How do you help a loved one through depression? How do you offer support when you know words only mend so much? I know the weight that depression can put on a person’s mind, heart, and body; that feeling of utter emptiness, numbness, and solitude, despite desperation for some form of connection to pull you out of this. What solace can I offer to someone struggling just to exist in a mental state that feels like slow suffocation?
From personal experience, I offer this: Do not try to rescue them from their pain… Do not simply tell them that “it will all be better one day” or “stay positive!”, because by doing so, you are minimizing their experience on THIS day. Having someone offer you positive advice is helpful, but when it’s all that’s being offered, it can feel as though you’re in a deeper hole than you previously felt you were due to feeling so dissociated and isolated from what a “happy life” could be. But what can you do? You can listen. You can be a sounding board. You can plant seeds toward their own self-growth by finding healthy coping skills they’d enjoy and helping them utilize them (such as playing a video game together because it offers a temporary escape). You can also gently call them out on unhealthy coping or defense mechanisms in a way that encourages them to change and grow, while still providing support, love, and acceptance. You can show them that you’ll be by their side through the dark times and the light by not shying away from them in their time of need, even if they do not want to see or acknowledge that they need you. We all need each other, don’t we? Life is so damn hard, but having people on our side during a rough time helps restore faith, not only in others but within ourselves. 🌱
I offer this post as a combination from both perspectives, but I also understand that everyone’s needs are vastly different from others. ❤️ When I was in my darkest stage of depression, I despised being told that “it’d all be fine one day.” I felt it completely shut down what I was currently experiencing as I struggled to just maintain my life. But as I came out of my depression, I found myself offering those struggling with the same one-liners that I hated! I realized it was because I had no idea how to help others push through their depression in a healthy manner without fully immersing myself in their pain. Everything in life is about balance, even supporting loved ones. But a friendly reminder from both sides is this: