If you have ever suffered from depression, it can be an isolating and fearful time in your life. Having the support of your friends and family can make a huge difference. But how do you support them without making them feel weak or like they are a failure? There are ways you can be with someone that helps them feel uplifted and not alone.
First of all, do not make it about you or how this is effecting you and your life. They already know and feel like they are dragging you down with them. If you feel like you need to discuss this issue, find someone else to talk about it with because the person who is depressed is only going to feel worse. When they start rising out of their depression, then you can start those kinds of conversations with them.
Ask them questions, when did this start? Was there a preceding event or life change that happened? Do they maybe need a specific kind of counseling (such as grief counseling for the lose of a loved one) that you can offer them? Sometimes a hand in the right direction can be what someone needs to get started.
Ask them what they want from you, a person to listen to them vent? Help finding support? Depression sometimes make people feel that they cannot ever ask for anything, so try to make expectations clear for you both.
Talk about their stress level. Are there things they can do better to manage their daily stresses? Maybe they need to cut back on obligations for a little while, offer suggestions that are low key or offer to meet them one-on-one instead of large groups.
Remind them of times that they felt better. With help and assistance, let them know that there is a light at the end of that tunnel, that they will get there, and that there is hope for them. Make them laugh! Treat your friend like a normal person and not like a basket case that’s going to fall apart at any moment. Do fun things together, this will help them feel better and part of life.
But remember one thing, they are ultimately responsible for their behavior. Being depressed and seeking treatment can be a lifelong struggle, but it’s not an excuse to behave badly or treat the people around you like junk. Make sure you keep yourself safe too!