If you have a loved one that suffers from depression then you know that sometimes the depression is just as hard on the loved one as it is on the person actually experiencing the depression firsthand.
When you have a depressed loved one it can be extremely frustrating. You might not understand why this person can’t change the way they feel or why they are so sensitive to everything.
Having a depressed loved one is also very lonely, especially if that person is a significant other because there are times when you feel like you’ve lost your partner in life. Feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, and even abandonment are all emotions that you might feel when someone close to you suffers from depression. You feel like you must walk on eggshells. Everything you say or do is twisted up and used against you because the person is seeing the world through their depression.
When depression takes hold, it creates a window into the world that filters out all the good thoughts and locks up the bad ones. So, what can you do to help your loved one who is suffering from depression?
Be supportive and never shame
First of all, chances are the depression is out of their control. Frustrating as that may be, shaming them for feeling the emotions they feel isn’t helpful at all and most likely will increase the depression. You want to be careful not to contribute to feelings of worthlessness where they feel as though they are being a burden on you or anyone else. It does nothing for them except continue their cycle. Becuase when you are caught in the clutches of depression, sometimes you need to be loved by another and forgiven by another before you are able to consider trying to love and forgive yourself. Be the strength they are lacking and try not punish them for a situation that has surpassed their control.
Be patient and show compassion
Those feelings of frustration and anger and loneliness you feel towards your loved one for being depressed… lock them up! At least for now. Take the time to sit with your loved one and talk. If it takes hours or days or, God forbid, months, talk to them and then talk to them some more. Living with someone who is depressed takes a lot of patience and a lot of repeating the same things over and over again. Be prepared to be shot down and pushed away, but never give up on them. Eventually, they will see past their depression. Never let go of hope or truth. When someone you love is suffering, sometimes you must hold on for the both of you. Be strong.
Keep perspective and be careful you don’t lose yourself
Sometimes we expend so much energy trying to help others that we lose sight of our own needs. It’s important not to be dragged down by your loved one’s depression. Treat yourself to the things you need to recharge and be happy. Try to disconnect your own happiness from theirs. This is perhaps the hardest and most important tip of all.
With much love, patience, and quiet guidance, you can steer your loved one back to a place of health. But be aware that depression isn’t something that generally goes away. There is no real cure for it. Eventually, it will be back again. Take joy in every moment you have with your loved one and encourage them to do the same. Sending much love and strength to you and your loved ones to hold in your heart in times of darkness.
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