Do It In A Casual Environment
Research has shown that doing some form of activity, whether its going for a walk, or going out for a coffee, can improve peoples mood. Thats why its a good idea to talk to the person when youre out doing something together that you enjoy. Not only will this serve as a distraction so that both of you can gather your thoughts if needed, but being in a generally better mood is likely to make it much easier for you to open up about depression.
How To Talk To A Depressed Friend
Do you ever freeze up when you get a text that goes, Hey, Im depressed.?
I remember a while back when a friend sent me a text to tell me that she was depressed. It was the first time that Id ever gotten a message like that and I was scared.
I was scared because I had no idea what to say or what not to say. I didnt know how to talk to a depressed friend.
So, you know what I did?
I ignored that message and pretended that I didnt see it for a while. By the time I was finally able to gather my thoughts to reply, my friend said something to me and those words haunted me for a while.
I wanted to kill myself today and that was why I reached out to you. But I guess its safe to say that you dont care, nobody does.
I felt my heart shatter after I read that message. It was at that point that I decided that I was going to understand everything there was to know about depression.
You need to understand that you might be the reason why your depressed friend lives or dies. Youre the middle line between that tiny spark of hope and total unbreakable numbness.
I know its not easy talking to someone who is suffering from depression, especially when youre totally clueless about the whole thing. And the crazy thing about being clueless is that you can actually make it a whole lot worse.
You might end up saying the wrong words and those wrong words might worsen your friends depression. It might ultimately trigger his or her suicidal thoughts.
- Thoughts of death or suicide
How To Talk To A Depressed Person
By | Submitted On November 09, 2006
It is very frustrating to talk to a depressed person, because they see everything in a negative manner. They are driven by silly fears, standing far away from good and seeing only the bad in the world.
Talking in a supportive tone is the best way to resolve a large percentage of problems. But it is very difficult to indulge in a happy conversation with a depressed person. The communication will differ according to the situation and what the people involved feel comfortable with. If it is so hard to determine whether your approach is right or wrong, use a neutral tone of voice. Any wrong thing that has a wrong tone can send the depressed person screaming or yelling.
If your words are in keeping with his feelings, it can be of great value to the depressed. By and large you have to be understanding and empathize with him. This will create a bond of trust between the two of you and the depressed person will open up his mind before you. If the depressive tells you that his life is a failure and everything is hopeless, you can suggest some ideas to him that will bring him off his way of thinking, thereby making him feel better.
Reinforcing the mental strength of a person by suggesting mental models, giving more constructive autosuggestions, using positive metaphors, guiding the person to confront situations are among the methods you can use to improve the condition of your depressed loved one.
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The Risk Of Suicide Is Real
What to do in a crisis situation
If you believe your loved one is at an immediate risk for suicide, do NOT leave them alone.
In the U.S., dial 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
In other countries, call your countrys emergency services number or visit IASP to find a suicide prevention helpline.
It may be hard to believe that the person you know and love would ever consider something as drastic as suicide, but a depressed person may not see any other way out. Depression clouds judgment and distorts thinking, causing a normally rational person to believe that death is the only way to end the pain theyre feeling.
Since suicide is a very real danger when someone is depressed, its important to know the warning signs:
- Talking about suicide, dying, or harming oneself a preoccupation with death
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness or self-hate
- Acting in dangerous or self-destructive ways
- Getting affairs in order and saying goodbye
- Seeking out pills, weapons, or other lethal objects
- A sudden sense of calm after depression
If you think a friend or family member might be considering suicide, dont wait, talk to them about your concerns. Many people feel uncomfortable bringing up the topic but it is one of the best things you can do for someone who is thinking about suicide. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a persons life, so speak up if youre concerned and seek professional help immediately!
You Dont Need To Do Anything That Makes You Uncomfortable
Feeling pressured into something, such as social situations when youre feeling depressed can be incredibly upsetting. You may feel obliged to appear cheerful, which can be very difficult. Knowing these events can be avoided for the time being can help a person feel relaxed and allow them the time to focus on their own health.
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Make Sure Youre Not The Only Person Who Knows
If your friend is depressed or suicidal, however the conversation goes, there can be great pressure if you thinkyoure alone in supporting the person. Cordero says its important to help the person identify a support network by asking questions like:
Who else have you talked to about this?Have you talked to your mom or X or Y person?Who else do you think could also be involved in helping to support you?
