Your loved one is really struggling with depression, which may make you feel frustrated, confused, and distress yourself.
Perhaps you may feel as if you are walking on eggshells since you are afraid of offending them even more. Maybe you keep offering your pieces of advice, which they are not taking.
However, showing love and support is very significant. Here are the various ways to best show love to those with depression.
1. Be there
The best thing to do for somebody with depression is to always be there. The most healing times comes when someone they love simply stays with them or wordlessly holds their hand or speak warmly to them.
2. Try small gestures
If you are not comfortable with expressing emotions, you can show that you love them in different ways. You can send a text or a card, cook a meal or leave a voicemail.
Such gestures provide a loving connection, and they are also a symbol of hope that helps guide loved ones during dark moments.
3. Don’t criticize or judge
What you utter can have a powerful impact on the loved one. Avoid statements like: “You need to see things half-full, not half-empty” or “If you get up out of bed and walk around, you would see things much better.”
These words suggest “that the loved one has an option in the way they feel and has just chosen, to be depressed.
4. Avoid a tough-love approach
Many people think that when they are tough their loved ones will certainly undo the depression. For example, some people may deliberately be impatient with the loved one, offend them, be callous to them, or even provoke them.
This is actually a hurtful, and as useless as ignoring and pushing away someone suffering from cancer.
5. Do not minimize their pain
Statements like “You are too skinny shame a person struggling with depression. It will invalidate what they are experiencing and totally glosses over the reality that they are struggling with a difficult disorder, but not some personality flaw or weakness.
6. Avoid offering advice
This probably seems very natural to share a piece of advice with the loved one. Whenever somebody we care about is experiencing a tough time, we want very much to fix their heartache.
While it might be true that depressed people need help, saying it makes them feel more inadequate, inferior, and detach further.
You can instead ask, them what they think needs to be done to help them feel better. This will give them an opportunity to ask for your help.
When someone asks for help he/she is more inclined to be shown the right direction and be guided without feeling inadequate.
7. Avoid making comparisons
Unless you have experienced depressive episodes yourself, stating that you understand how someone with depression feels isn’t helpful.
While your intention is perhaps to help the loved one feel better in despair, that can cut short your discussion and minimize the experience.
8. Hug them
Studies reveal that a genuine hug that lasts more than 20 seconds can well produce feel-good chemicals in your brain and boost the mood of the receiver and the giver.
Depressed people normally do not like being touched, but a genuine hug can give your loved one a lift.
9. Learn as much as possible about depression
You can avoid misunderstandings by educating yourself about depression. After you understand the course, symptoms, and consequences of depression you can support your loved ones even better.
For example, some people think that if someone with depression has got a good day, they are cured. Depression isn’t a static illness.
There is a flow to symptoms that most non-depressed people do not understand. An adult who is feeling hopeless can still laugh at jokes, and a child who is in despair can still attend classes, score good grades, and even appear cheerful.
The reality is that symptoms of depression are lingering somewhere else hidden, so it is very important to understand that depression has got a far and often unnoticeable range.
10. Be patient
Patience is a crucial part of supporting loved ones. When you are patient with loved ones, you are letting them understand that it does not matter how long it will take, or the hardships that accompany passage from the beginning of the symptom to recovery, since you will be there.
With patience, actually comes hope. At times supporting those with depression might feel like you are walking a very tight rope.
But keep in mind that simply by being there for them and asking how you may help can be a great gift.