As someone who has numerous family members with some form of depression, I know how frustrating it can be to love them through it. You struggle with trying to find the balance between loving them and trying not to trigger an episode…As an individual with depression, I now know what I did wrong in the past and how I actually made things worse for those I love and not better. Not everyone who is depressed is the same, so don’t treat them as such. Everyone has their own triggers, as well as their own way of dealing with them.
I’m going to give you a few tips to tread lightly while making a positive impact on the ones you love. First, I’m going to tell you what NOT to do because that in itself will cause anyone who deals with depression to spiral out of control.
- Tell them that their overreacting.
- Belittle their ideas/fears/perspectives.
- Diagnose them.
- Ignore them.
- Compare their life/situations to anyone else’s.
- Listen to them.
- Have patience.
- Consider their feelings.
- BE PRESENT.
- Love them.
It takes a lot for any individual to ask for help and it usually comes as a cry for help, just not in the usual sense. I can’t pretend to know what the tell signs are for everyone or your person specifically. If you really know your person, you will pick up on differences, but in the beginning they won’t be obvious, just abnormal. However, as time progresses those little aspects become larger and the individual becomes more withdrawn. When you notice these things, don’t vomit medication or therapy on them. They have to want help in order to accept it. Encourage them to talk to someone, it doesn’t have to be a therapist but someone they trust and respect. The first steps is opening up and admitting things are going astray. Allow them time and opportunity to evaluate themselves and see that they need help. After some time, gently encourage them to speak to a professional because self diagnoses id not a good idea. Having someone who is removed from your life, listen to your story and ask you the hard questions can be life changing. It brings things into perspective and forces the individual to be objective and realistic about what is happening to them.
There is no one fix, everyone is different. But opening up is the start of that journey. Get your loved one talking, then get them to a profession so they can be guided in the right direction.
You just be supportive. Be whatever they need, when they needed it.
In the end, they will thank you for it.
What do you do to calm your loved one down? CAN you calm them down?