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Depression Treatment – Tips That Really Help

Posted on January 17, 2019 in Uncategorized

8 Tips That Really Help for Depression Treatment

Disclosure: I am not a medical professional and you should not take this as medical advice. If you are suicidal please get immediate help by going to an emergency room, telling someone, or calling a help line.

Depression runs in the family. I recall at the age of seven watching as the ambulance drove my mom away. I instinctively knew when I found a vial of medication in the garbage what she did.

When she returned home from the hospital no one mentioned it, only “Mommy is sick, please leave her alone”. It was like it never happened. A memory I need to erase.

No one talks about depression and if they do it is most likely the common blues or lows that go with disappointments in life or serious changes like job loss or death.

It is easier for people to think of depression like that because it isn’t permanent, debilitating, and deadly. People come around, they awaken and go about their lives.

Depression, the way I and many others experience it, is constant. It doesn’t end with medication. Medication seems to control symptoms but the darkness that is chronic depression is still there. We may look okay on the outside but it’s usually a mask for your benefit.

I’ve been in treatment since high school – that’s a total of almost 30 years. Here is what works for me and hopefully will work for you, your friend, your child or family member.

1. Don’t Hover

I realize this is difficult especially for parents but it is important to give the person some space (within reason – see tip 6). Allow them to get through this period. Often times they will come around on their own without intervention, they just need space.

Try to refrain from ‘encouraging happiness’ or ‘thinking positive’. These things only help when they are outside of the hole of depression not while in it.

2. Encourage Healthy Interaction

Depression as a mental disorder is more of a thought disorder (my opinion). It feels like a cruel attacker is invading your brain. Someone who is constantly berating you, attacking you, showcasing dark images of death or hopelessness like a non-stop movie.

Your loved one or friend may isolate not only to wallow in self-pity but as a way to protect you from the chaos in their mind.

Depression wants to win and if it wins death wins. Despite what your loved one may say, visit them. Say hello. Offer to help with a non-invasive activity like laundry or cooking. If they say no, respect that and let it go. Often just sitting with the person without speaking is helpful.

If your loved one is hanging out with people to “drown” in alcohol or drugs try to intercept in a non-threatening way. A simple, “why don’t we go on a drive” or “would you like me to stay with you” is all that is needed to alter plans.

3. Shed Some Light

To an outsider it may seem that depressed people are lazy and sleep all day. This is true at times. Don’t think of it as laziness but recuperating. Depression is in the mind true but it is also a very physically draining disease.

If your loved one is held up in their room for days at a time, gently open a window to let some light in. They may protest loudly with harsh words but more than likely you have the upper hand because they won’t leave the safety of their bed to close it.

Note: Violent behavior is an expression of depression in some people. Skip this tip as your safety is important.

4. Give Support with Little Payments

Those suffering from depression need support but a little give and take is helpful. For example, if they want to eat but don’t want to get out of bed, offer to make a meal in exchange for them getting up and showering.

This shows that you understand they are going through a difficult time but won’t enable them to sink into a hole of self-pity.

There is a point in depression where the person can still fight, this is when this is a good tactic to take. This is right before they sink to the point where medication and/or hospitalization is necessary to get them out.

5. Be Patient

I know it is difficult for family and friends to watch a person suffer through this. It is especially heartbreaking to know that you can’t help them through it.

Be available. Hold the space for them when they can’t. This simply means sitting with them without speaking or “helping”.

6. Be Aware

Awareness is a great tool in helping someone with depression. Watch for changes in behavior.

Are there dramatic changes? For instance, weeks hidden and isolated with an immediate ‘happy, conquer the world’ attitude. This may mean that they have decided to end their life not fight for it.

I realize this isn’t the case for everyone but for most of my depressive episodes I hide behind an “I’m Okay” attitude for the sake of my family.

When I finally decide to end the pain that is depression (suicide) I get a burst of energy allowing me plan the next steps which gives relief and expectation.

Awareness about your loved ones temperament is essential.

7. Keep Your Advice to Yourself

Advice that may help you or someone experiencing the blues will not help the chronically depressed.

– “There’s always a silver lining”

– “God has a plan for your life.”

– “All things work together for good to those who are called according to his purpose (God)”

– “Just snap out of it”

– “Don’t focus so much on yourself”

– “Volunteer, it helps me”

– “Exercise more”

– “When I lost my friend I was depressed for months. Here’s what I did… “

I’m not discounting this advice. To a healthy mind it is actually good but to a depressed mind it can backfire.

It may drive them further into the pit. Guilt because they can’t snap out of it. Guilt for causing you pain and a whole list of other things that will pull the person into the spiral of darkness.

Very often this advice only solidifies the disordered thoughts and pushes the person closer to suicide.

8. Say I Love You Often

Throughout my adult life, my husband has been my support during my bouts with depression. He endures much for my sake out of love.

Even with my angry outbursts, he told me he loved me.

If nothing else, tell the person you love them. Simple as that. They may scoff. They may yell or curse but continue to say these simple words each day and often.

I love you – said without words – in a note, a look, or a smile is helpful too.

It might be a while before you get a return on this investment but know it does reach them even when they are deep in it.

Disclosure: I am not a medical professional and you should not take this as medical advice. If you are suicidal please get immediate help by going to an emergency room, telling someone, or calling a help line.

One more thought before I end. These tips are most helpful for those just outside of the suicidal stage. I can’t explain it in words but there is a point where you can reach a depressed person and one where only medical intervention and/or medication can help. For the later, I don’t recommend using these tips. Get help.

It’s been 13 years since hospitalization due to a self-inflicted attempt on my life. These tips help me. I hope this helps you or a person you know.

And now I’d like to invite you to read more on helping the mentally ill through my personal experiences.