5 Ways to Be There for a Depressed Loved One

There was another high-profile suicide of an entertainer in the news recently. This person had been seriously depressed and distressed. He said so in an interview and in many of his songs. After reading a few posts on social media and learning more about his struggles, I feel compelled to write about the topic of depression again.

A lot of people get nervous when they learn that their friend or family member is depressed and instead of being there for them they run or ignore it. If you know that someone is depressed and you sincerely care about them, here are five ways that you can be there for them.

Text or Call: How Are You Doing? I Love You
It sounds so simple and basic but it means the world. When someone is in a depressed state they feel as if no one cares and no one is there for them. Taking two minutes out of your schedule to have a quick text conversation or phone conversation with your loved one means a lot. It interrupts that voice that’s playing over over and over in their head telling them that no one gives a damn if they live. It matters.

Hear Them Out
Some people are natural fixers, meaning that they always want to come up with a quick and simple solution to a problem. They’ll say something like, “Just exercise and you’ll feel better” or “there are so many people out there worse off than you, look at what you have going for you.”

Refrain from talking too much or minimizing your depressed friend’s feelings. There is a negative, oppressive energy talking to them, constantly telling them they’re worthless — it’s beyond your understanding or “easy fixes.” You can’t tell them how to feel because you are not in their shoes, so just hear them out. Allowing them to release their thoughts and feelings without judgment is therapeutic for them. Be patient with a depressed person.

Spend Quality Time with Them
In the age of social media, people think it’s perfectly fine to go weeks, sometimes even months without seeing or visiting their loved ones. If you know someone who is depressed, this may be one of the reasons why.

I personally believe that the lack of human connection between people of today is a main reason why depression is more prevalent. We’re human beings and we need human connections. Not in a chat room, but actually sitting in a room with someone, talking, laughing and watching television together or sharing ideas. Also when you are with someone in the same room, it’s harder for those negative voices to overwhelm their thoughts. A lot of people get into a depressive state because they are alone and start thinking too much.

Even if the person isn’t talkative when you visit, just being there with them means a whole lot. Regular visits will give them something to look forward to.

Don’t Flaunt Your Happiness in Their Presence
I’m always amazed by people who insist on advertising their happiness to the world at every opportunity. It’s rampant in social media. Every win doesn’t have to be flaunted and bragged about to those who are still struggling.

If you have a depressed friend who feels as if he or she is nothing, the worst thing you can do is present yourself as having everything. They will eventually withdraw them selves from you because they just can’t take it. Seeing someone who appears to have it all only intensities feelings of lack and unworthiness in a depressed person.

Instead of keeping up a facade of happiness and perfection, talk honestly about your own life challenges so that the depressed person will feel like he or she is not alone after all. If you can’t relate to going through major challenges in life, you probably aren’t the person who can help your friend or family member.

Go With Them to See a Therapist
Telling someone to go to a therapist is not as powerful as offering to go with them. Some people still believe that there is a stigma attached to going to therapy. But if you show your support by going to the appointment with them and sitting in the waiting room that may encourage them to take that scary but often necessary step.

If You Genuinely Care…
I’m tired of people rallying around a depressed person after it’s too late. There are things you can do to help your loved ones when they are experiencing a hard time to help them pull through it.

But it will only make a difference if you genuinely care, are able to empathize, and are non-judgmental.

 

Lynn Gilliard is the author of a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU. Her latest book You Matter encourages women to know and understand their worth.

Follow Lynn on Twitter: @LoveLynnGee

Advertisements

The Power of Touch

I watched a few episodes of the show My Cat From Hell a couple of weeks ago. I was amazed (and a bit amused) by the behavior of the cats on the show. They hissed and scratched at every human that dared come near them. I couldn’t believe that the owners managed to coexist in the same household with these angry and aggressive cats for so long!

But while the knee jerk reaction was to blame the cat for being “evil” the real problem was the owners. They were cold and lacked understanding of what the cats needed. The suggested solution in many of these cases was to simply touch the cat and show him love. It worked 100% of the time. My own cats are very mild-mannered and loving toward me and guests because I pay them a lot of attention with touch and affirmation.

Love Energy
A simple touch from someone can be so powerful. It can be even more powerful than words, which sometimes don’t come out quite right at crucial moments.

When a person is grieving, a mere grip of the shoulder can mean so much. It gives them the release they need.

If someone you love is going through a trial or difficult situation, sometimes simply touching or holding his or her hand is the perfect reaction. It’s soothing and meaningful.

When a child is frustrated or confused, a hug can make all of her cares go away, if only for the moment. It’s a bonding moment. It’s like an exchange of love energy.

