Clinical depression remains one of the least understood conditions all around the world. Not having the appropriate knowledge on the condition often causes a strain on relationships, making communications with loved ones increasingly difficult. Chances are we all know someone who is struggling with depression, yet we may not know it or know how to properly communicate with them.
Recognize the Signs of Depression
Before you can truly help a loved one who has depression, you must first recognize the signs. There are multiple different clues in a person who is suffering alone, and in order for you to help them, you have to be able to pick up on these signs:
- Feelings of sadness and hopelessness
- Angry outbursts
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Loss of interest in everyday activities
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Recurring thoughts of suicide
There are many different symptoms for those with depression. No one case is the same. Everyone reacts to depression and suffers in their own way, but it remains important for you to recognize the symptoms.
How to Effectively Communicate
For many people with depression, their symptoms can cause problems with their daily lives, affecting their work, school, or relationships. Depression weakens their communication skills with many often secluding themselves from others. It only makes sense for you to want to improve your line of communication with them, but it can be challenging and frustrating at times. You have to understand that people with depression are so overwhelmed with their own depressive symptoms that they may feel like a burden to many, refusing to seek any help. This is not their fault, and it does not mean you should give up on them. Here are some steps you can take to improve your communication with your depressed loved one:
- Reach Out: Due to their depression, many tend to hide away from the rest of the world, thinking their depression will burden others. Even though this is the furthest from the truth, they can’t help but feel this way. It is up to you to reach out and give them a lifeline. Find ways to be friendly, encouraging, and engaging.
- Acknowledge Their Pain: More often than not people tend to be dismissive of someone’s depression or tend to trivialize it. This leads to them feeling ashamed and guilty, pushing them further into isolation. Whenever your loved one shares their feelings of depression, acknowledge those feelings and encourage them to continue to be more open. This creates a dialogue and a safe space for them to communicate further.
- Treat Them Like You Would Anyone Else: Do not act like they are some fragile child that needs to be coddled or handled with extra precaution. This tends to ostracize them more, making them feel like they are different than everyone else. Avoid walking around on eggshells with them, and don’t be afraid to behave as if they were healthy. Continue to add normalcy and routine into their lives.
- Be Silent: It is important that once you have reached out and opened a line of communication to sometimes be silent and just listen. Absorb the information and feelings they share with you. Show them that you truly value what they are saying. Not everything needs a response as well. Letting what was said linger for them to contemplate and relax is more than enough. Sometimes just spending the day watching a movie, going to lunch, reading together, or just simply being in the same room is beyond helpful.
- Encourage Treatment: Yes, you would like to be as helpful as possible, but you are not an experiment in this field. Sometimes it takes a skilled professional to make the biggest difference. Encourage them to seek treatment in the most supportive and nonauthoritative way. Depression counseling paired with your friendship can do wonders.
Depression affects everyone differently. Some are much better at hiding the symptoms. Typically, their communication skills are reduced, and it takes the intervention of a loved one to reach out and create a dialogue. If you wish to know more about how to properly interact with a depressed loved one, reach out to us at Lifeworks to learn more. If your depressed loved one is seeking a counseling center in Dallas, contact Lifeworks Counseling Center today.