The caregivers, the family members and the friends of those who are depressed often feel helpless (or so I was told). I know the reality of chronic pain and it’s often a short, dark road to depression. Not being able to do things on ones own can strip a person of their pride. It shouldn’t. But it often does. There’s all the conscious things one might feel they have lost or can’t do. And maybe they really can’t do some things they did before. They might regain them and they might gain new insight and skills. But often that is hard to see. Then there’s the chemical aspect of pain. It can be a lot. The possibility of overcoming can seem so remote.

This is by no means going to cure anyone of depression but I saw this blog and wanted to share it because maybe it can help someone to help someone. I am not a doctor, not a psychologist..nada. So please do not interpret this as any kind of medical advice (like the rest of this blog). I am posting the Lifeline Hotline page here just in case someone is feeling super remote and reading this.

“So what should you do, when someone you love is suffering so much?

I’m not a mental health professional, but from the perspective of someone intimately familiar with the darkness of depression, here are six ways I’d suggest you can support someone you love:

1. Be there.

Be there unequivocally, without judgment or opinion. Don’t offer unsolicited advice or try to fix everything. Don’t criticize. Just be present, through the sadness and discomfort. Let them know they’re not alone. Your compassionate presence can mean the world to someone in the depths of despair.

2. Show them how much they have to live for.

Don’t dictate to someone how they should or shouldn’t feel — don’t tell them that they should be grateful or positive or anything other than how they are. Instead, let them know how wonderful, valuable and important they are to you, and to others.

3. Help them help themselves.

Show them that there are a wealth of options for people suffering from depression, from support groups to psychiatrists to counselors. Do some specific research — make a list of phone numbers, email addresses, websites. With depression comes a serious lack of motivation, so make it as easy as possible for your loved one to seek help.

4. Know your stuff.

There’s a lot of misinformation and stigma surrounding depression. Educate yourself on the ins and outs of the illness, and you’ll be a much greater asset to the person you love.

5. Go easy on yourself.

You can’t solve someone’s problems or heal them of their ills. You’re not their doctor or therapist, and even if you were, medical professionals aren’t miracle workers, either. People have to participate in their own healing — they have to want to help themselves. What you can do is be there. Show them support and love and acceptance. You can offer a helping hand and a shoulder to lean on. Otherwise, be realistic about your role.

6. Never give up.

Dealing with someone who’s depressed can be frustrating and exhausting. Always tend to your own needs and don’t burn yourself out, but try not to give up on them, even if they do their best to push you away. Stick it out. Your love could be their life preserver.”

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