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

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You *Should* Care What *Someone* Thinks About You

Countless self-help books, quotes and gurus tell us that we shouldn’t care what other people think. That you should just do you. I believe I’ve even provided this advice to some degree in my books and blogs.

But after some thought I have come to realize that this isn’t entirely the best advice. I believe that you shouldn’t care about what everyone else thinks about you but you should care about what someone thinks about you.

Without boundaries, which are often set and established by the people we love and trust, our lives can quickly devolve into a chaotic mess. If you don’t have anyone in this world whose opinion you care about, there are no checks and balances. Sometimes we need the opinion of another person to stay grounded and headed in the right direction.

Take the case of young girls who fall victim to drug abuse, violent relationships and/or sex work. They often grow up without boundaries and pretty much put up a middle finger to everyone in the world. They don’t respect or care about the opinions of their parents, their friends, mentors, teachers or anyone else who might help them live a better life. Not caring about anyone’s opinion often leads them down the path of destruction.

Another thought. Currently in the US, we have a few leaders who think that they can do whatever they want, no matter who it hurts or affects. As much as they might not care about what anyone thinks about their deeds, that mentality will backfire. The opinions of their fellow citizens do matter.

Here’s one more example. I recently watched the Amazon series Z. It’s the story of Zelda Fitzgerald and her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald. They fell in love at first sight and had a whirlwind romance that quickly lead to marriage. But Zelda was unaware of her husband’s wild and lascivious lifestyle. He had no boundaries and neither did his friends. They lived life on their own terms, not caring what anyone thought of them (or so they said). Before she knew it, Zelda was swept up by it all and living that life as well. She died fairly young in a mental hospital.

To reiterate, I don’t think that you should go through life caring about what everyone around you thinks. It’s oppressive to be constantly self-conscious and insecure. But I do think that there is value in having someone in this world whose opinion matters to you, whether it’s a parent, a friend, a mentor or God.

Love Lynn

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

The Benefits of an Organized Mind

A little while back, I decided to clean my refrigerator and do it meticulously. Making the decision to dedicate my time to that simple task turned out to be very therapeutic and rewarding. To this day, my refrigerator is still organized and much easier to navigate. I posted about it here at LifeLoveLynn.com .

So I decided to implement this idea one more time –- this time to my garage. Now, my garage is like a place of forgotten thoughts, events and dreams. It is stacked with books, yard supplies, sports equipment, tools, barbecue stuff, pantry items, supplies and countless knickknacks. Everything has been mixed together in piles that are sometimes as high as the ceiling.

I decided that this week I was going to organize this garage. All by myself. The first thing I did was conceive of the plan in my head. Napoleon Hill talked about the importance of taking at least a few minutes to an hour planning things out in your mind before you take any action.

I put my mini television in the garage, put on one of my favorite shows and got to work. I took my time and stayed positive. Just two hours later it looked like a completely different place. Two hours.

This was a reminder to me that I need to organize my mind before I can successfully organize my life. For months, probably years I have looked upon that mess when it could’ve been resolved in just TWO HOURS after thinking things through.

So what do you have in your life right now that needs to be organized? Whatever that may be, the first step is to organize your mind. Get a plan together and just do it. You might be surprised by how quickly the job gets done and how rewarding it is for you.

Love Lynn

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

3 Simple Ways to Defeat Anger

The famous author Mark Twain said, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” In other words, your anger is hurting you more than anything or anyone. Explore these three simple ways that you can go about defeating your anger and finally move forward with your life in a productive manner.

Determine the Source of Your Anger

Understand that in many cases you’re not really angry at the situation that is right in front of you — you’re angry about something else in your life. Maybe you just broke up with your girlfriend or your boss is nagging you at work. Once you accept what you’re really angry at in your life, it seems silly to keep taking it out on innocent people. Apologize to the innocent people around you and treat them with the respect that they deserve. You can then take steps to remedy or release the source of your issues.

Laugh

Whenever you feel like you’re about to have an epic meltdown, stop, close your eyes and try to think of something funny. If you want, think about what you want to do to the other person in your mind — make it over the top and ridiculous, then laugh about it heartily. It may take a few moments but when you have that memory or thought placed clearly in your mind’s eye, laughing about it can completely change your state.

Change Your Scenery

Sometimes the humdrum nature of life can be too much to bear. You may start to feel as if you’re running on a hamster wheel, seeing the same people, places and things day in and out. That alone can make you angry and put you on edge, especially when those people, places and things annoy you. Try changing your scenery — go somewhere new and different today, even if it’s just the park. Changing your surroundings can help give you a different perspective on your situation and relax you both physically and mentally.

You are the only one who can control your anger. Use these tips as a starting point on the road to a more peaceful and relaxed existence. Don’t let anger eat your “vessel” up from the inside out — you have to let it go.

Love Lynn

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Programming Your Life & Mental Programming

When the producer of a show starts to develop the programming, there are a few crucial elements needed:

– she has to develop a relationship with a director
– she needs a cast of characters
– she needs a script, theme or storyline to follow

Without these things, there’s no program and the quality of each of these things determines how good or successful the show will be.

Well I submit to you that programming a television show is a lot like programming your life. You, as the producer, have total control of how your life “show” will turn out.

For instance, if you don’t have a good, strong, communicative relationship with your Director (God, Divine Providence, Higher Power) then the whole production lacks direction.

If you choose a cast of characters (think of them as your friends and associates) who are problematic and hard to get along with, your program will run into all sorts of roadblocks and obstacles. You’ll likely spend most of your time fighting or breaking up arguments.

And finally, the script is the most important part of the show. How have you chosen to write the story of your life? Is it a sad, pitiful and low energy story line that doesn’t have a clear purpose? Or is it an exciting drama full of climaxes and new experiences that educate and enlighten you along the way, illuminating an important and useful message to others?

There’s also another crucial factor in how successful your production will be … YOUR belief in it as the producer. In fact, a good program can’t even come to fruition unless and *until* you program your mind to think positively about it in the first place. You must first envision your life’s program for it to then become a reality.

If you could equate your life with a movie or television program, what would be the title and plot summary? If your program isn’t a 5-star production yet, what can you do to improve it starting today?

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

 

This is one of the books that you want on your shelf if you are serious about self-development and personal growth.

The most useful advice I received from this book:

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

 

 

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.