If you ever had a chance to feel depression deep inside yourself or love someone who deals with the greatest enemy of the world, you might actually understand the sorrow and emptiness these people experience.
And that’s exactly what they need. They need our unconditional devotion, compassion. But most importantly our utmost patience and our strength in times when their energy sources are drained to the last drop.
Here’s all you need to understand when you love a person who suffers from depression:
1. Depression is not something they consciously choose. It is one of the most frustrating and hopeless states of mind a person can experience. It is feeling empty, broken, sad, and sometimes nothing at all. It’s a dark veil wrapped around the soul of a person. It’s the scariest boogeyman in your closet that comes out to haunt you whenever you least expect it. And it leaves you paralyzed, incapable of taking care of your mind or body.
2. Saying things like “It’s all in your head”, “You’ll be fine”, “Nothing’s wrong with you” is meaningless. And it only makes things worse for everyone. Blurting out this inconsiderate conclusion shows that you aren’t taking their situation seriously. People who suffer from this condition don’t stay in it because they like to torture themselves. Believe me, if it really was that simple to just carry on regardless, they would do it in a blink of an eye.
3. Sometimes you’ll be pushed away for no obvious reason. Try to understand them. People who deal with this frustrating illness often get the idea that they’re a burden to their loved ones. This results in pushing away everyone around them and becoming distant. They’re enough of a burden to themselves. That’s why worrying about weighing their loved ones as well, will only add up to their exhaustion.
4. It’s perfectly normal to get frustrated. Being around people who experience these intense negative emotions can easily get someone frustrated. And that’s normal. If you feel like your spirits are getting lower, try finding a way to show them your love and compassion without sacrificing your wellbeing.
5. That is why it’s essential to establish healthy boundaries. In those moments when you feel like it is all too much to handle, try to remain calm and stop before you act in a certain offensive or rude manner. Explain your feelings to them. Be patient with them. Tell them all about your issues and try to find a compromise that works for the two of you.
6. Depression makes them easily overwhelmed. It is a very common thing when you struggle with depression. One moment they appear fine, the next they feel extreme fatigue due to a lack of energy. This might manifest as sudden, unpredictable changes in plans, ghosting or “shutting down”. Don’t hold grudges on them. Try to understand the perplexity of their minds.
7. And no matter how hard it is, it’s never about you. It’s their own battle with themselves. Because there will be times when they’ll get lost, and you’ll start blaming yourself for it. But, no matter what happens, it is important to know that it’s not about you. It was never about you. They might need to do something different in order to heal. Let them.
8. Avoid approaching them with ultimatums, impatience, or “tough-love”. Threatening someone that you’ll break up with them if they don’t get better is the worst and most rude scenario I’ve ever heard of. No, it won’t make them better in a blink of an eye. It is your decision to walk away from someone that becomes too much for you to handle. However, using “tough love” to force them to become better, is just manipulative and obscene.
9. They need you to be there for them. Even though most of us assume that these people want to be left alone, they actually need our help. Yes, there will be times when they’ll appreciate the solitude. However, knowing that you’re there for them no matter what will make it easier for them to cope with the situation.
10. Never compare your life or experiences with them. Don’t even try to compare your feeling with theirs. Because we’re all different human beings who bear a load of our own. Express empathy and just listen to them.
11. Just because they’re depressed doesn’t mean that they are weak. On the contrary. I know many people who struggle with the insufferable pain from depression, and yet they get up and make the day count. Because they decided they’re not going to allow depression to take their life away. In all the madness, they managed to find a single strand of strength and hold on to it.
12. Make time to spend together. No matter how much they resist your suggestions for a different scenery like a night out or friend date, you make sure to take some time off in order to hang out with them.
After all, is said and done, you need to remember: Depression isn’t something we should be embarrassed from. On the contrary, we should raise awareness and help the ones in need.
Image: Franca Gimenez