If you’re like a lot of women and want those whom you love to be able to get to know the best of you. My childhood was filled with challenges. mother did exactly that. She kept her problems from us. This included her depression struggles. She was my entire world. It wasn’t until I reached the age of adulthood when I started to realize this part of her that she kept secret, and the roles were reversed.
In my later years, I watched my mother’s depressive disorder become more difficult to control. She eventually tried to end her own life. No person in my family could have seen the possibility comes. After her suicide attempt, I was lost as well as in a state of confusion and anger. Was I missing something? How did I not know things were so bad? What else would I be able to do to assist her? I grappled with these questions for quite a while. I wanted to find out if there was anything I could do differently. Also, I wanted to be aware of what I needed to do to move forward. I was scared she’d end up in the same deep, dark hole once more.
In the time since her suicide attempt, I’ve been a consistent supporter of my mother, helping her maintain her physical and mental health. However, despite her subsequent cancer, stroke, and other health problems her mental health remains the most complex component in the overall puzzle. It’s the thing that causes both of us to suffer the most.
As of 2015 6.7 percent of the U.S. adult population had at least one major depressive episode according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Supporting someone who is depressed isn’t easy. You might have difficulty figuring out what to tell or say. I was struggling with this for a long time. It was my desire to help her but didn’t know what to do. Then, I realized I had to understand how to help her.
1. Be educated
“You aren’t able to solve the problem until you understand what’s the issue and therefore defining the issue can be extremely beneficial,” says Bergina Isbell, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist. “Determining whether it’s the blues due to a disappointing experience or loss of a family member, or a case of clinical depression can impact your attitude.” Therefore, the first step is to, “find out more about what’s bothering you or your beloved one” She says. If the issue is one of the cases of clinical depression, education is essential, according to Indira Maharaj Walls LMSW. Most people think of depression as a feeling of sadness that lingers around, but many don’t know how depression actually is and how difficult it can be to overcome. understanding will prevent misconceptions and help you provide greater support, Maharaj-Walls states.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America is a fantastic source of info. Dr. Isbell also suggests Mental Health America for more detailed information on grief, and depression as well as other mental health education sources.
2. Practice self-care
“Caring for someone who is depressed is difficult,” says psychotherapist Mayra Figueroa-Clark LCSW. Making sure you’re capable of sustaining your self-care routine and are a part of others who are like-minded and can recognize when it is time you need to tell “no” is more important than you think, says Figueroa-Clark. If we’re trying to assist those we cherish, it’s common to forget about our personal requirements. Be aware that to provide assistance to someone you love you must be at your very best, which means being able to take care of yourself whenever you require it.
3. Ask them about their needs.
If asking someone what they want seems simple enough, it is often ignored by those who wish to be helpful. It’s true that you can give the best help by asking your loved ones what they require. “On one side, the nature of their condition could cause them to feel certain of what is best for them, but often, they may be able to provide information about what is helpful and doesn’t harm,” says Glenna Anderson, LCSW. Give your loved ones the opportunity to speak openly about their needs and be prepared to fulfill them regardless of whether you do not think it is valuable or what you’d want in the same circumstance, Anderson explains. If you ask questions, you’ll be able to give the most needed items.
4. Don’t be the sole source of help
When I was a teenager, and I began to fully comprehend the depths of my mother’s depressive disorder I came to realize that I was the sole person she relied on for support. I’ve come to realize that this arrangement was not healthy for us both. “Consider support groups offered by the National Alliance on Mental Illness,” says Dr. Isbell. They provide family groups that allow you to learn more about mental illness, as well as group support for people who are struggling with depression, to assist in the process of seeking help as Dr. Isbell explains. It is also important to have a group of relatives and friends that can support you and your loved ones. “Plan an event and check whether others are willing to help with small tasks,” says Figueroa-Clark. Checking in with an email to cook food can be helpful when it comes to helping the person who is struggling, Figueroa-Clark says. Remember that you don’t have to be the only one providing the support. Even if someone is suffering from depression is your spouse or parent it’s not necessary to handle this on your own. “Be open and willing for listening, however, be willing to assist them in reaching for help from a professional,” says Dr. Isbell.
5. Be careful not to be critical or judgemental.
Making judgments or being critical frequently happens without intention However, it can also cause an awful amount of harm. “Never critique or minimize your feelings, as this can cause more harm,” says Maharaj-Walls. Instead, concentrate on showing compassion. If you can imagine yourself in another’s position, they will perceive you as a reliable source of comfort and love. That doesn’t mean you have to be in agreement with the choices they’ve made, but it is important to give them the freedom to feel vulnerable and not fret about the negative reaction from you, she suggests. “Listen to them with an open listening ear” the doctor. Isbell. “Your friend’s life might appear like a picture from the outside, however, you’re not aware of what issues they’ve had to face in the past or are currently dealing with today.” It’s not always as simple as they seem, so be supportive without judging.