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How to help a depressed person

by Vasile Stef 5 months ago in humanity
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Depression is like a dark cloud that won't go away

How to help a depressed person
Photo by Kat J on Unsplash

Depression is like a dark cloud that won't go away. It has its days when the sun wants to come in but, the clouds are so thick that it blocks the light and its nutrients from getting to the places we need it most, our mind, body, and soul.

Do you know someone who's depressed? Have you ever experienced depression? It's hard to tell sometimes, as some people know how to mask it well. It can begin with just having a case of the blues, feeling down about something that matters or hearing disappointing news that you just don't know how to grasp. Whatever it is you're going through, just know that you are not alone.

But what if your friend is depressed, or showing signs of depression, can you tell? What do you say to this person? Sadly, most people are hesitant when it comes to mental illness of any kind. Why is that? Shouldn't be more on the alert and even better equipped to simply ask the necessary questions? Is it because people are afraid that they'll be called a lunatic, shuffled off to a sanitarium and left for dead? Is it fear of rejection, being ostracized, lost and forgotten? Isn't the very state of being depressed awful on its own, without even having to deal with others putting you in a box and walking away?

We are all still in utter shock at the back to back deaths of both the renowned designer Kate Spade and TV personality and chef Anthony Bourdain. It's hard to wrap our heads around the fact that though both had such levels of fame, wealth and popularity, so how is it that they couldn't find refuge in something or someone. We all have our demons or something that hurts so much, it's too difficult to bare. But, that's what we have friends, and family for, right?

So, what's the real reason people are embarrassed about their abnormal mental state? Could it be, they're already abandoned and neglected by their own family, and community, so they become depressed? I think we may be onto to something here. Sure, there are other factors such as metabolic causes within the human body that has been linked to depression and other mental illnesses, but surely we can agree that our environment has a great deal to do with how we feel about ourselves, and how we perceive the world around us.

If a person doesn't feel safe in their environment, anxiety, and depression are actually normal reactions. They are signals that something is wrong. So, why do we ignore these signals? Are we so blind, and caught up in the daily rate race that we forget that other people exist and matter?

Why don't we notice when our spouses, relatives, and friends need help and do more, even if it takes exposing them? Do we care so much about status, and reputation that we subject ourselves to a cold aftermath and obnoxious questions that we can't answer? Why aren't we bolder when it comes to human life? Can a hotline or a drug cure the pain of depression or anxiety to a satisfactory degree? If this was the case then we wouldn't be talking about depression and suicide like we do in 2018, a time when there is so much awareness.

Let's cut all of the formalities and just say things as they really are, shall we? The truth is people are hurting so deeply that a medicine can't even begin to cure their torment. All the medicine in the world can't make people love more, smile more, talk more, and ask the questions that need to be asked.

So what's the answer you might ask? The answer shows that you care. Don't be afraid to ask the questions that need to be asked. Don't be ashamed to confront the elephant in the room. When someone's life is at stake, your motto should be, "By any means necessary!"

Here Are Some Signs of Depression You Shouldn't Ignore...

People may experience:

Mood: Anxiety, apathy, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or sadness

Sleep: Early awakening, excess sleepiness, insomnia, or restless sleep

Whole Body: Excessive hunger, fatigue, loss of appetite, or restlessness

Behavioral: Agitation, excessive crying, irritability, or social isolation

Cognitive: Lack of concentration, slowness in activity, or thoughts of suicide

Weight: Weight gain or weight loss

Also Common: Poor appetite or repeatedly going over thoughts

Sources: Mayo Clinic and Others

Here's What to Say to a Friend With Depression

"Friend, I hear what you are saying, and also what you are not saying. Whatever you say, it's safe with me. You can tell me what's wrong so that you can be free of what's troubling you. It's important to tell someone how you truly feel, so that your voice can be heard, and that you know that you matter. You need to know that you are loved, even if you don't feel lovable right now, just know that you are loved. I love you. I care. Trust that you will be well soon and that you are not alone. Please tell me how I can help you."

You see, when we let people know that they are loved by our consistent actions, they will begin to feel that they can trust people that love them to be kind, listen, and show them how to put the pieces of their life back together. The journey will begin with accepting their current situation but not choosing to stay there. Support, individualized care and coaching for the mind, body, and spirit are needed and will become a pattern if necessary for as long as it takes, in order to establish a healthy lifestyle.

The entire being must be cared for, so a change in mindset, adequate nutrition, and lifestyle are in order. We accomplish this goal with active listening and harnessing the skills to see deeply while taking immediate action. Mental health is everyone's issue, and we are all responsible for one another.

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Vasile Stef

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