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How to Be There for Someone with Depression

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

When someone is suffering, it is important to remember to lift them up rather than push them down further. This may seem obvious and/or simple, but just be there for them. Be the shoulder they need to cry on, be the ear that listens to them, be the positive influence in their life, or even just sit there with them in silence if that is what they need. Try to be a helping hand by offering to do simple, daily tasks for them - tasks that they may be too depressed to handle on their own (i.e. doing the dishes, paying bills, making the bed, doing the laundry, cleaning up, etc.). Any help will be appreciated, no matter what it is. Make sure you tell them you love them and care about them - that was always something I needed to hear, but never heard enough. Tell them you are proud of them, for small and big things - like getting out of bed for the day or getting dressed. Avoid certain phrases such as:

- Suck it up

- It's not that bad

- Get over it

- You're too sensitive

- You sleep too much

- Quit wasting your time being sad

- You're so negative

- Other people have it worse (side note on this: never compare your pain to someone else's, we all hurt in different ways - "...even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn't really change the fact that you have what you have" - Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

- You don't have anything to be sad about

- Stop feeling sorry for yourself

- You're bringing others down with you

- You should get out more

It's important to make sure you're not blaming them or belittling their depression.

Here are some phrases that can help:

- You're not alone, I'm here for you

- Let me know what I can do to help you

- Even if I can't understand, I care about you and want to help

- You are important to me

- Your life is important to me

- You are loved

- I'll be here for you no matter what

Another way to help, but should be taken with caution is offering to help them find a doctor or therapist to see. Some people may be hesitant to seek professional help, I know I was, but I came to terms with the fact that it was the best way to get the help I needed. Don't push them on them if they are reluctant, but try to bring it up casually every now and then, especially if you believe there is a chance of suicide or they are not getting any better on their own. If they do decide to seek treatment from a professional, be supportive of the treatment.

Depression is a real illness that affects too many people in today's world. Be patient and understanding when trying to help someone with depression. Please remember to always be kind to others for you have no idea what kind of battles they are struggling with.

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