Living with someone with depression can be difficult at times. You never know who or what you are coming home to and you are unsure how to deal with the emotions of your child or spouse as well as your own.
However you are not alone. There are millions of people in the same position you are in. It can be bewildering, lonely and frustrating.
Not every person with depression is exactly the same, therefore, how you deal with it may be slightly different, however, from speaking with others dealing with and living with someone with depression, there seems to be a common theme.
#5 helpful strategies for those who live with someone with depression:
#1 Don’t shame them for how they are feeling and be mindful of your words.
Avoid sentences like;
“what are you crying for, don’t be silly”
“why are you complaining”
“that happened to me and I’m alright!”
“that isn’t a big deal”
“what have YOU got to be unhappy about” – this is probably the worst one for me. It makes me very angry.
Although all of these may be said with the best intentions, it’ll only make the other person feel worse. If they could choose another way to feel, they would. So please don’t shame them for feeling so bad.
#2 Do not offer advice … unless asked
This applies to anything and with anyone. Unasked for advice IS a form of aggression. You are hell bent that you have the “answer to all their prayers” that you haven’t bothered to listen fully to what is being said or explore where the other is at. Maybe they are not in solution mode, maybe they have come to your purely for comfort and support. So if you go in all guns blazing then your spouse, child or friend will be less inclined to come to you next time … which leads me onto point 3 …
#3 … Give them the space to express themselves and their emotions
Try not to personalise their issue. It’ll only make them feel worse. Their issue isn’t about you, so if, for example, they say they have no friends or no one cares about them, don’t start making it about you. They are obviously not seeing things straight and simply need someone to express to.
Tackling anxiety and depression can sometimes feel like you are on a never ending rollercoaster. One minute you are on the straight and narrow, peacefully enjoying the view from way up high then the next, you come crashing back down to earth, a drop into the black hole unsure on what happened or why.
Because it can be so frustrating when the negative thoughts and feelings come up, mental health sufferers can often beat themselves up and blame themselves for “not being strong enough” (I know I do). Therefore it is imperative, as a family member or friend, not to tell them not to cry. They obviously need to and for you to say “it’s ok, don’t cry” will only make them feel worse. Again, if they could choose any other way they would.
Plus people with depression, are the individuals who have pushed emotions, so hard and so deep down that the unexpressed emotions have created what we call and experience depression. Imagine and contemplate the two following examples:
- When a swan is unhappy, he flaps his wings (expressing emotions in the moment, instead of bottling it up) for a few moments then calming carries on with his day.
- You are in a swimming pool and you are playing with a beach ball. You try so hard to push the ball under the water, you try with all your might to push it down (your pushed down emotions) but no matter how hard you try … BOOM, the ball comes shooting back to the surface (your emotions, bottled up, needing to be expressed)
When I first met my partner, we were discussing, mental health and how men and women deal with it differently, men typically don’t know how to deal with “an emotional woman” and I stated, if I’m ever crying or going through a certain emotion, to please give me the space to cry etc, I don’t want or need anything from him in that moment, just a knowing that he is there for me if or when I need him. Because I communicated exactly what I want and need from him, he has been perfect. So loving and supportive during the dark days.
#4 Don’t smother them however don’t back off
Suffering with depression can often feel like you’re being smothered with an invisible blanket yet feeling so lonely at the same time. This might sound weird but if you have suffered with a mental illness you’ll understand. Simply checking in with them regularly (can be via, email, call or by text message) simply asking if they are ok and that you are thinking about them. You never know that could change their whole day.
#5 Encourage them to seek help; or someone to talk to
There’s nothing better than connecting with someone and having deep and meaningful (or meaningless, depending on what you emotionally need) conversations, whether that’s about your mental health issues, your religious beliefs, that you both love gaming/hair/makeup, simply anything.
I recommend talking to a professional as well as building up your support network.
There are so many different types of places you could meet with people who are in the same boat as you;
- Mind Website
- Mind YouTube Channel
- Drop In Centres
- Online (YouTube) There are hundreds of people vlogging about the daily struggle with mental health by sharing their journey they are offering alternative ways of thinking about highlight ways that have helped them.
- Online Forums
If you need any further help and advice if you or anyone you know is suffering with mental help then you can contact;
I hope this has helped you in some way. I suffer with anxiety and depression so these tips are ones that have really helped me along my journey.
I’m here if you need to get it touch, I will do my very best to answer all your questions.
I hope you have enjoyed this post.
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