Understand The Downward Spiral Of Depression
Gaining perspective on what your loved one is experiencing can be critical to the support process. Visualizing depression as a downward spiral is one way to simplify and understand clinical depression.
The downward spiral may begin with the person feeling worse than usual from physical, social or psychological stressors. A worsened mood may lead to taking part in fewer meaningful day-to-day activities. Self-criticism and stress increase due to mounting responsibilities or missed opportunities. Depressive thinking may encompass guilty thoughts, pessimism and irritable behavior.
As the spiral develops, a complex dynamic emerges. Your loved one becomes increasingly stressed while simultaneously less capable of coping with this stress. The response of the brain to this dynamic is to slow, stop and depress. A person can get stuck at the bottom of the spiral for weeks, months or years.
The silver lining is that if people can spiral down, they can spiral back up. However, depression affects the motivation, energy and curiosity needed to spiral up.
It’s disheartening that you can’t fix a loved one’s depression or spiral up for them. But you can help them get started and continue moving on an upward path.
What Should I Do If Others React Negatively
Some people dont understand that depression is an illness so you might face some prejudice or stigma.
You could tell them about websites like Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute so they can read up for themselves. You might also decide that it is just easier for you if you dont talk to them about it again.
Or Spend Time With Loved Ones
Depression can tempt you to isolate yourself and withdraw from people you love and trust, but face-to-face time can help wash away those tendencies.
If youre unable to spend time together in person, phone calls or video chats can also be helpful.
Try to remind yourself these people care about you. Resist the temptation to feel like youre a burden. You need the interaction and they likely do, too.
Research has shown that keeping a journal can be a beneficial add-on method for managing mental health conditions.
Writing down your thoughts can help you express what youre feeling more clearly. It can also help you keep track of what symptoms youre having each day and identify what causes them.
You can make a goal to write for a few minutes each day or week. Most importantly, what you want to write about is completely up to you.
When you do the same thing day after day, you use the same parts of your brain.
Research shows doing new things can feel rewarding improve your overall well-being and strengthen your social relationships.
To reap these benefits, consider trying a new sport, taking a creative class, or learning a new cooking technique.
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Talking To Someone With Depression
- Be ready – are you in a good headspace, and do you have the time?
- Be prepared – are you ready for a difficult conversation where you dont have the answers?
- Pick your moment – have you chosen somewhere comfortable to talk, and an appropriate time?
Small Steps Big Impact
If a person feels sustained, intense, feelings of sadness or loss of interest in activities, they may have clinical depression. People also refer to this condition as major depressive disorder.
However, there are small steps you can take to help you gain more agency in your life and improve your sense of well-being.
Read on to learn how to incorporate these strategies in a way that makes sense for you.
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Supporting Someone Through Depression Treatment
Your loved has taken an incredibly brave step by asking for help for their depression. From here, the best thing you can do is be as supportive as possible throughout the treatment process.
Note that if, at any point, you think your loved is at risk of suicide, take immediate action. Call a national helpline, like Samaritans, book an urgent appointment with their GP, or head straight to your nearest A& E department.
- Continue to help out in any way you can. From housework to just being a sounding board, its important that you continue trying to be as helpful as possible
- Suggest activities. There are lots of ways people can cope with depression. One of these getting themselves out there, which can be achieved by things like exercise or a taking up a new hobby. You could suggest that your loved one starts looking into activities that they enjoy, that could potentially be a distraction for them. However, if they dont feel up to it at that time, then dont put any more pressure on them
- Be realistic. Even during treatment, there might be bumps along your loved ones road to recovery. If they do seem to be having small setbacks, remain patient and understanding, and dont let frustration set in
You Dont Need To Stay With Him
Protecting your mental health is more important than being with him, no matter how much it seems like he has become everything to you. If the relationship is bringing you a feeling of pain over happiness despite attempts to make it healthy leaving is the right decision.
It might seem like you are abandoning him, leaving him at the mercy of his depression and without your love to protect him. Nonetheless, men have a responsibility to work with those they love to overcome depression and make it more manageable. You should leave any man who is not doing enough to make the relationship work, and men who suffer from depression are no exception.
