Sunday, 28 March 2021

Helping someone with depression: 8 things you can do to help them which protect your mental health too

Everyone feels down from time to time it's completely normal as not one single soul on this spinning vessel has the capability to be happy all of the time. 

Heck, even Spongebob had bad days. 

He was a fictional sponge but nonetheless, he's a good portrayal of not every day will be a good day, you won't be happy all the time but it is always you (and in Spongebob's case he) who turns the next day around. 

The old sponge always makes sure he has a cracker the next day. Doesn't he?

However, if the feelings become overwhelming and begin to affect your everyday life this can be a sign of a larger mental health issue and we would suggest from the bottom of our hearts that you speak to your GP or seek a therapist - there's no shame. 

It's important we note unless you are feeling strong and in a positive headspace yourself you won't be much use to others. 

It will drain you and you need to take care of yourself before anybody else. Reach out your hand to help as long as you have the strength to hold onto the weight.

Also, worth mentioning mental health problems can develop very slowly which means they can really creep up on you and it’s easy for them to become overwhelming very quickly. 

Alternatively, a lot of people don’t always realise that they are not their usual self and it is often a friend, partner or family member that notices first.

There are always some signs to look out for that may indicate someone is suffering:

• Low mood 

• A loss in interest towards the things that they normally enjoy 

• Changes to their eating for example overeating/bingeing or a loss of appetite

• Trouble concentrating on everyday tasks

• Sleeping more than usual

• Poor hygiene or lack of self-care and love

But how can you help... there are lots of tips to help someone you know who is suffering. So many we could be here for a lifetime. 

Here are eight to get you started...

Let the person know that you care and are there to listen to whatever they have to say.

Sometimes just coming forward and offering to be a listening ear is all someone needs - and often all they want.

Just make sure you do exactly that, listen. 

Hold your advice until they ask for it or ask if they would like to hear it after you have intently paid attention to their words and how they are feeling.

Accept the person for who they are and what they are telling you! 

It usually takes a lot of bravery for someone to confide in you so don’t shut them down or hit them with an alternative opinion just be there to listen without any judgement.

Remember that you may need them one day to listen to you without judging.

Get information about different services that may help them that are easily accessible be that in person or online.

You can’t always solve everything and are not a medical professional so don’t confess to being one in the sake of helping a loved one - it's not going to help.

Sure, you can pull on your own emotional intelligence and past experiences to advise but unless you are a licensed therapist you won't be able to assist much with any dark rooted issues they may have and need professional help with.

The best you can do sometimes is do the research for your loved one as they are likely avoiding it.

It can be easy to apply what they are telling you to your mental health journey, but remember that even if it sounds similar to something you’ve been through everyone's journey is different.

Also, there is a time and a place for your spotlight. 

Sit back and listen to your loved ones. They don't give a fuck if the same thing happened to you five years ago right now and then the back story. 

They want your help!

If you like this article and want to read one similar yet different check out:

- 8 things people suffering from mental health illnesses are sick to their back teeth of hearing

- Simple yet very effective ways to help calm stress, anxiety and panic attacks

Sometimes even expressing how much they mean to you can be helpful when they feel like no one cares.

Tell them how special they are, remind them of their best qualities, make them laugh and bring up a funny memory.

Just try and make them feel good about themselves as much as you possibly can. 

It's up to them to change their vibration frequency but you can most certainly encourage it along.

Don’t just drop off the radar instead drop them a message, go for a walk or call them on the phone whatever you can do.

Even if you ring and say, "I've got ten minutes I just wanted to check-in and see how you are" if you have a busy day will mean the absolute world to them that you even took a second to think of them.

The sad reality is they are likely feeling so low that something so easy to do will go a long way to help get them back up.

It can be a lot for someone to open up and these things can take time so if you only have a few minutes to spare make sure that you can set aside some time to allow the person to fully open up if they need to.

Do not get frustrated with them and constantly try and put yourself in their shoes.

How do you feel when you're low? How would you like people to help you?

Then do it and remember you would want folk to be patient with you. 

Don’t take on more than you can handle - ever.

If you feel like the person needs help urgently or is dealing with something more than what you’re able to control then remember to express your concerns with them and contact medical professionals.

Sadly sometimes you may have to contact professional help despite them asking you not to, this is a very difficult situation and tough on your own mental health to take on.

So if you do have a loved one who is depressed, make sure you take extra care of yourself.

That way you will be more than strong enough to help them. But number one always comes first. 

Written by VavaViolet's writer, Jessica Murray


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