Sometimes it is hard to find the right words. Sometimes even the best intentions may hurt. This post is dedicated to people who know someone with depression.
So what to do if one of your friends or relatives is depressed. You feel that you need to comfort her/him. Here are the things to know. Before you start here is the rule you should remember:
First do no harm. Whatever you decide to tell the depressed person, be sure to estimate all pro and contra before saying a thing. Be careful with your words, gestures, mimics.
1. Don't ask what happened. If you lack information about the causes of the person's depression, let her/him be the last who you ask about it. A single memory of some sad thing may trigger a person and make her/his state even worse. Leave these "are you ok" and "what's wrong" things to movie characters.
2. Offer help not pity. If all you want is to say sorry - better make sure to also offer comfort. The depressed person already pities her/himself so again don't make things worse. Sometimes it is as painful to listen someone sorry you as to think about some sad things that trigger bad mood. But:
3. Offer help only if you can actually help. This is the must. If you promised something - do it. Imagine how will your depressed friend or relative feel when s/he realizes that waited for nothing.
4. Tell the depressed person how important he/she is to you. When depressed people tend to think that noone cares about them. Tell them what you love about them, show that you really care. Offer them all your support.
5. Remind them of their positive traits. Depressed person may often think about their bad attributes only and forget about the good ones. Be the one to point out their good side, treat them the jewels they are.
6. Gently encourage the person to do something. I say gently. Don't force them do something if they don't want to. Offer them to go out with you or do something together. The best thing you can do is to get them truly interested with something.
7. Listen when the person wants to talk. A chance to speak out things that worry oneself can be a relief. Sad emotions can burn from the inside untill the person speak them or writes them down.
8. Don't take their pessimism personally. If the depressed person ignores or declines your advice, - don't get frustrated. Depressed person may often think there is no way out. This is just a symptome of their illness. Also don't view someone else's depression as your own fault.
9. Be a good model of positive behaviour. Environment plays a great role in one's mood. So do friends and relatives. Don't multiply sadnes. Influence your dear one to become more healthy by becoming more healthy yourself.
10. The last but not the least don't overdo. Too much concern may be as annoying as loneliness.