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What To Say To Someone Whos Depressed
If your loved one does want to open up to you, its important that you respond to them in a compassionate and supportive way. You could use phrases such as:
- Im here for you if you need me
- What can I do to help?
- This must be incredibly difficult
- Its ok to feel like this
- Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness
- Try to look on the bright side
Ways To Help A Friend With Depression Or Anxiety
If you want to be there for someone whos dealing with depression or anxiety, youre already being a great friend. It can be hard to know exactly how to help someone with depression or anxiety, and what to say to someone who’s having a rough time. Remember that each person is different, and while these tips are a guide, when helping a friend with depression or anxiety, its important to talk with your friend about what they feel they need.
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Dont Suffer In Silence
Get support, whether from family, friends, your academic advisor, campus counseling center, or a trusted online community. A heart-to-heart talk with someone you trust can help you get rid of toxic feelings and may even give you a fresh perspective.
If these steps dont bring relief, or if you are still unable to cope and feel as if the stress is affecting how you function every day, it could be something more acute and chroniclike depression. Dont let it go unchecked!
Stay Positive And Get Active
What if your spouse refuses to go to therapy? You may feel hopeless, but try to stay positive, because depression often is treatable, Barber says. Although your spouse may need to stick with therapy and/or medication for a few months, up to 90% of people with depression do improve with treatment.
âWhatâs important is to give them affection. You may feel rejected. But itâs situational, and their behavior is just part of the depression,â he says. âBe encouraging. Invite them to do more activities together that are fun. Do something active like exercise. Depression often causes lethargy. Invite your spouse to go for a walk or to the beach if you have one nearby.â
Whether your spouse agrees to go to therapy or not, there are a few things you should not do in response to their anger or denial, Ben-David says.
âAvoid blaming or attacking them for their behaviors. Donât keep saying, âYou did this, and it made me feel bad.â Bargaining with them is also generally not helpful. Taking an all or nothing approach doesnât work,â he says. âInstead, suggest healthy activities that you can do together or with friends that you trust. Go to an outdoor concert or listen to music that you both enjoy. One behavior that I sometimes prescribe for couples is to read to each other. This has a nurturing quality and can help with bonding.â
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Be Ready To Take Action
If your friend says theyre ready to seek help, thats a big breakthrough and you can play a crucial role in supporting them. For a seriously depressed person, action often requires a large amount of emotional effort, since the illness can make them feel drained and hopeless.
Arranging a visit to the persons primary-care physician can be a good way to get the process started, says Dr. Bates. People may be averse to going for mental healthcare because of perceived stigma, she says. If you can engage the person around their physical complaints, you can say, Why dont we get this checked out? A lot of depressed people have body aches and pains its called somatization. Be aware, your friend may be more receptive to taking their doctors referral to a mental health professional than accepting a recommendation from you.
If their doctor assesses that your friend is not in immediate danger of self-harm then they will likely refer them to a psychologist or psychiatrist. You can offer to go along on the appointment, help them set a date and stick to it.
If your friend is expressing hopelessness, dont be afraid to gently ask about suicidal thoughts and intentions you need to know in order to help. If they are actively suicidal, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline , or accompany them to the emergency room. Be their advocate with the police, paramedics, admitting department, nurses and doctors. While this can be difficult to do, it can save their life.
Feelings Of Hopelessness Or Pessimism
When figuring out how to deal with a depressed spouse, observe that they may not be able to see any good in the future with depression.
They might think that nothing will ever get better, that they cant do anything right, or that they have failed at everything. If this is the case, they may be depressed. This is because depression often causes people to lose motivation and hope for the future.
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How To Reach Out For Depression Support
Look for support from people who make you feel safe and cared for. The person you talk to doesnt have to be able to fix you they just need to be a good listenersomeone wholl listen attentively and compassionately without being distracted or judging you.
Make face-time a priority. Phone calls, social media, and texting are great ways to stay in touch, but they dont replace good old-fashioned in-person quality time. The simple act of talking to someone face to face about how you feel can play a big role in relieving depression and keeping it away.
Try to keep up with social activities even if you dont feel like it. Often when youre depressed, it feels more comfortable to retreat into your shell, but being around other people will make you feel less depressed.
