After “releasing” my depression story and having so many heartfelt messages from you all, which I’m so so grateful for and I still cannot believe how loving and kind my readers are ! I thought it would be good to talk about looking after / keeping an eye out on someone who you think has depression. It’s difficult for everyone and I know that it can be hard to know what to do, so I thought I’d share with my experiences and with what my friends have done to help me. I decided to write a mini guide on the small things which can have such a positive impact on someone fighting depression.
Photos : @annabrzozowskaphoto
DISCLAIMER: I’m not a therapist, medical specialist, or have any qualification on this matter. What I write in this blog post is simply using my own experience and expressing what worked for me. I cannot guarantee that these methods will work but I am using my judgement and history to help you as much as I can.
Empathise not Sympathise
This is what my flat mate told me and it makes so much sense. If someone is telling you how they really feel? Then empathise with them, understand their perspective, and don’t judge, just listen, and recognise the emotion that they’re feeling. If you can empathise with someone, they feel less alone, they feel like people understand what its like to be in the same position. Of course you might not exactly know what they’re feeling, but you might be able just to understand where they’re coming from and that would really help them. Try to think of a situation which you felt the same way and explain to them how you felt like that too. You don’t have to know what to say, you just have to connect with them. Don’t put a silver linings on what they’re saying… If someone has depression you can’t just tell them… at least you have… because I promise that would make it much worse… So connect and try to understand their perspective… It really does help.
Something I found with myself was that I was always got so irritated when people pushed me to get therapy, or to talk to someone or just do anything in general about it ! I haven’t actually put a finger on it why I felt like that… I mean, I know deep down that they were probably right and that I should go see someone. But I guess it’s an element of “I didn’t want to believe it,” I didn’t want to believe that I have a problem and in my head so I thought the best way to get over it was just to forget it and move on. Yep, totally the worst way to conquer depression, but the first step to getting better is to admit that there is a problem. For a lot of people, the first step is the hardest, admitting you have a problem, could take days, week, months or even years. So if you know someone who you believe it suffering, it might not be the best thing to continuously tell them that they should “get help” or see someone. Yes, I would say it’s okay to mention it briefly, maybe in a passing comment to the person you think is suffering, but it definitely wouldn’t do them any good if you constantly tell them that they need to see someone. I almost think that the more you do that, the more you talk about it, the longer they’re going to be in denial and the longer it’s going to take for them to realise that they should get help… I don’t want to keep repeating myself, but as I said earlier, don’t push them. Don’t push them unless it’s extremely severe and if it is severe the please do go and seek medical advice immediately !
Figure out the Issue
So, this is definitely much easier said than done, but if you can figure out what their triggers are, e.g. with me, if I’m left alone to do work, or at home alone, it somehow ends up badly. So if you know what the issue is, it’s much easier to help them without realising. For example, with me, my flat mates know that I shouldn’t be home alone, so they always make sure that someone is either at home or they sort something out, like suggest that I go see a friend if they’re going out etc. So without really realising they’re already helping me by eliminating the triggers, but by doing it this way, I don’t even realise that they’re helping me. It might be harder than that to figure out what the “issue” is, but with time, you can start to pick up the patterns, then it’s easier to figure out exactly whats going on. For example, if you notice than someone is spending a lot of time in their room, then maybe it’s something to note? Try and get them out of their room and get them to join in activities ! It’s a tricky one, but If you can help someone without them realising then you’re doing more than you realise !
If They Want to Talk, Listen
Sometimes, when someone feels really rubbish about life and they just want to talk about it, the best way to sort things out is to talk… It can be sometimes really hard to give them advice, or to even understand what they’re thinking. But sometimes all they need is someone to listen to what they’re saying and just to be there for them. If they’ve bottled something up, they’ll probably feel so much better by just talking it all out. Of course it might not actually solve all they’re problems, they won’t suddenly not have depression… but just listening will probably help them out a lot more than you probably realise ! So just sit down with them with a hot chocolate or a tea and listen to what they have to say…
If it’s Serious, SEEK ADVICE
So this has got to be the most important point of the this whole blog post, but if you suspect that what they’re going through is extreme… such as they’re self harming, suicidal etc then you must tell someone ! Whether that be your boss at work, or the student services at university etc. If you know that they’re really not okay then the best way to help them is get help from someone who knows what to do. It might not be the easiest decision to make, and I would say that if you do seek advice, it’s best not to tell the person you’re seeking advice for. They might be offended and don’t yet want to admit that they’re not okay, so they probably wouldn’t be happy with the fact that you’ve gone to get help. No matter what they think or say, if you think they need help then PLEASE go and seek advice ! It might just be something that saves a life…
I know that this blog post is short, but I really don’t think that you actually need a long winded explanation of how to help someone … You just need a short and sweet explanation on how to help someone and I hope it does the job ! There is nothing more than to help people, so even if this only helps a tiny bit… It would make me so happy ! If this did help , please please do do tell me !
I’ll see you in my next one, Izzy xxx