Sometimes all you need is to be present and near another person to be effective. For instance, if someone you love is laying in their bed depressed, just sit near them or with them for a while. No need to tell them anything, no need to judge them for how they feel or advise them on what they should do.

So if you’re having a strained relationship with someone or you don’t know how to help someone you know who is in need, try a loving touch instead of words from time to time. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a self-help guide entitled Survive, Live or Thrive? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

Out of 250 Million Sperm …

Whenever I’m feeling a bit unsure or confused about life I like to think about the fact that out of 250 million sperm I was the chosen one. This is true for every human being on the planet — in other words, WE MADE IT.

To fully understand how important this point is, let’s have a quick biology lesson about how fetuses form.

During the process of conception, approximately 250 million sperm are competing to fertilize an egg. For a sperm to succeed at this goal it has to overcome a number of challenges:

– The acidic environment of the vagina kills some off quickly before they can reach the cervix.

– They have to navigate their way to the egg’s location without GPS. Some of them wander off in the wrong direction

– They’re swimming in competition with millions of other sperm with the same goal.

– The egg has to actually be there when it arrives (ovulation). If the sperm gets there too early or too late, it’s a no go.

– There are two Fallopian tubes — if the sperm gets to the wrong one, well that’s that.

– If the egg is there the sperm has to be the FIRST to push its head into the resilient exterior of the egg. Hundreds of other strong sperm are trying to do the same thing.

– Once the sperm does make it inside, it has to still be energetic enough to activate its cells with the egg’s and create a person.

That sperm is me. That sperm is you. That sperm is a fighter and a winner.

We are not mistakes. We are not losers by any stretch of the imagination. Our outer environment (the media, peers, family members, teachers) may tell us that we are “not enough” in one way or another, but it’s just a lie.

We were put here for a reason. Each of us came here to do something amazing. Why the heck else would our “stock” (the sperm we were formed from) be so strong and resilient in the face of so much adversity?

So keep that “250 million” thought handy whenever you’re feeling insecure or unsure about yourself. Keep it handy whenever you’re feeling worthless or useless. Keep it handy when you’re wondering what your purpose is here and if you even have a purpose.

You beat out 250 million other living entities and came out on top. That means you and I are really special and powerful, so I think it’s time we start acting like it.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a self-help guide entitled Survive, Live or Thrive? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

What Causes Depression (My Theory)

For the most part, doctors and experts are confused about what causes depression in people. Some believe it is something that is hereditary while others believe it comes from external factors, like environmental pollution and poor diet.

Here’s one other theory — the theory that I personally believe.

I believe that depression comes from having a “song” unsung inside of you. A song that’s desperately trying to get out into the world, but you suppress it time and time again.

By song I mean anything that would make your heart sing. That might be writing something special, creating something, growing something, learning something, pursuing a certain career or just speaking your mind.

A lot of people bottle up resentment for others instead of letting it out. Those poisonous feelings grow inside and can create a physical imbalance.

Some people are depressed because they never told that ONE person who hurt them deeply exactly how they feel.

Maybe you feel that someone or a group of someone’s has wronged you in some way, but you don’t have the courage to tell them about themselves.

Maybe you want to try something brand new in your life (like write music, write a story, be a fashionista or sky dive from a plane), but you don’t because you lack confidence or someone is telling you that you can’t.

Watching celebrities and other people on TV “live their dreams” while you are not can unknowingly be a major source of depression.

My Bouts with Depression
I believe the bouts of depression I experienced in my life came from a number of situations where I left my “songs unsung” so to speak:

– allowing myself to be teased as a young child and not standing up for myself more

– showing unrequited love and support to family members / friends who thought it was fine to treat me a certain way (and not expressing my true feelings about it to them)

– a failed business venture early in my life that left me feeling devastated, useless and stupid

– allowing men to come into and out of my life, using me up, without telling them exactly how much they hurt me

All of these experiences and more allowed years of pain, anger, resentment and guilt to build up within me until the bubble finally “popped” and it came out in an unhealthy way. To overcome severe depression I had to recognize the source of the issue and release it to God. And yes, in some cases I had to tell a few people off, which felt great. Why spare the feelings of an insensitive person who has wronged you at the expense of your own health and wellness ?

I do believe that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance, but I don’t think it is something that’s *inherent* in you — it’s something that happens over time as you internalize negativity.

You shouldn’t put up with nonsense and negativity in your life.

Can you relate to any of this? If so, take a moment to write down the various people, situations and experiences that may have lead you to suffer from depression. It could help you to identify the source of the problem so that you can work on releasing it.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a self-help guide entitled Survive, Live or Thrive? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.