This Is Not Therapy

Mental Illness and You – Depression

Being diagnosed with a mental illness means that there is a battle in which only one person fights, right? The girl or guy diagnosed with depression just has to “suck it up and deal with their bad day,” right?

WRONG.

Mental illness has an effect on everyone in their family and even most friends. For the purpose of this post, we are going to focus on depression.

Have you ever known someone dealing with depression? Those with depression deal with a daily battle that we cannot begin to fathom. Some common symptoms of depression include:

  • Struggle to get adequate sleep
  • Lack of enjoying the things they used to enjoy
  • Confusion and thought impairments
  • Many negative emotions
  • Random irritability
  • Thoughts of suicide and/or death

None of these symptoms are easy to talk about, and these symptoms may not even be the reason for the depression.

People dealing with depression need their friends and family to be a shoulder to lean on. This is a battle they cannot win on their own.

Having someone there to fight the lonely and hopeless thoughts that come about every day, multiple times a day, helps them fight through the darkest days. However, you must remember to be patient, as dealing with thoughts that have consumed you for months and even years is very difficult.
Note: You may not really understand what they are facing.

You do not have to be a licensed therapist, or psychologist, to be a good listening ear, but you can be willing to take on the responsibility of being their “go-to person.” After learning that they can trust you with what they are dealing with, they will likely come back to you again when they need you.

If someone with depression is relying on you, take this very seriously. Opening up about suicidal ideations, racing thoughts, and irritability can be difficult, and you must be up for the task. Opening up about such problems may be very difficult for the person suffering with depression; they likely believe that their problems are too much of a burden and that no one cares.

Be familiar with resources that you could recommend for them. Resources could be a professional counselor or an anonymous group counseling setting. If you are not a professional, you can still be helpful, but be careful, as the one you are helping may need professional assistance.

Most of all show you care; do not dismiss them, their problems are real and they need you.  Because depression is so common, as are many other problems, always be kind. You never know what someone else is facing.

-T

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