If they can name other people, great, she says. Otherwise, you can make suggestions. Parents, a significant other, another friend, or a therapist are all good contacts. If youre asked not to tell anyone, keep your word unless you think theyre suicidal. The one time its okay to break that confidentiality is when you feel like theyre going to be of harm to themselves or to someone else, right? says Rosen.
If your friend already has a therapist, and you know the persons name,another thing you can do is call the therapists office and leave a message. The therapist cant share any information with youdue to HIPAA privacy laws, but nothing prevents the therapist from listening to you and incorporating your thoughts into your friends care. The therapist may not call you back, but at least you know that the therapist knows.
Head of a Woman,
Ask Your Friend If Theres Anything You Can Do To Help
Depression saps a persons energy, so there are probably a ton of things that theyll need help for.
However, they might be reluctant to accept your help at first. Dont rush them but assure them that if theres anything they need you for, youll be there to help.
Sometimes, they have zero ideas on what kind of help they need, so be prepared with a few specific questions:
- Could I come over later to help out with laundry?
- Could I come over with your favorite meal?
- Do you need help with grocery shopping?
There are a ton of things that you can offer to help with and trust me, it would mean a lot to your friend.
So, always ask if theres anything you can do to help.
Sometimes, all they want is someone who will listen while they talk, so be prepared.
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Youre Not Alone I May Not Understand Exactly How You Feel But Youre Not Alone
Depression is incredibly common. Its estimated that from 2013 to 2016, of U.S. adults experienced depression at least once.
This is from the data we have. Many people dont seek help.
Depression can make many people feel alone and like they should isolate. Tell them theyre not alone. Be there for them, even if you dont have a similar personal experience.
If youve had depression, you can share that you know what theyre going through. This can help them relate. However, keep the focus on them. Remember to listen first.
Ways To Respond To Someone Who Is Depressed
One good thing that came out of Robin Williams death is that we are once again talking about depression. Depression can be a silent killer and still has a stigma despite the numbers of people who struggle with it in any give year. We dont like to talk about it, mostly because we dont know what to say or worry we might say the wrong thing.
So we avoid or stay silent. Worse, we offer platitudes that make the depressed person feel even worse.
No one likes to hear, Snap out of it, Think of all the good things in your life, or the classic, Time heals all wounds. Those phrases accentuate powerlessness, guilt and hopelessness because at the moment, none of it feels true.
So how do you respond when someone tells you he/she isnt having a good day or is depressed?
1. Try to talk the person out of being depressed. This is like trying to talk someone out of having high blood pressure.
2. Minimize their pain.
3. Tell them you know just how they feel. You really dont.
1. Comfort with a statement of empathy, It must be difficult, or I see you are really struggling.
2. Encourage the person to get through the moment, not the entire day.
3. Listen a lot. Be in the moment with the person.
4. Stay connected with the person via text or short messages. A brief, Praying for you is good.
5. Offer help if the person seems receptivedepression is treatable.
6. Be available when the person is ready to talk. Isolation plays on the mind in negative ways.
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Why You Should Talk About Depression
Naturally, the prospect of disclosing your depression to other people is scary. You have no way of knowing for sure how they will respond.
But choosing to tell the people closest to you about your diagnosis and your struggles can be very healing, especially if they offer support and encouragement.
In fact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, simply talking to a sympathetic person can reduce your stress level and improve your mood.
Likewise, letting other people know about your depression provides a safety net of sorts, especially if your condition worsens or if you need help or support.
In some cases, you may even want to share your crisis plan with a few trusted friends or family friends. This way, they know how to respond if your depression hits crisis level or you start talking about suicide.
The key is that you try not to deal with depression alone. Being depressed already heightens feelings of isolation, loneliness, and hopelessness.
You can help counteract these feelings by surrounding yourself with supportive people who remind you that you are not alone and that you are lovedeven when you don’t feel that way.
Pray For The Spirit Of Depression To Go Away
Yes, people actually do say this.
I was on Twitter when I came across a tweet of a suicidal victim. The victim said he was tired of being numb to things and he just wanted to end things.
After tagging a mental health support group in the tweet and making sure that they were aware of the suicidal tendencies of the victim, I decided to scroll through the replies to the tweets. What I saw shocked me and for a while, I couldnt keep my mouth closed.
