Don’t say things like “you’re not depressed” to them. Instead, try these more effective ways for how to deal with a depressed person.
If you have never experienced depression, well, first of all, you’re very lucky. And second of all, it’s not an easy thing to go through. Of course, you may have been dumped and felt depressed for a couple months but then eventually you bounced out of it. Learning how to deal with a depressed person means a lot more than a flip phrase.
For some people, it’s not that simple as to just “bounce out” of it. Of course, if you’ve never experienced depression, you wouldn’t know. So, I get it. And it’s great that you ended up on this feature because you want to know what you need to do to help you and this person out. [Read: Is it ever worth dating someone with depression?]
How to deal with a depressed person
When you ask a depressed person what depression feels like, most of them describe it as feeling as if stuck in a dark hole. Of course, there’s no way to know what it feels like unless you experienced it. But it’s prolonged feelings of hopelessness, irritability, and sadness.
So, for someone dealing with depression, it’s not something that changes overnight. But, if you know how to deal with someone with a depressed person, you’ll be a support system which is what they need. Just don’t tell them, “it’s gonna be okay”.
#1 Depression is serious. You may be thinking that what they feel isn’t a big deal. Remember, depression is a very serious condition. It affects their energy, quality of life, motivation, and personal relationships. Just look at the relationship with this person, you probably noticed a change. So, in reality, depression has the ability to literally take over someone’s life. [Read: 15 revealing truths about feeling alone in a relationship]
#2 Do not pretend it doesn’t exist. If you’re wondering how to deal with a depressed person, don’t think your friend is just having “one of those days.” Acknowledge their depression. It’s nothing shameful. By ignoring it, you actually make the problem worse, and in fact, prevent them from seeking treatment. This person, whether your father, sister, or best friend experiences depression and you need to accept that. [Read: How to be a good friend? Follow this code]
#3 You can’t fix them. I know you want to help them and get them feeling better and this is just because you love them, but you cannot fix them. It’s a problem that you do not have control over, so don’t take on responsibility for their depression. Essentially, the person with depression is the only one who can help themselves.
#4 Do not drown them with positivity. Don’t become one of those annoying cheerleaders that always preaches some inspirational quote they found on Instagram. They’re depressed and trust me, your inspirational quote will not help. Yes, compliment them or tell them a positive story of something that happened in the world, but don’t choke them with it.
#5 Let them talk about it. You want to be there as a support system, so, let them talk to you about what they’re feeling. Don’t say to them, “you shouldn’t feel that way” or “but we all love you,” if you’re going to say that, better you say nothing. If you want to understand how they feel, be open and allow them the space to express their feelings whether you agree or not. [Read: 10 ways to be a better listener]
#6 Validate their feelings. You and this person live in two different worlds. You don’t know how they feel and what they’re actually going through. So, the best thing you can do is be supportive. This means, instead of trying to approach them logically, validate what they have to say instead.
If they talk about how tired they are, instead of telling them to go to bed early, say to them, “What you’re going through sounds really hard. I’m sorry you’re not sleeping well at night. Can I do anything to help?” This way, instead of giving them advice, you ask them what they need.
#7 Offer your support. If you want to know how to deal with a depressed person, remember that it’s not something easy to battle alone. Yes, this is something they have to do themselves but having a support system is important. So, do offer your support.
Ask them if they’d like you to find a doctor or therapist with them, if they need you to make appointments, etc. People suffering from depression tend to have low energy, so these small acts help. [Read: 12 signs you’re being selfish in your relationships]
#8 Encourage them to go out with you. Of course, there will be days where they don’t want to go out, but do not take that as defeat. Continue to ask them out and invite them to activities. If they don’t want to go out, suggest a movie night at their place. Essentially, try to support them via activities and quality time together. Don’t get discouraged if they say no. Keep asking.
#9 Be self-aware. Also make sure you stay strong while you support this person. So, this means you need to be self-aware. Make sure you’re aware of your emotional state and how your body reacts. If you see them every day and notice fatigue, then, perhaps see them every second day instead. Though you are a support, you need to also take care of yourself.
#10 Set boundaries. Don’t think you’re a bad person for setting boundaries. At the end of the day, you also need to take care of yourself. When it comes to understanding how to deal with a depressed person, boundaries aren’t something negative. Instead, it makes sure you still have control over your life. You don’t want to burnout. So, make clear boundaries on what you will and will not do because you can only do so much.
#11 Do stay focused on your life. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in someone else’s life, especially when they need help. Though you may change some parts of your daily routine, it’s important to keep your life as close to how it was prior to helping this person. Do see other people and keep yourself active. [Read: 15 ways to discover self-love and happiness]
#12 Talk to a therapist. You also need to have support. You’re not a trained physician. So, dealing with someone who has depression isn’t something you’re used to. Make sure you speak to someone who can help you through the process. They’ll be able to talk to you about how you’re feeling and provide you with tools to use.
Though you may not have experienced depression, it doesn’t mean you cannot be there for the people around you suffering. Just follow these tips and you’ll figure out a support structure that teaches you how to deal with someone with depression.
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A serial dater, Natasha Ivanovic knows a thing or two about men and the dating scene. Much of her writing is inspired by her encounters with men - and for good ...