By Chris Tobias, Special to CAW
Depression can be a terrible disease that affects every area of life, making it difficult to hold down a job, maintain relationships, stay healthy and perform regular daily tasks. The COVID-19 pandemic has made things worse for persons previously suffering from depression. COVID-19 has also claimed some new victims. Watching someone you love struggling with depression can make you feel helpless, but there are several ways you can help.
Take the Pressure Off
Many people with depression feel guilty for the way they feel and worry about how their condition is affecting their family. Try to avoid blaming your loved one or pressuring them to get better, as guilt and shame will only worsen the symptoms of depression and make it harder to recover.
Listen to Them
Taking the time to listen can make a huge difference, especially if your loved one has no one else to talk to. Depression is often the result of suppressed feelings and emotions; talking about these feelings can be a cathartic experience and may even be the key to recovery.
Allow Them to Find Their Own Solutions
Well-meaning friends and family sometimes make the problem worse by offering unsolicited advice. However, depression is a complex condition and there are no simple solutions or shortcuts to recovery. Recovering from depression involves a personal journey; each person will find their own solutions throughout the process.
Ask What You Can Do to Help
Rather than offering advice, ask your loved one what you can do to help. Just letting them know that you are there and you’re willing to help in any way they need can make all the difference for many people.
Know When to Seek Help
Sometimes people are unable to find a way through depression on their own, so it’s important to know when to seek help. When your loved one is battling depression, it’s normal for them to withdraw a little and lose interest in things they once found enjoyable. However, complete withdrawal is a warning sign that professional help is needed.
Finally, it’s important to remember that recovery from depression will take time. Your loved one will have good days and bad days, but the more support they have, the easier it will be to recover.