When someone you care about is suffering from depression, you probably want to find out more about how to help someone with depression, but how do you go about helping a depressed person, particularly if they are pushing you away and refusing to accept that they need help?
How to help someone with depression
It can be very difficult to empathize with a depressed person if you have never experienced the illness yourself, but in order to help that person, it is useful to read up on the symptoms of depression to gain a greater understanding of how depression works and how it affects the sufferer. There are lots of useful resources on the Internet and in the local library, so educate yourself about depression because knowledge is power.
Always remember that you cannot help anyone if you are ill, too, so be sure to take care of yourself at all times: eat well, maintain a little distance from the depressed person, and take plenty of time out in order that you do not become sucked into their depression and end up feeling depressed as well.
The most important thing you can do for a depressed person is be there for them and listen to them if they want to talk. Lots of people find it hard to cope with depressed people and tend to avoid them as a result, but if you can be a good listener and patiently offer yourself up as a shoulder to cry on, the depressed person will appreciate the fact that you care about them.
How to help someone with depression and anger
Always remember that a depressed person is not themselves while they are ill. They might lash out in anger or stay in bed all day refusing to talk to you or anyone else, but they are not being lazy or pig-headed: depression is an illness and they deserve your understanding and sympathy, just as they would if they had the flu.
Sometimes a depressed person expresses their frustration at feeling depressed through anger. They will lash out at you, but it is not you they are angry at—they are really angry with themselves, so try not to take it personally and whatever you do, do not be tempted to hit back in anger.
How to deal with someone with depression and suicidal thoughts
Suicidal thoughts are a symptom of depression, so you need to be vigilant for any indications that your friend or loved one is having suicidal thoughts. Sometimes depressed people talk about wanting to end it all as a way of letting their negative emotions out, but if you are concerned about someone who is potentially suicidal, do not keep your fears to yourself—always seek professional help on their behalf.
If you are finding it hard to cope with a depressed loved one, do not try and deal with it alone. There are plenty of support groups for families and friends of those suffering from depression, so contact one of them and talk to others who are in the same boat as you.