Chances are, someone in your life is struggling with depression, anxiety, or some other form of mental health issue. It can be hard to know when to push, when to step back, and how to let them know you’re there if they need you without being too far away to grab onto.
Below are some pieces of advice from people who have been there, so take heed.
#15. Like normal.
“Check up on them, be there for them.
Otherwise, just spend time with them like normal, try to interject a little fun into their lives.”
#14. Be available.
“Make offers. Don’t force them to come out, but reach out to them. Make sure they know you’re available and that you’re actively interested in hanging out / talking with them. Listen when they talk, and don’t try to turn to a similar experience you had. Listen to them, and discuss how they are feeling, not how you felt / would feel.
Contact them first, if you guys are texting / messaging, make sure you let them know when you’re done. A simple:
Hey I’m getting tired and I’m going to bed, nice talking to you
is A LOT better than the next morning:
Hey sorry I fell asleep on you
The first one let’s them know you’re just tired. The second one makes it seem like you just stopped paying attention and fell asleep, and they’re going to feel bad about it all night.
There is no magic cure for depression, assuming this is true depression and not just a bout of sadness or a dip. They need to pull themselves out. What you need to do is be available as a foothold for them, and let them know you’re there. If that makes sense.”
#13. Don’t quit.
“Don’t quit on them.”
#12. You can’t do it alone.
“Let them be depressed, but let them know you’re there to talk.
It is very difficult to help someone through depression, and usually you can’t do it alone.”
#11. Lots of thoughts.
“It’s really hard to put in to words what would help me when I’m not feeling well…. I think everybody is different. There are a lot of good ideas in this thread showing what can help; a lot of times i will read a comment on reddit and think “I would just ignore that if someone said that to me”
I was actually thinking about this very thing when I was driving back to work from lunch, “what would I say to someone to help them cope when they have depression attacks or to help someone with depression”. My mom sent me a msg this morning saying how something reminded her of me “many many years ago” when I was a baby and she was holding me…. I looked at the msg, didn’t open the pic she sent me, and closed the app.
I guess it just depends on the day how I feel what would help me. I don’t act like the same person when I have “bad days”. I’m a BIG fan of music and I have days that I can’t stand to turn on the radio in my car or listen to it at work, I just need silence.
Definitely DON’T say “try to feel better” or “just think happy thoughts”….trust me….we’ve tried…..that’s not the problem. Also, a lot of times when I’m asked “what’s wrong”, there is no answer for that. I don’t know what the matter is or what the source is or I could focus on that thought and eliminate it. It feel like there is a cloud of gray around you that follows you around and you cant think/act clearly. Even the smallest thing will irritate me and change my mood.
I like it when people don’t treat me different bc they know I have depression. Talk about normal things and don’t make me the focus of the conversation. When I’m ready to talk about my feelings (which is rare), I will talk about them to you.
Sorry for my ramblings. I can’t really form a concrete answer on a “silver bullet” to combat depression, but hopefully there are some ideas in those paragraphs above.
EDIT: It’s a tough disease that affects many individuals, even people who don’t realize they have it. If someone is reading this that has depression, like me, I HAVE DEPRESSION, trust me…..go see a dr and get some medication if necessary. Talking to a therapist, or even the right friend WILL HELP. YOU WILL FEEL BETTER AFTER TALKING TO SOMEONE. Don’t keep this to yourself, it will just make you unhappy and feel worse longer. Do you want to feel like you do now or even worse, or do you want to feel better? Remember those days that you could smile and enjoy things? <i started tearing up after writing that line> You can feel that way again. Admitting that you have depression doesn’t mean that “you’re crazy” or “you have a weak mind”. Would you say that to a person that has cancer? “Just try to feel better”…….”think happy thoughts and it will go away”……of course not. Depression is a disease, caused either by trauma or an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. It’s not your fault you feel this way. It’s very unfortunate that there is such a stigma regarding mental issues in the world that we live in. Hopefully soon it will start to fade and more people will get needed help. Stay strong and try to take one day at a time. You’ll have ok days and you’ll have TERRIBLE days. If you’re reading this right now, you’ve passed 100% of the worst days you’ve ever had and even if you don’t want to admit it, you’re stronger today because of it. Don’t give up. <ok now im legit crying, i hate you reddit, but i love you too>”
#10. There is no silver bullet.
