Depression is something that is more common amongst the world’s population than many think. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, over 300 million people suffer from one form of depression globally. That means that you’ve probably encountered several people throughout your life that struggle with one form of depression. While not many people understand depression if they don’t encounter it firsthand (and even those who do still struggle with making sense of it all) there are many ways to handle the illness and cope with it on an everyday basis.
While individuals who deal with depression on an everyday basis combat obstacles and trials to get by and live their lives – the depression that they struggle with can also become apparent to those who are closely involved in their everyday lives. Family, friends and significant others often feel helpless when they watch their loved ones go through something that they cannot solve or change firsthand. While depression is something that is not easily solved or “fixed,” there are ways that one can help their loved ones when they go through those deep, dark times.
1. Remember that it doesn’t get better overnight:
Depression is something that people struggle with on an everyday basis. While you think it is hard to be around someone who goes through depression, imagine what it has to be like for that individual who is stuck in that state constantly.
Be patient with them and realize that they’re probably trying the best they can. Instead of telling them to “get over it,” and trying to give them a simple fix to a complex problem – try and be more understanding of what they’re going through and that you can’t solve everything with words and phrases.
2. Focus on the positive aspects of your relationship:
Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of your partner or friends’ depression, find the positive reasons they are in your life. By doing so, you also bring a positive light into their life that they probably need more than they let on.
Remember that there is a reason they are in your life, aside from the struggle they are enduring. Remind them, even if they already know. Small acknowledgements like this go a very long way.
3. Sometimes, create boundaries or take the space you both need:
Just because you’re with someone who suffers from depression does not mean you need to hold their hand 24/7. Often times, you and your partner will get frustrated with each other when you cannot come to a conclusion, get on the same page or understand what the other person is going through. It’s okay – it’s normal, it’s healthy.
Instead of fighting and making everything a bigger mess, it’s okay to take the space you need when you need it. People with depression are not totally incapable of being alone and you don’t need to sit by their side constantly – especially during a disagreement.
4. Avoid calling them “weak,” and “sick”:
Although people who are struggling with a depression disorder are going through something serious, it makes them feel worse when you are constantly calling them weak. In fact, most people who struggle with depression are the opposite of weak. It takes strength to continue to face a constant setback everyday and still succeed in life.