One of the biggest ways of helping someone who has depression to do something to feel better is to stay connected. This might be difficult as the person might want to withdraw so we suggest:
- Let them know that regardless of whether they do or don’t do something to feel better, that you are not giving up on them and are there whenever they want to take your support.
- Access support services for yourself and encourage them to do so also.
- Get on with your own life, while staying connected as best you can with the person you care about.
Recovery from depression is possible.
Depression or bipolar disorder can lead to tension in relationships.
Support for the individual is important, and so too is support for those who care for the individual and are impacted by their experience. There are many sources of support available. Even where a person is refusing to acknowledge that they are having difficulties or refusing to get help, it is still possible for their relatives to seek support for themselves.
Thoughts, feelings and beliefs can all impact our mood: it is important to focus on helpful action.
Sometimes, though it may be difficult to accept, leaving a relationship which is causing significant distress may be best. If you are at this point we recommend that you discuss your options with someone who cares about you. This may be your GP, a family member or a trusted friend. A relationship counsellor may also be helpful.
There is a balance between doing too much and too little for someone who is experiencing depression. When someone is experiencing severe depression it can be such a relief for people who care about them to cook them meals, bring them shopping and help them with basic jobs such as cleaning. Later, as they recover, it is important that those same people who care about them resist the temptation to do everything for them.
Being a compassionate listener is one of the best ways of supporting someone you care about. And finding a compassionate listener for yourself is also vital.
People who experience depression do recover. Aware has a range of services and supports for people who experience depression and for people who care about them.