7 Simple Ways to Help a Friend Dealing with Depression
Depression causes 1000s of people to commit suicide each year. Being friends means being there for each other in good as in bad times. Helping your friend dealing with depression is not something that should be neglected; it can be a death or life situation. In fact, this is the best time to prove him you are a loyal friend.
All of us can feel depressed sometimes in life. It is human to feel sad and down when things don’t work the way we planned. It is also common to experience depression symptoms when expectations fail to accomplish. This sort of feeling usually disappears on its own within hours or days. But severe depression is harmful; it won’t go away on its own without proper treatment and support from friends and family members.
However, to successfully treat any depressive disorder, the cause of the problem must be known and addressed. Common factors leading to depression symptoms include disappointment in life, physical abuse, substance abuse, illnesses, taking certain medications, death or a loss of a love one, fear of failure, and feeling of insecurity.
Regardless of the cause, a clinically depressed patient needs love and help. It is crucial to help a friend with depression even he is undergoing medical treatment; love and support are more important than any other medication at that moment. If your friend is going through a sad and depressing moment, it is your responsibility to do everything you can to help her/him recover from the disease if you are really a good friend. But this task necessitates extra effort, motivation and patience. It is also important to know what to do/say and how to do/say it. Any wrongdoing can worsen the situation.
The question now is how can you help a friend with depression?
Here are 7 simple ways to help a friend dealing with depression:
1) Listen Carefully – you cannot fully help someone if you have no idea of the issue. That is, the first step is to listen and try to find out what is troubling and making him depressed. Some may not like to share the problem with others, but prefer to keep it for themselves. If your friend is reluctant to talk do not rush or show signs of impatience. Give a smile or a simple joke to make him comfortable. In case he agrees to talk, you can ask him to share his thoughts with you. Let him know that you understand and want to help him in any way you can.
2) Be Positive in Your Approach – It is good to be there for your friend, but you need to be constructive in your approach. You would worsen the situation if you are being judgmental or talking in a negative tone. After listening and understanding his situation, advise him to remain optimistic by telling him the significance of living a positive life. Explain him that what is troubling him is a temporary problem that will eventually disappear sooner or later. Tell him if something doesn’t work the way he had wanted, there is something better that awaits him. To make your points, you can take some vivid examples of your own life or people that came out of similar situations. Let him know that there are solutions to every problem, even the most difficult ones.
3) Be Realistic – Encouraging your friend is good, but don’t exaggerate. Do not promise he will be a greater dancer than Michael Jackson while you do know he can barely shake his head when dancing. If he was diagnosed with an incurable disease, don’t tell him to ignore the diagnosis as it’s not true. Accept the fact that he is sick, and invite him to take initiative that can help him live longer or miraculously heal if he believes in God. You can invite him to trust and pray God to heal him. Your encouragement will be fruitless, and produce no results if you attempt to ignore the fact. Remind him this quote, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” – Napoleon Hill.
4) Regularly Be There – Do your best to make it a priority that your friend is not alone. Being alone would cause him to have more time to think of the problem. Don’t let him restrict himself at home struggling with the depression. Create funny programs with him; take him out with you – to church, shopping, to the beach, or a movie. You can just hang out with him in nature or in a quiet place. Create dialogue, and get him involve in the conversation. Have conversations that can get him laughing and smiling again.
5) Get Socialized – Get your friend into socializing is not easy but important. Being social will help improve his personal life. But majority of depressed people usually want to be left alone. The low self-esteem depression causes socializing and interacting with others very difficult. Although difficult, do your best to make your friend join some activity clubs to get involved in entertaining activities and meet new people.
6) Protect Him from Abuse – Depressed people tend to recourse to drugs, alcohol to counter stress and depression. Besides, illegal drugs, some patients can excessively use anti-depressants to fight the disorder. Resorting to such ways will do nothing but harm the health of the person, leading to serious complications including death. To prevent these troubles from happening, protect your friend from indulging in any form of abuse.
7) Seek Professional Help – It good to help a friend with depression. But sometimes, alternatives from friends and family members alone are not enough; medical intervention becomes obligatory. Certain types of severe clinical depression require medical techniques like talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy and/or counseling, from an expert to save the life of the person. Seek help from a medical expert and discuss with him the depression symptoms that your friend is experiencing. Use all tactics and sweetness to make him accompany you to the doctor for counseling.
It may take time to get your friend free of depression, and smiling and cheerful again. But trough persistence and patience, you can surely make it. After accomplishment, you will be proud and happy to save a loved one’s life. Some people say they feel a joy after helping a friend comes out of depression. You cannot change the world, but you can change the life of depressed friend. Go now help your friend dealing with depression.