5 Things People With Depression Want You To Know
The word depressed is used quite flippantly for any emotional moment of sadness, but what really is depression? People with depression, myself included, often find others are confused about the symptoms and their impact on a person’s life. I’ll run through the 5 things you need to know.
Assumptions are often made, and before I ever experienced depression, I thought if only they did so and so, they would feel better, or if they just did this, the depression would lift. However, over twenty years later and a life full of experience of living with depression, you cannot just get over it. It goes deep to the core of your being.
The symptoms of depression are wide-ranging, and you can check out the depression symptom list on the website; it can take the form of severe to mild depression but the two things common among most people I know who have experienced it and myself included is hopelessness and lack of joy in their usual activities.
People with depression can often hide they are depressed and may go many months putting on a face of normality even though they are crippled beyond belief. All their energy is spent on putting on this facade when, if they let their true nature show, it would help recovery quicker.
I know full well about the mask of normality, and it has caused me more delay on the path to wellness than anything else.
People With Depression Want You To Know
The 5 things I have found from my own experience that will help a depressive person feel more in control are as follows, but at the same time, they need a safety net surrounding them.
There is nothing worse when you are depressed and surrounded by good wishers, all who have an opinion on how you can get better. Although, well-meaning they can often make things worse. People with depression need space.
They need to be in their own bubble to fight the fight of their lives, they may be going into battle alone, but that does not mean to say they want to be completely alone; they need the back-up of a support system, one who knows when to step in and can recognise the symptoms of the depression if it takes a nose dive into self-harm.
The support system can be in the form of a medical professional, a good friend or a family member who can step in if things start to go really bad.
Space is needed, and people with depression can often get frustrated and irritable if there are too many interventions in their lives, even if it is the continuous offering of help or a cup of tea.
Keep your distance but stay close, an oxymoron if ever there was one, but the depressed person needs to know they have space to fight their battle, but they also have back-up.
When I am depressed, noise is my enemy, from an overly loud tv to constant chatter from a family member. It sets my brain and ears on edge.
If you live with someone with depression, make sure you take action to quieten your behaviour; if the kids are running riot, take them outside to burn their energy off. Be mindful that loud noise and rooms full of commotion can be akin to a chainsaw firing up next to an ear. It can be horrendous for a person with depression.
Just as you wouldn’t expect someone with a broken leg to walk up the shop, don’t expect a depressed person to want to join in on conversations or even partake in a gathering as it is too much for the brain. The brain is temporarily broken, just like the leg, and it needs time to heal.
The last thing people with depression need is to make major life choices, as their depression will affect their judgement compared to when they are depression-free.
Even the simplest of decisions can be difficult when depression has a hold over a person, so don’t expect much. It can be a nightmare even deciding what to eat!
If your partner has depression, hold off on big decisions like moving home as this will not help their condition, and you cannot really know if the decision made is from a depressing thought, which will not be true in several months.
You will have to make most of the decisions yourself if your partner is severely ill, and this is OK. However, the ill may feel as though they have no control over the situation, which may cause frustration and an even greater sense of hopelessness.
Involve the person with depression with simpler decisions, they may or may not be able to decide, but the easier the decision is, the more it will help improve self-esteem. It could range from shopping items, which bleach is best, to what brand of baked bean. It seems simple, but to the depressed mind, it is not.
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They say you can’t escape yourself, and it is true; you carry your own internal baggage with you wherever you go, you can’t outrun depression, but you can change the scenery to be conducive to recovery.
People with depression need a break, one which is organised for them, where they can relax and unwind, it won’t cure the depression, but it may take the sting out of it for a few days.
If you can’t afford to go for a small breakaway, then a day out to the beach or local park can invigorate the soul, but you can’t be too pushy on this; they might not want to go anywhere or might be so severely depressed they can about get out of bed if at all.
But, it would help if you also had a time out as living with someone with depression can take its toll on you. Sometimes, it might be better for you to distance yourself for a few hours and take time for your own enjoyment, as living with someone with depression can be stressful.
As a depressive person, I know that I would love it if I were left alone for a couple of days in a house full of peace while the rest of the family went off and enjoyed themselves. For me, this would be my time out as I would not have to think about anyone else, and my brain energy could be focused on me getting better.
Some people who are depressed need a lot of sleep; others find it difficult to sleep. Try not to be judgmental if it is the former; they are not lazy. It is a symptom of depression. They literally need sleep to heal their brain.
It can be trickier to sleep with the heat during the summer months, and if you are sharing a bed with a depressed person, you will know body heat can keep even the average sleeper awake. So make adjustments to your bedroom with blackout curtains and a silent fan to help induce sleep.
If you have a spare bedroom, occasionally spend the night in that room; it will help you both out in humid weather. Sleep is vital for recovery.
Depression not only affects the person with it, but it also affects the whole family unit, and everyone needs to pull together. You can do certain things to help the person you care about recover from depression; you can’t cure them, only they can do that with the help of medication if need be.
Patience is key, and just like any other illness, physical or mental, time is needed for healing to take place and don’t forget your own time outs; you need them for your own self-care too.
Peace & Blessings