This is real!
People in the comment section were telling this guy that it was the devils work and he should just pray for the spirit of depression to get out.
I almost choked on my drink that day, because it wasnt just one person that was actually saying such thing.
Depression isnt a spirit and its not caused by a demon of any sorts. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain, an illness that can be treated.
So, please, never say this to your depressed friend. Tell them to see a professional.
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Im Here If You Want To Talk
This is more of a direct suggestion, choosing something that you know the friend or loved one is going to be interested in doing. Maybe they just want to talk . Maybe they need a nudge to get up, get changed, and go out and just do something anything. You can be that person to help them get moving.
How To Tell If You Have Depression
Depression affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms.
They range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety.
There can be physical symptoms too, such as feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive, and various aches and pains.
The symptoms of depression range from mild to severe. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently low in spirit, while severe depression can make you feel suicidal, that life is no longer worth living.
Most people experience feelings of stress, anxiety or low mood during difficult times. A low mood may improve after a short period of time, rather than being a sign of depression.
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Get Help With Talking To Loved Ones About Mental Health And Depression
If youre finding it difficult to speak with people you care about regarding your experience with depression, professional help is available. Specifically, family therapy can help both families and individuals dealing with depression with how to talk about depression. This way, a healthy and supportive environment is created and maintained when addressing depression and the symptoms that come with this mental health diagnosis.
Who Should You Talk To About Depression
Before talking to those you love about depression and symptoms youre dealing with, it can help to pinpoint who you want to tell. First and foremost, its important to understand that you dont have to tell anyone about your mental health issues if you dont want to. Its completely up to you. So, if there is family or friends who you dont want to talk to about depression youre experiencing, dont feel that youre obligated to tell them. But, its also important to know that telling people about what youre going through can be helpful. This is because sharing this part of your life with those you love can provide you with support and encouragement when you need it.
So, when determining who youre going to talk to about your depression diagnosis, make sure you consider those you trust. And, those who you know will be a source of support and encouragement. These types of people will listen to you without judgment and not base your identity on your mental health experience.
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Other Ways To Be Supportive
Loved ones can support people with depression in many ways, but it is not possible to cure another persons depression.
While it may help to encourage a person to seek treatment, it is not possible to force someone to see a doctor or therapist.
Instead of trying to force a specific outcome, therefore, focus on cultivating a loving environment.
Some strategies that can help include:
- inviting the other person to do things that they once enjoyed
- using humor if it usually helps that person
- avoiding spending all of the time together talking about depression
- taking care of your own needs and setting boundaries if you feel uncomfortable
Avoid saying anything that dismisses the persons symptoms, judges them for their emotions, stigmatizes depression, or makes them feel hopeless.
Some examples of what not to say include:
People who love a person with depression may also need external support from friends, family members, or a therapist.
More Of The Worst Things To Say To A Person With Depression
41. “You’re just looking for attention.”
42. “Have you got PMS?”
43. “You’ll be a better person because of it!”
44. “Everybody has a bad day now and then.”
45. “You should buy nicer clothes to wear.”
46. “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
47. “Why don’t you smile more?”
48. “A person your age should be having the time of your life.”
49. “The only one you’re hurting is yourself.”
50. “You can do anything you want if you just set your mind to it.”
51. “This is a place of business, not a hospital.”
52. “Depression is a symptom of your sin against God.”
53. “You brought it on yourself”
54. “You can make the choice for depression and its effects, or against depression, it’s all in your hands.”
55. “Get off your rear and do something.” -or- “Just do it!”
56. “Why should I care?”
57. “Snap out of it, will you?”
58. “You want to feel this way.”
59. “You have no reason to feel this way.”
60. “Its your own fault.”
61. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
62. “You’re always worried about *your* problems.”
63. “Your problems aren’t that big.”
64. “What are you worried about? You should be fine.”
65. “Just don’t think about it.”
66. “Go Away.”
67. “You don’t have the ability to do it.”
68. “Just wait a few weeks, it’ll be over soon.”
69. “Go out and have some fun!”
70. “You’re making me depressed as well…”
71. “I just want to help you.”
72. “The world out there is not that bad…”
73. “Just try a little harder!”
75. “You need a boy/girl-friend.”
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