It is rightly said, “Some days I can conquer the world, other days it takes me three hours to convince myself to bathe.” Depression affects millions of people in the US and millions more who are close to the person, often impairing daily functioning, such as work, school, and social life.
While forcing a person to act a certain way is not a bright idea, there are steps you can take to improve communication and maintain a healthy relationship. Below I compiled three ways that can help stabilize your relationship with someone you love who’s suffering from depression.
1. KNOW THE SIGNS
Recognizing the symptoms of depression can be a bit tricky. Individuals exhibiting symptoms of depression may feel euphoric one moment, then melancholic, or even suicidal the next.
During an episode of depression, one may feel a sudden burst of high self-esteem, and euphoria, but when the anchor drops, a depressive episode may include symptoms such as loss of motivation to complete basic everyday tasks — like taking a bath or finishing a meal. Other hallmark symptoms of a depressive episode include changes in sleep, energy level, thought patterns, and concentration. It’s crucial to learn and remember these signs, as it will be easier to understand your loved one’s thinking and behavioral patterns.
Is someone close to you feeling down and refusing to go out into public? If so, remember this: never force someone to do anything they are not ready for. However, do encourage them to go out for a walk with you.
If your loved one is taking psychopharmaceutical drugs, make sure you encourage him/her to take the medication every single day as instructed by their physician because a missed dose can drastically impact the road to recovery.
Saying the wrong thing can shake up your relationship, so below are words of encouragement with strong potential to help ease depressive symptoms.
1. “I love you!”
2. “I care about you.”
3. “Do you want a hug?”
4. “You are not in this alone.”
5. “I’m not going to abandon you.”
6. “We’ll ride through this. We’re in this together.”
7. “When this is all over, I will still be here with you.”
8. “All I want to do now is give you a hug and a shoulder to cry on.”
9. “Hey, you’re not crazy!”
10. “I understand what you’re going through and I’m here for you.”
11. “Don’t worry, I will take care of you.”
12. “You mean a lot to me.”
13. “If you need someone to talk to, I’m here.”
14. “After rain comes the sunshine.”
15. “No matter how many times you fall on your face, you are still moving forward.”
Finally, be there for them no matter what. Whether they’re feeling irritable or on the brink of tears, recognize that they are suffering. Also, prevent them from isolating themselves. Include them in as many social events as possible. Even a simple walk in the park would work.
And spend time with them — anything to make them feel upbeat — because, at the end of the day, anyone suffering from depression just wants to feel accepted.
Jose Florez is a writer on mental health and the founder of Mental Daily.