships, like people who are victims to gaslighting tactics. They need respect.
It can be all too easy to say something like “I know how you’re feeling.”
Here’s the thing: you probably don’t know how someone with depression is feeling.
Sure, we’ve all been down, but being a little down is not the same as suffering from depression. Depression is a killer. Clinical depression takes us to a point of pain that most people don’t experience. After all, most of us do not need to visit a residential treatment center for depression. But depression is that serious.
So here’s the deal: don’t lie to them. Don’t tell them you know how they’re feeling. You don’t. You probably never will.
You need to show respect always. If you inadvertently insult them, you’re going to make things a hell of a lot worse.
How To Help Someone With Depression #3: Listen
Here’s the crazy thing about society. We’ll pop pills like crazy. But a lot of the times the only thing we actually need is someone who will listen to us.
The problem is that everyone is so involved with their own lives that they forget to stop. They forget to open their ears. They forget to lend people their earnest attention.
Honestly, when you’re trying to help someone with depression, the best thing you can do is to just sit there and listen. Listen to their problems. Listen to whatever they want to tell you about their depression. Just listen. That’s all.
Sometimes, healing takes as little as having one person who’s willing to listen to you. This is doubly true for kids and teens with depression. A lot of kids get depression at school and feel like there is no one to listen to them. Giving them that open ear can make a world of difference.
How to Help People Suffering from Depression 4: Be There
When we conducted a survey of people who had overcome depression, we found that more than half of them said that the people who were there for them made all the difference.
Offering love and support is a great way to help someone to heal.
Nigel Thornton recently overcame depression. He said to us, “Sometimes it’s the little things. Simply being reminded that there are people who love you and who will support you, that makes a world of difference.”
How to Help People Who Are in Depression 5: Gesture
Thornton says, “Some people are not comfortable with expressing their feelings upfront. To get around this, simply make some gestures of your support.”
Thornton suggests sending a card, texting, cooking dinner or buying a small gift—just as a token of your love.
How to Help People Who Are in Depression 6: Never Criticise
Most people don’t take criticism very well.
People suffering from depression take criticism very badly because their self esteem is low. A harsh criticism is like a wound.
“Looking back, there were things that some people said to me that I wouldn’t care about now,” says Thornton, “but when you’re suffering from depression, the slightest harsh word can be extremely painful.”
For this reason it is important to be honest with yourself also. “Ask yourself if you can take being around a depressed person today,” says Thornton. “If you’re in a bad mood yourself you’re not likely to help much. If you need time alone, take it. You deserve to be happy too.”
How to Help People Who Are in Depression 7: No Tough Love
We all know that there is a time and a place for tough love, but you should never use tough love on a person with depression.
Saying to a depression sufferer, “Snap out of it” or “Get over it” is belittling them and it will do no good.
How to Help People Who Are Depressed 8: Don’t make light of it
We’ve all heard people say, “You’re just too sensitive” or “Stop letting everything bother you.” Such statements are only going to make the depression sufferer feel worse. They already feel very bad about themselves, telling them they’re “Too sensitive “ or “Overly emotional” is just adding to their low self esteem.
How to Help People Who Are in Depression 9: Don’t take it personally
There are going to be times when a depressed person snaps at you.
“I said some truly horrible things when I had depression,” says Thornton. “The thing is, when you have depression you can’t help it. You say things you don’t mean. You’re hurt, you’re angry, you’re depressed. Sometimes those negative energies spill over onto people you love and care about.” Know that when a they say something hurtful, it’s their depression talking, not them.”
How to Help People Who Are Depressed 10: Advice
A lot of people like to offer advice to depressed people, and they mean it well. The problem is that when you say “I can help” they hear “You can’t do this alone.” Again, advice comes across as belittlement.
Alright. Those are my tips on how to help someone with depression. Now it’s over to you guys.
Go out today and spend just 10 minutes helping someone else to feel better. We’re all in this world together, guys, so go out there and make someone’s day.