Despite increasing awareness about mental health conditions and a breakthrough in recognizing the symptoms early on, there are many misassumptions prevalent among people regarding depression.
People are more likely to acknowledge and show empathy for someone suffering from anxiety or panic attacks. But depression is simply seen as an excuse or a victim’s mindset or negative mental attitude.
Also, people have started making jokes about depression which further reduces the impact of the condition. You must have heard someone say ” I am depressed ” when they don’t get to eat their favourite ice-cream or even if their flight to Paris got delayed.
These are often the people who are quick to advise people suffering from depression to be happy and have a positive mental attitude. They falsely assume that any person can force themselves to feel joy and experience happiness if they want it enough.
Such advice is of no use to people who suffer from depression, in fact, it makes them feel more isolated and misunderstood.
If you know someone who is suffering from depression, then use this as a reference guide so that you can help them out when they need you, instead of forcing them to cheer up.
How to Motivate and Support Someone Who Is Suffering from Depression if you are not trained to do so?
Refrain from Branding or Labelling Them as A Negative Person
People suffering from depression are often having difficulty in identifying with positive feelings. Due to this, they may perceive various situations as negative, which a healthy person may find to be perfectly neutral and even positive.
Often family members, as well as friends, are disappointed when the person suffering from depression does not show the same enthusiasm or joy at the things that they feel positive about.
They even put labels on them saying that they are spoilsports, pessimists, buzz killers, or any such other titles. It can be amusing and endearing for a healthy person, but if you know that your friend or child is suffering from depression, such things will only result in worsening the symptoms of depression for them.
What to do Instead?
If your friend, child, or spouse has expressed an opinion about something, and if they are suffering from depression, the opinion may be negative. If it is so, validate their feelings first, don’t tell them that they cannot feel this way because other people have it worse or everyone else is thrilled. Let them know that it is okay to feel the way they are feeling, and ask them if you can do anything that will make them feel better.
Often, the person may need to talk to you about their feelings or spend some time to get used to something new. Offer you support without judgment and if you think that you are unable to help them, contact someone who can such as a professional counsellor.
Don’t Ignore Their Pleas for Help & Support
People suffering from depression do not usually to open up and discuss their feelings with anyone but they do need help and they may ask for help in various ways.
If your child or spouse talks to you after their feelings, and you may find that they are being overly negative, then stop and just listen.
Listening to their feelings and acknowledging that they are real and with proper medical help and support they can change their situation will empower them and also improve your relationship with them.
If they are not comfortable talking, you can encourage them to write or even to engage themselves in activities that make them feel good.
Seeking Help Without Grudge For their Improvement
There are many people out there, especially family members who know that their child, spouse, or parent is suffering from depression and yet are not able to extend any support to them.
This could be because they see depression as a weakness or an unnecessary hunt for attention. If you are someone like that please know that depression is real and it can happen to anyone even if there is nothing you notice on the surface to be unhappy about.
Neither it is a bid for attention, and it often happens that if you are providing attention to one of your children due to their condition, the other children may feel isolated and ignored. In such cases, try explaining the situation to all your children so that feelings of resentment are not harboured as they are not healthy for anyone.
Look for Various Types of Treatment Options for Depression
There are a variety of things that can be done to help with dealing with depression, if one does not work for your loved one, there are other options to explore.
You can also try changing your counsellors if you find that your child or friend or spouse will feel more comfortable with someone else.
There are counselling sessions, there are group discussions, and then there are talk therapy as well as cognitive behavioural therapy along with medications such as Modalert and Waklert which are being used for the treatment of depression.
There is an increasing awareness and support groups for people suffering from depression even on the various social media platforms.
But before you suggest such platforms to your friend or spouse, make sure that they are safe and conducive to their improvement. Also, please refrain from patronizing them or forcing them, improvement as well as healing takes some time.
Recognize that depression is a medical condition that can be treated with an adequate amount of time and effort.
If you validate the feelings of the person who is suffering from depression, you give them empowerment. An empowered person is more likely to seek treatment and get positive results than someone who is forced to get rid of their depression.