“Be there, be available, and let them know it. It’s almost impossible to know if “leave me alone” really means that, should they say it. They’ll reach out when they’re ready. Be there and be available when it’s time.
There is no silver bullet for depression.”
#9. Just listen.
“Just listen, honestly.
Giving advice never really works. Some gentle prodding towards a therapist is about it, unless they ask for your advice.
Realistically they just want to get the weight of what they’re thinking out of their head. Sometimes thats all it takes and their day is improved, Sometimes that means them straight up telling you they want to die. A lot of people feel better as soon as they say that.”
#8. Just give me a hug.
“As someone who doesn’t have any supporting me through my depression, i can say that I wish I had someone to just give me a hug. Something so simple can really go a long ways to making my day better.”
#7. The little things.
“Clean their house, do some laundry, because the small things can be overwhelming for them.”
#6. Focus their attention.
“Focus their attention to the present.
Depression is living in the past, unable to come back on command.
By that same coin, anxiety is living in the future, unable to come back on command.
That last bit – of an (in)ability to come back to the present on command – is crucial to being aware of what’s happening in our experience.
It is useful to be able to move into the space of the future or the past. To plan or reflect.
A master of time is one who exists in the present, can move forward or backward in time… and ON COMMAND, return to the present.
Urge your friend to build their mastery. Control is what we seek; catharsis is what’s sought.”
#5. Don’t stop.
“Don’t stop inviting them to hang out or go places with you even if they keep saying no or flake on you. Depression makes it feel like nobody is there for you, and eventually it is like that because all the invites stop, which leads to more depression.”
#4. It’s okay to not be okay.
“Ask them if there’s anything you can do and tell them it’s okay to not be okay give them resources to get help tell them they aren’t a burden and that they just need to take everything one step at a time.”
#3. In return for their turmoil.
We all have experienced sadness and we all can agree that talking helps. More than talking, our recipient plays the most crucial part in the healing process. We don’t need advisors and counselors, we need listeners. Someone who can just absorb our words, feel our pain, resonate to our chaos, and not go all ape shit psychologist on our heads. Whatever bouts of sadness you face, be it marks, college admissions, heartbreaks, job scenes, work pressure, it really counts to have listeners in life. Also, hugs can do wonders. Having someone who will calmly listen to your problem and bear your rants keeps you stable.
Just be there. Just offer your silence in return for their turmoil. Just sit there and let them know they are not alone. Just make your presence felt. Just listen. Keep your philosophical and practical insights to yourself for the time being. Those who need advice will come to you.
Don’t tell him/her to simply move on. Don’t tell him/her it’s a phase. Don’t tell him/her to just let it go. Don’t offer your half-baked psychological inputs. Don’t tell him/her to learn to focus. Don’t blame him/her for his/her misery. Most importantly, don’t tell him/her shit like stop being sad and smile.
The next time you know of someone who is exhibiting symptoms of depression, reach out, give them the tightest hug, and JUST LISTEN.
(excerpt from an online blog I stumbled upon)”
#2. It feels nice to be cared about.
“I’m not clinically depressed, but I’ve been having a really really tough time lately.
I’ve got a bunch of friends who I’m close to, and I’ve been able to confide in. I think it just helps the most when someone texts and asks how I’m doing. Usually I bitch about my life in response, but it feels nice to do that, and feels nice to be cared about, even if it’s just for a second.”
#1. Spend the time.
“My best friend just went though a rough patch I just spent as much time as possible with her letting her know I loved her and that it’s ok to not be ok.”