He affirms that his feelings make sense. Show the person that you understand their feelings and make it easy for them to deepen their own understanding of them. Don't minimize their pain or try to cheer them up. Spending a lot of time with a loved one who has depression can have an emotional impact.
Know your limits around difficult emotions and be sure to take time to recharge. Comforting someone who is upset can make you feel helpless. Most of the time, you can't physically do anything to help the person. However, just being available and willing to listen is the most important step you can take.
Helplessness and a frustrated desire to “fix” your loved one The two main emotions that caregivers experience are anger and guilt, two sides of the same coin. Anger is the most active reaction, and its target can be your loved one, the condition, yourself, God, or the doctors. Everyone who is tired, anxious, and exhausted will feel angry at some point. Caring for someone with severe depression requires patience, compassion, and the ability to listen.
Offer support and assistance without judging and without belittling the person's experiences. Encourage people struggling with depression to seek professional guidance, get a diagnosis, and follow a treatment plan. Be persistent until the person you care about is willing to get help. It's also important to watch for signs of suicidal thoughts and to raise your voice and ask for help if needed.
Once your loved one has received a diagnosis from a mental health professional, they will continue to need your help and support to provide ongoing care. Your friend might not feel like talking the first time you ask, so it can be helpful to keep telling them that you care. How to help a friend or family member with depression or bipolar disorder: Downloadable booklet with tips for helping your loved one while taking care of yourself. Be careful not to shift the focus of the conversation toward you, but rather, share to show that you are empathic.
Letting your friend know that you still care about them while they're still overcoming depression can help. Depression can feel like no one understands what you're feeling or that you don't even care enough to try to understand it, which can be isolating and overwhelming. Abruptly stopping antidepressants without the supervision of a health professional can have serious consequences. Offering to help your friend tidy up their room or car shows that you care and gives you something productive to do together.
If your friend is already seeing a healthcare provider, offer help to pick up medications and get to appointments on time. A common feeling among people who are depressed is that their lives don't matter and that no one would care if they disappeared. If you recognize any of these signs in a loved one and if they persist or don't seem to go away after several days or a week, your loved one may have severe depression. In this case, the best thing would be to simply admit that you don't understand exactly what they're going through, but that you care about them and want to try.
Studies have shown that caregivers of people with severe depression have a diminished quality of life, but that doesn't have to be the case.