If anyone has had to deal with someone who has depression, or who has had to deal with their own depression, knows that it can be very trying sometimes.
But that someone is always worth it. Always.
So here are 9 ways you can help out that person you love:
First and most importantly, you must realize that proper treatment is key. Depression is a medical condition, and you totally wouldn't not take someone to the hospital for being kicked in the face by a horse, so why wouldn't you take them for depression?
If you keep this in mind, it can prevent you from losing patience or getting frustrated with them because your best efforts don't "cure" their depression.
"People that are depressed can't sleep it off; they can't avoid it," says Gollan. "You can give care and support, but it's not going to solve the problem."
Take Part In Their Care
Take interest and be a part of their care. Offer them rides to their sessions, let them know you're aware that it's a problem that won't just go away.
Use the idea we said before about taking someone to the hospital for an injury, and how this is no different.
Talk To Them
It shouldn't be ignored, but it shouldn't be a constant topic either.
Having said that, you SHOULD talk to them about it from time to time, but make sure you aren't pushing it and that they're being receptive to it.
If they want to talk to you about how they're feeling, know what to listen for.
"This can reduce risk of suicide," says Gollan. "Listen carefully for signs of hopelessness and pessimism, and don't be afraid to call a treatment provider for help or even take them to the ER if their safety is in question."
Stay In Contact
Make the effort to stay in contact. Invite them to be a part of your activities, and do things they also enjoy.
People who are depressed may become isolated because they don't want to "bother" other people.
You may need to work extra hard to support and engage someone who's depressed.
"Activities that promote a sense of accomplishment, reward, or pleasure are directly helpful in improving depression," says Gollan. "Choose something that the person finds interesting." Still, keep in mind that they may not feel interested in the activity right away.
Routines that promote exercise, nutrition, and a healthy amount of sleep are helpful.
A depressed person may ask, "Why bother? Why should I get out of bed today?" You can help answer these questions and offer positive reinforcement.
"Depressive avoidance and passivity can be reduced through activation [to help the person regain a sense of reward] and small goals of accomplishment," says Gollan.
Support them in their small and large achievements. The small ones matter too, so something as simple as getting out of bed in the morning is a victory. You don't have to explicitly let them know that… just be happy and engaging when you get to see them that day as a result of them making the effort to get out of bed.
Learn about depression. Read books. Study. You don't have to let it consume your life, but educate yourself on the most important aspects of the issue.
You might even discover a new type of treatment in the process, which might help more.
Talk to doctors and your friends and see if you can't be recommended local services that could help out.
Some people with depression may not recognize that they're depressed. Explain to them that the condition can get progressively worse, even become chronic, if not treated early. Hence, it's worth investigating supportive services and specialists.
Encourage The Doctor Visit
Be the positive reinforcement behind what could be perceived as a daunting, scary, or embarrassing situation.
Encourage the person to visit a physician or psychologist; take medications as prescribed; and participate in cognitive behavioral therapy for depression.
Be aware of what's going on in a person's life if they've had a past issue with depression, as it can worsen. Have they had a divorce? Did they just have a baby? Financial issues? Close deaths?
All of these can potentially make the condition unbearable.
And in that case, make sure you're vigilant for signs of suicidal thoughts.
If you or anyone you know is battling depression, or having suicidal thoughts, the most important thing on this list is to get them medical treatment and to make sure they're safe. It might be a struggle, but it will be worth it in the end, because that person means a lot to you, and they deserve a better quality of life, including that sought after happiness.
[Image via AP Images.]