Being with someone you, love and watching them struggle with depression or bipolar disorder can be very difficult. You might feel angry, frustrated or find it hard to put up with how they behave towards you, your children or other people. There is help for depression available, mostly in the form of counseling or anti-depressive medication, but there is not miracle treatment that works overnight so it is normal to feel discouraged when your attempts to help the depressed person backfire or fail to work.
If you are close to somebody who has been diagnosed with depression or seems to be suffering with it, you might find these tips helpful for dealing with the awful effects of the illness, for both yourself and the person who is depressed.
If your partner or friend has not yet been diagnosed with depression, you might want to analyze their behavior. Sometimes depressed people do not realize it or they view visiting a doctor as admitting defeat. Someone with depression might feel like a failure and they might blame their lack of ability to be affectionate, lack of interest or lack of energy on personal weakness rather than considering it could be a medical issue.
People who suffer from bipolar disorder might assume that they are energetic rather than the fact that they have a medical problem. An online questionnaire or a pamphlet can help to identify depression symptoms.
If your friend or family member is showing depression symptoms, including sleeping less or more than normal, a lack of interest in activities they usually like, unexplained tearfulness, being withdrawn or talk of suicide, it is vital that they seek medical help as soon as possible.
If the person refuses to consult a doctor, you might need to ask others to help you, preferably those that the depressed person might respond to or look up to, friends, family, clergy. This might include counselors, friends, or teachers. You might need to ask your own doctor for advice if nobody else can help. If they are talking about suicide, call a suicide emergency helpline or 911 right away.
The most important thing you can do for a loved one who is depressed is to stay supportive and non-judgmental. Getting them medical treatment is also high on the list of priorities.
Depression symptoms can be mild or severe but they usually negatively impact a relationship. Somebody who is depressed will feel weak and unworthy and this makes the depression worse. Losing the ability to communicate, work, or enjoy life can cause financial trouble, intimacy problems, and can lead to severe a relationship crisis.
You need to remember that the behavior you see is not the true behavior of the depressed person because the illness is causing the symptoms. Someone suffering from depression might say they do not love you or try to cause an argument about something. Try not to take their comments to heart because indulging in their grievances might make the depression worse.
If the person is taking depression medicine or having counseling, remind them that the treatment will work eventually and try to stay positive. Remind them that it is not their fault they are suffering from depression. Never suggest that they pull themselves together or snap out of it and try not to push them to do more than they are able to do. Doing that would lead to more feelings of worthlessness. It can help to invite the person to have a walk with you, enjoy an outing or simply to talk for a while.
If you have suffered through the miserable effects of depression with a loved one, remember that it will be over. If you find it hard to keep perspective, you might want to find a support group for friends and family of depressives. Being able to connect with other people in similar situations can be a relief.
You might also want to find a confidant to talk to, especially when your spouse is depressed and you feel neglected and unloved. It is good to share your feelings with a friend or therapist and it reminds you that the depressed person is not deliberately causing the problems. It is the medical condition, which is to blame, and this problem is temporary and treatable.