Depression is a disorder that affects millions of people. If someone you love is suffering from depression, it can be difficult to know how to help them. At the office of Dr. James Campbell, LLC we have many years of experience working with patients with depression and their families, so we have put together this article to offer tips on how to support your loved ones who may be struggling with this condition.
- Recognize that depression isn’t personal —First, you should know that depression doesn’t just make people sad but is also likely to make them irritable. This condition affects the chemical balance of the brain, and that can make it harder for a depressed person to connect to others emotionally, even the people they love the most. If your loved one lashes out at you in anger or frustration, try to remember that this is a manifestation of their illness, not a genuine reflection of their feelings towards you.
- Understand that your loved one is not lazy. Another thing that depression interferes with is what’s called executive function, or the ability to prioritize tasks and make and carry out plans. If your loved one seems to be neglecting basic tasks, it’s not because they lack motivation or willpower, but because their brain is making it harder to identify what needs to be done and to actually get started.
- Compassionate listening is more important than advice. Lastly, if you are trying to support a loved one with depression, it is more helpful to give them space to talk about their feelings and to listen compassionately than it is to give them advice. Make sure to affirm that you love and care about them and let them know that they are not alone.