By Harshleen Anand,
Loving someone comes naturally to us, but the art of continuing to love them despite all odds is something that can take a toll on our hearts. Anybody suffering from depression is already leading a hard life, and the worst we can do is to add more weight to it. Since no one gets depressed by choice and it’s a silent struggle for many people, it is vital for us to realise the importance of not just being there for them, but knowing ‘how’ to be there for them. It could be your girlfriend, your brother or your best friend, anyone who is battling depression. While there are no foolproof ways of getting you through dealing with a depressed loved one, these are a few facts you should remember the next time your loved one has depression and you are the one helping them deal with it:
1. Don’t Blame Yourself And Push Intimacy
In an attempt to make our loved ones feel better, we often go that extra mile and alter our routines and life to help them heal faster. We try to draw their attention away from their state of mind and do everything that it takes to help them feel better, but such attempts are usually met with remorse from their end. They aren’t able to reciprocate and adapt to us and that leaves us feeling empty. We start believing that their depression is mirroring our relationship with them, but that is untrue. Don’t blame yourself and never push intimacy, let them know you are there for them, that’s all.
2. They Are Pulled Down By Life But Not ‘Broken’
Depression makes one feel unwanted, and miserable at times. We assume that people need to be left alone, and that time will heal them, but what we forget is that they are already disillusioned and stuck with something which they didn’t ask for in the first place. Depression is not a ‘choice’, and the fact that someone is merely trying to deal with it requires major appreciation. You need to consciously schedule time together and make them realise that with time and affection, depression will ward off soon.
3. They Have The Strength That Needs To Be Discovered
Mental anguish actually builds up strength in the long run. Experiencing depression doesn’t make you weak for life; it is a temporary phase with no specific timeline and it takes courage, support and affection from loved ones to tap the inner strength which we all carry in our hearts. Just because someone with depression is in a perennial state of melancholy doesn’t mean that they will never come out of it; in fact, if you notice, people who overcome depression bounce back to life with a stronger will to live life to the fullest.
4. They Are Overly Sensitive To Their Surroundings
Depressed people become extremely critical and sensitive to the environment around them. There will be people who will look down upon them, some who will abandon them, and then others who will nurture them. This concoction of reactions from the society around them often puts them on a permanent guard. They try to find solace in melancholic movies and music because they reflect their emotions and help them in their own journey of catharsis.
5. Their Mood Swings Are Volatile But They Are Helpless
They can be cheerful and chirpy one minute, and another minute, something might trigger a bout of emotion and they will end up shutting out the world. Exhaustion and being overwhelmed are common side effects of depression which can lead to an unexplained state of anger, disappointment, or mere sadness. While the mood swings might confuse you, it is worse for someone experiencing them. They might want to hang out with you all day and then not go out for days. Just remember that it’s not because of something you did or said, it’s just that they are having a hard time dealing with this mental state.
6. They Don’t Want To Deal With It By Themselves
Nobody wants to be locked in a cell of depression which gnaws them from inside all the time. Often times, we tend to give up on our loved ones suffering from depression because we see our efforts being met with zero results. You forget that Rome wasn’t built in a day. You need to constantly reach out to them. Remorse and aggression are common responses that you might face but loving someone never comes with the guarantee of a permanent bliss. The challenge is to help them come out of this storm.
7. It’s Okay To Get Frustrated But It’s Unethical To Abandon Them
We are humans and we are fragile in nature. When we are trying to ease the pain for someone else, we often deplete our own energy. It is normal for anyone to be frustrated and feel helpless while dealing with someone with depression, but abandoning them in the middle of their struggle is not ethical. When you love someone, you don’t get to decide when to love them and when to leave them. People often let go of depressed souls because they are unable to hold up for them. You don’t have to constantly self sacrifice yourself and you need to find kinder ways of being strong for both of you. It is difficult, but worth it.
8. Constant Comparison Makes Things Worse For Them
The most common responses that depressed people often have to encounter are the comparisons and heroic tales of people telling them how they embraced their own personal struggle. It is different for everyone and comparing them to someone else and telling them how they are unable to overcome this problem only maximizes their anxiety. You need to let them be and hold on for their sake.
The important thumb rule is that we need to learn the difference between empathy and sympathy. While empathising with a loved one battling depression helps them, on the other hand, offering sympathy for their state only makes them feel worse.