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HealthCare & Wellness Breaking the Chains of Addiction. The Last Door Recovery Society
Mature discussion surrounding important health issues and concerns. Alternative therapies, healthcare questions, discussion of community resources, peer support help, group therapy, etc.

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Old 03-02-2012, 08:56 AM   #1
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Depression, how to deal with a loved one with depression

I have been curious as to how people deal with loved ones with depression.

I have seen a lot of people in my life go through depressing moments (deaths, break ups, job loss ect) but I have never been the one who has been there to support them (was to young at the time).

So I ask, how does everyone deal with a loved one who is depressed?

Serious replys please.

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Old 03-02-2012, 11:01 AM   #2
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First of all you need to assess what kind of depression this is:

Is it event induced (such as the situations you listed)? those are kind of healthy depressions as long as they don't last an exceedingly long time.

Is it what I call chemical depression? This is the mental illness caused by a chemical imbalance in the neurotransmitters of your brain. These people are amazingly good at not seeing 'bummed out' and often the only visible signs is major changes in diet, weight, sleeping pattern and activity pattern.

The second most important thing you need to do is make sure they get professional, medical attention as soon as they need it (Typically if moderate symptoms persist for 6 weeks or the second self harm is even hinted at or possible).

From then you just need to be supportive. Most people with the latter form of depression will not want to talk about it initially, it's confusing and frusterating as there's no 'event' that caused it just just suddenly they aren't right and don't know why. Also a lot of people greatly misunderstand this form of depression. I often tell people that the worst part of it when I had post partum depression was not feeling bad, hell I would welcome a day of feeling bad. The worst part was going days on end feeling absolutely nothing at all.

The people in the event triggered depression group will often want to talk to a trusted person at an earlier time. It's easier, because the 'blame' so to speak can be projected onto the event rather then the person who is suffering, in these situations it's also a lot easier to be supportive and encouraging. As a supporter it's also important to recognise that trying to 'cheer someone up' is not always the best thing to do at least not right away. In the wake of a major and traumatic incident, some degree of the 'blahs' is healthy and in fact it's the people who don't show a normal level of distress or depression when something terrible happens that need to be watched the closest.

Either way often if you know someone's 'currency' (going in a weird way to the love languages) it's easiest to be effective in your support.

Hope that helps a bit.
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:54 AM   #3
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Thanks for the great reply.

This is the outlook I had on the subject as well.
Right now I am in the supportive roll and just being there for the person. I must say it is hard to see someone with such deep hurt and not be able to do something about it even when doing something would be the wrong thing to do.

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Old 03-06-2012, 04:12 PM   #4
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What TheNewGirl says is spot on!!
As someone who suffered/suffers from bouts of depression/anxiety and as someone who is included in a variety of support networks for different people, I find myself familiar with this topic. Depression in all its forms nowadays seems to be something to be ashamed of. It's definitely true that most people may not want to talk about it and a large portion of that desire comes from the labelling/diagnosis process. Nobody wants to be told they have a mental health issue because the connotation of that statement boils down to = crazy/psycho. Personally I'm only starting to see more active campaigns towards the struggle against these sort of issues. My mom has clinical depression so it's something that I have to experience everyday. I have friends who are going through tough times right now (mostly in their early-late 20's).

You have to take in account that while you're sitting talking to one another, your energies are connecting. Depression/negative energy is contagious and first and foremost, always protect your own energy/mind set. Remind yourself that you're there to help this person and if you start feeling under the weather, you need to know when to take a step back and recharge. If you drain yourself too quickly, you won't be able to successfully assist them. I'm very sensitive to energies/vibes so I really have to know my limits or else I'll start spiraling downward too. Maintain a positive attitude/mind set always. Use your positive energy and thoughts to heal the space you're in or as someone once told me "be the light unto the darkness". You don't have to speak to do this. You love this person so let your love emanate in your body language and reinforce your feelings with your eyes. Maintain eye contact and express warmth/compassion in your actions. 93% of human communication is NONVERBAL. Sometimes you can support someone without saying a word or even when you aren't with them but are thinking about them, you can send out positive vibes/energy and good intentions/love for them into the Universe.

I choose to be empathic over sympathetic and compassionate over judgmental. Always give them a safe place to come to and your relationship with strengthen considerably.
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:27 PM   #5
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Great replies so far. One thing I would add is that you need to work in stages when helping someone with depression. In my worst stage I wouldn't get out of bed, wouldn't brush my teeth, would barely eat. At that point I couldn't imagine having a shower, getting dressed, eating a good meal, and maybe getting out for a walk. It seemed like an impossible task. So instead think of small steps. For someone just staying in bed try and get them to have a shower and brush their teeth. Or get them to do anything other than stay in bed. But make sure it's a baby step. Then once they're having a shower etc, get them downstairs, get them eating a meal with others, maybe watching tv. Watching tv may not seem hugely productive but just being up and about and away from that bed is a positive. So don't push it too far at once because it will seem impossible. Just take baby steps and adapt as best you can along the way.

Also if you're really concerned about the health or safety of someone who is depressed, do something. Keep someone with them. Call an ambulance if you have to. It's a lot better to be cautious than think everything will be okay. My Dad took his own life a few years ago, and if we'd just paid more attention to warning signs it might have been preventable. There's no point in us beating ourselves up about it now, but greater awareness and more open discussion on the topic would have been a very positive step.
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