Depression is a mental condition which may affect everybody at some time or the other. Depression is characterized by low mood, gloominess, sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, anxiety and so on. As human beings we may go through ups and downs in our mood due to many factors life daily life hassles, problems, frustrations, ill health, fear, life events, change of a situation etc.
However, in general human beings can revert back to their normal selves after a short while when the depressing phase has passed or the individual has learnt to adjust and live with the changed situation. But this may not hold true for everybody. Some individuals become a constant victim of depression as they can’t get out of the depressed condition. In very severe cases the patient may even become withdrawn, may lose appetite and weight, have problems in sleep and also suicidal.
Helping A Friend With Depression
How To Find Out If Your Friend Is Depressed
If you notice that your friend is not behaving normally or not being his normal self then give some time for him to get back to his own self for a while. You can extend your support or ask what is wrong. If your friend doesn’t choose to answer don’t force but keep your vigilance on him.
If a considerable number of days pass when your friend has remained withdrawn, sad and has shown negative feelings towards life through hopelessness and despair then you must understand that he needs some help.
You have to understand depression and its symptoms to help your friend. If you notice feelings of emptiness, guilt, extreme pessimism, worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness then these may indicate a possibility of depression. Coupled with these there may be the presence of restless behaviors, complaints of sleep and appetite, fatigue, loss of interest in things they enjoyed before along with intent to harm the self.
Understand Depression to Help Your Depressed Friend
Depression is something to understand; suffering from chronic depression is not easy to handle by the sufferer himself. Nobody chooses to remain depressed. Therefore, rather than force or sympathy you need to show empathy. You have to understand what your friend is going through from his point of view. Only then you can help him.
You have to understand the level of depression your friend is suffering from which can be mild, moderate or severe. Never ever ignore recurrent references to self harm or suicidal attempts by your friend. Take proper measures and enough vigilance to avoid your friend taking any drastically wrong step.
In case of mild to moderate depression you can do certain things for your friend which can avoid the need for medicines. Being supportive and giving space while being vigilant is most important.
Forcing the person to speak or nagging with him can never help. Rather be patient and let him speak for himself. Feelings of worthlessness are very much common in depressed people. You can try and convince him to go to places of fun and mix with cheerful people. It may be difficult but you have to keep trying.
Once you know the possible reasons for which your friend feels depressed try to make him feel better on those issues. For example, if it is regarding looks then tell him his looks are improving. If it is regarding career or examination show him alternative ways to be successful. Never joke or trivialize their reasons for depression. Acknowledge and tell them that they have a reason to feel sad but there are ways to combat the situation as well.
If your friend is suffering from severe depression then you may have to consider medical opinion and consult a psychiatrist. Appropriate medicines along with psychotherapy can help combat depression to a great extent. Never ignore what you perceive to be signs of depression. It is a very serious disorder deserving of your closest attention.