The death of Robin Williams kicked me in the gut and the biggest pain was when I found out that he had committed suicide because of Depression and other issues. You could ask how could a man who is so committed to make us smile, laugh and love go through Depression. The truth is there is no logical reasoning behind the Depression. It has more to do with biological, psychological, and social factors.
According to Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), Depression is the leading cause of deaths, accounting for more than 66% percent of the 30,000 reported suicides in the U.S. every year and nearly two out of three people suffering with Depression do not actively seek medical help. I don’t know about you but this number seriously scares the crap out of me.
If these number scared you and if you think you have a friend or a loved one who is feeling ‘the blues’ one too many times, then its times to give this post a good read.
Major reasons for not knowing to deal with Depression – Ignorance:
I believe that one of the major reasons why Depression is not taken seriously is that it is often misunderstood as people may equate it with being sad or unhappy. There is a huge difference between being depressed and having Depression. I personally have faced this situation and even though I was angered by their ‘It’s no big deal’ attitude I later on realized that they actually don’t know the difference. I strongly believe that the first step in supporting someone/anyone with Depression is understanding it.
So here we go;
Depression is an illness. It’s not the same as being unhappy or sad. Sadness is a human emotion, it is a natural reaction to painful and grieving situations. It is a transient feeling where the sadness lessens with time or the sadness might escalate due to any grievous circumstances and may temporarily reduce your ability to enjoy life. Depression is so much more than sadness. It is a painful and life-altering condition and comparing these two will seriously piss out anyone going through Depression.
Still want to know how to help your friend? Read on for some tips…
Tips to remember when deal with Depression:
Tip #1 – Be informed:
The next step to take after knowing the difference between ‘Being depressed’ and ‘having Depression’ is to be aware of the symptoms so that you can be sure that your friend is indeed going through Depression.
In addition to low mood and loss of interest, Depression can have other troubling symptoms as well, which includes:
- Sleep problems - Sleeping too much or too little or having disturbed sleep.
- Loss of appetite issues - Eating too much or too little.
- Low energy levels.
- Not able to concentrate.
- Negative thoughts or feeling pessimistic.
- Withdrawing from other people.
- Feeling overwhelmed and sounding hopeless.
- Losing interest in previously loved activities or hobbies.
- Saying “I’m too tired” too often.
- Significant changes in weight.
- Feeling agitated.
- Feeling worthless or extremely guilty most days.
- Frequent thoughts of dying or suicide.
Depression varies from person to person so the above symptoms might not be an exact match. If you gut says that something is off with your friend, then trust your instincts and observe them. If you are still not sure whether your friend or your loved one may be suffering from depression, screening tests exist that can help you determine whether seeking a professional evaluation is advised.
Tip #2 – Don’t abandon them:
It is my sincere and heartfelt request to not to abandon your friend or loved one during this period. Nothing hurts more than knowing that your so called loved ones are leaves you when you need them the most. Be there for them. I know it is difficult to be near a person who just gives out so much negativity. Stay put, show them your love and bring back the light and positivity in their life. Just this act alone can help escape the darkness that is trying to engulf them.
Tip #3 – Don’t offer them silly advices:
Please refrain from offering the following advices:
- “Snap out of it”- Believe me if they could they would. This shows that you haven’t completely understood their situation.
- “Try staying positive”
- “Praying will help you”
- “It’s all in your head”
- “Just get over it”- I would personally punch anyone who says this to me.
- “You should get out of the house more often.”
Tip #4 – Encourage them:
It feels good to be appreciated and for a person suffering from Depression it is almost therapeutic. You can do the following to uplift them from negativity:
- Treat them – Doesn’t matter if it’s big or small. It can be just ice cream. Just treat them.
- Gently coax them to pursue their forgotten or lost passion.
- Don’t let them be on their own for a long time – Engage them in some conversation or activities.
- Take them out – Even a walk will distract them.
- Give them hope.
Tip #5 – Don’t belittle their pain:
People suffering from Depression go through so much negativity and even physical pain at time. If you can’t understand their pain…fine, but don’t depreciate it.
Tip #6 – Get them medical help:
It is shocking to know that two out of the three people don’t seek medical attention. This is because mental illness is still a taboo and people are ashamed of disclosing this fact to anyone, especially their loved ones. Makes them feel that it is nothing to be ashamed of and doesn’t make them look like cowards. In fact, tell them they are the most courageous person as they are fighting this battle within themselves and still breathing. Be their pillar of strength when they do seek medical attention.
Tip #7 – Patience & Kindness is vital:
Depression is not like a fever that diminishes with a week’s course of antibiotics. Depression is curable. With support, love and medication it can overcome. Don’t let your loved ones become a part of the bitter statistics.
I hope you have found this article educational and helpful. I am not a physician. I claim no medical training or the ability to dispense medical advice. I am simply a voice, crying out, sharing my experience with depression and hoping that someone else’s life can be made a little better because of it.