Find ways to support others. Its nice to receive support, but research shows you get an even bigger mood boost from providing support yourself. So find waysboth big and smallto help others: volunteer, be a listening ear for a friend, do something nice for somebody.
Care for a pet. While nothing can replace the human connection, pets can bring joy and companionship into your life and help you feel less isolated. Caring for a pet can also get you outside of yourself and give you a sense of being neededboth powerful antidotes to depression.
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What You Can Say
For a long time, no one really talked about depression at all. Now were working hard to change that and we need to learn how to talk about depression in the right way. You cant help someone with depression in any meaningful way without talking to them about it. Thats why its so important to have the courage to speak up and find your words.
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Offer To Help With Tasks
For those who live with depression, even small tasks, like brushing teeth or cleaning up the kitchen, may drain emotional bandwidth. For this reason, offering to help with something seemingly small can make a huge difference in someones day.
If you have capacity, offer to start a load of laundry, walk the dog, watch the kids for a couple of hours, or drive them to the store.
Dont Make Excuses For Them
Empathy and support are vital when living with someone with depression, but they will also need encouragement to push themselves and try to help themselves improve. Depression is difficult, but it can sometimes be used as an excuse to avoid doing things that will help them to feel better.
The best person to tell what someone with depression cant do versus what they wont do is often the person living with them. You will be able to tell better than anyone if they genuinely cant get out of bed all day or if they do not want to. Dont push them too hard, but do encourage them to push themselves beyond what they want to do.
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Lifestyle Factors That Affect Mood
When you have depression, you can find ways to take control of your life and manage your treatment even beyond medications. Making some lifestyle changes can boost your mood and help alleviate many of your symptoms, including low self-esteem. Minimizing stress as much as possible is a good idea when youre depressed, especially unnecessary or avoidable stressors that people can be pulled into when theyre depressed, says Erik Nelson, MD, a psychiatrist and assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio.
Living With A Depressed Person
Depression is much more than a bad mood. Its a disorder that casts a shadow over a persons thoughts, feelings, perceptions of the world, and their relationships with others. This makes living with someone who has depressed quite the challenging task. Researchers estimate that almost one out of every five people in the US will experience major depression at some point in their lifetime. So chances are youll have a loved one who has experienced the disorder at one point or another.
Depression looks different for different people, so shake off those stock images of the crying person who cant get out of bed. Though people might experience this intense sadness, others may feel irritable, anxious, or angry. That constantly irritated friend who cant concentrate or sleep at night? He might actually be depressed. Other signs to look for might include loss of interest in activities that were once fun, difficulty making decisions, changes in sleeping and eating, loss of energy or sluggishness, feeling guilty or hopeless, and even suicidal thoughts.
If you live with someone with depression, such as a romantic partner or a family member, youll encounter your own hurdles. These might include:
Feeling angry about the disorder
Perceiving the depressed person as ungrateful or too needy
Fear or anxiety in expressing your frustrations
Feeling your relationship needs are not met
Feeling frustrated by lack of participation in chores
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Does Anyone Have Any Good Resources On What To Do With Negative/depressive Thoughts
Im having trouble because a close friend is suggesting that the solution is to filter myself, and that by speaking about the negative feelings I am having, Im speaking them into existence, reciting negativity like a mantra. This makes me feel guilty for having negative feelings at all, which seems counterproductive. I also feel like its putting on a mask, burying the hard stuff, and just ultimately is less healthy for me. Does anyone have any helpful thoughts/quotes/articles to share on the subject? I would really appreciate any input! #Depression#NegativeThoughts#copingskills#HowToFightDepression#HowToDealWithDepression
Avoid Being Critical Or Making Assumptions
If you have never experienced depression, it can be difficult to understand what your loved one is going through, which is why its so important to avoid being critical or impatient. Theyre probably being very self-critical already, so responding to their needs in a non-judgemental way shows that you recognise what theyre going through is difficult.
Remember, depression is different for everyone. Its really important that you dont try to make comparisons or assumptions. The only thing this is likely to do is make them feel invalidated and misunderstood, which could then lead to a further decline in their mood as well as discouraging them from opening up.
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