Depression is a mental health issue that can be difficult to deal with, not to mention the emotional toll it takes on the person who suffers from it. Depression can lead to isolation, unhealthy habits, and a decreased quality of life. The person suffering may feel hopeless or believe their situation will never improve. In an effort to support someone you love that is dealing with depression, it's important to understand how best to provide emotional support when they need it most.


Here are some ways to emotionally support a loved one with depression:


1.Understand that depression is not the same as sadness. 


We are not in control of our emotional state.


This is a difficult concept for many people to grasp, but it's essential if you want to understand depression and support someone with it. Depression is an illness, and like any other illness it has symptoms that interfere with functioning. These symptoms can be physical (fatigue, headaches, or stomach problems), or emotional (feelings of hopelessness or sadness). But these symptoms aren't the same as the illness itself.


Depression is not sadness — they're two separate things, even if they look the same on the surface. Sadness is a normal emotion that all humans experience throughout their lives; we feel sad when we break up with a partner or lose a loved one, for example. This type of sadness is usually temporary and passes in time.


Depression isn't temporary, and it isn't always triggered by something specific. It can also cause thoughts of death and suicide, which sadness doesn't do. We don't want to “cheer up” someone who has cancer — we recognize that the disease causes the symptoms of nausea and weakness — so we shouldn't expect someone with depression to “cheer up” either.


  1. Listen without judgment. Don't argue or try to fix the person's feelings. 


This can be challenging, because depression is sometimes falsely perceived as being “all in your head” and therefore something people should just “snap out of.” But it's actually a medical condition.


Be patient and realistic about recovery, which can take time. It's easy to get frustrated, especially if you're not sure what to do or say. But remember: You can't force someone to change their emotional state, nor should you try to minimize their feelings.


While it's normal to feel helpless in the face of a friend or family member's depression, sometimes all they really need is someone who will listen to them vent about what they're feeling, without trying to fix it or offer advice. Try not to take their feelings personally, and avoid statements like “You shouldn't feel this way.”


  1. Emotional support

Ask what you can do to help, and let the person know you're available when they need someone to talk to or simply sit with them in silence.


When you're involved with someone who's depressed, it can be difficult to know the proper way to act or what to say. You want to help, but they often refuse help and push you away. You don't want to make things worse, but sometimes it seems like whatever you do will only make things worse.


The most important thing you can do is offer emotional support. This type of support is actually more helpful than trying to fix their problems when they're feeling depressed.


  1. Show interest and offer companionship


When a family member or friend has depression, it can be difficult to know how to help. It’s important to remember that depression is a medical condition and not just something someone is going through, or can “snap out of.” Depression may affect how people think and behave, so it can be hard for them to act the way they normally would.


People who are depressed often have trouble taking care of themselves and doing things they normally do to feel better, like exercising or spending time with friends and family. This is why it’s helpful for loved ones to take an active role in helping them manage their condition.

You don't have to talk about their feelings if they don't want to, but just spending time with someone may help improve their mood.


  1. Be patient


People with depression have a lot to go through, and they don't need more to deal with. They often feel guilty, hopeless, and out of control. Many people think that depression is just feeling sad or down in the dumps, but it's much more than that.


It's important to be patient when dealing with someone with depression. You need to be there for them and understand that they can't help it. Their mind tells them everything is wrong with them and that no one will love them or want to be with them.


As their loved one, you need to understand what they're going through and accept how they feel. You should understand why they act the way they do because of the thoughts going through their head.


  1. Avoid telling them what they should do


If you have a loved one who is struggling with depression, you probably want to help them in the best way possible. But the truth is, it can be difficult to know what to do when a friend or family member is depressed.


How not giving advice can help


The next time your loved one opens up to you about their depression, instead of trying to fix things or give advice, try using these three phrases:


“I'm really sorry that this happened.” It may not seem like much, but recognizing your loved one's feelings and letting them know that you're there for them can mean the world. This can be a great opportunity to validate your loved one's emotions and experiences by saying something like “that sounds really tough” or “it makes sense that you feel frustrated.” You don't need to say anything else — just listen and let them talk.


“I'm here for you.” By being a safe person for your loved one to talk to, you're actually doing a lot. They'll know they have someone who will listen without judgment and won't try to tell them how they should feel. They'll also be more likely to open up about how they are feeling in the future if they know they have someone who will support them.


  1. Educate yourself about depression


The more you know about mental illness, the better equipped you'll be to help your loved one. Learning about depression will also help you understand the impact it has on those who suffer from it and the treatment options that are available.


It's a common misconception that depression is merely a bout of sadness or bad mood. In reality, depression is a serious mental health condition that requires long-term treatment and management. People with depression can't just “snap out of it” or get over it if they just tried hard enough.


Educating yourself about depression by reading articles like this one helps you better understand what your friend is going through. It also makes you more sympathetic, so you know how to empathize with the person instead of making them feel worse.


  1. Encourage treatment


Depression can affect how people think and remember things. It can also make people feel guilty, hopeless, or worthless. It can cause physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, or stomachaches. Depression is a serious illness that requires treatment from a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.


If someone close to you is experiencing symptoms of depression, suggest they talk to their doctor or mental health professional. People who are depressed can seem very sad, but they may also feel exhausted or empty and not show any emotion at all. They may even seem angry or irritable. Depression can make people feel like they have no energy. They may not want to do anything, even things they usually enjoy.


If your friend or loved one is depressed, it’s important to be supportive and encourage them to get help. Sometimes, people with depression don’t realize that what they’re experiencing is an illness that requires treatment. They may feel like they should be able to snap out of it on their own if they try hard enough.


You can help by supporting them in getting professional treatment for depression. Getting help for depression doesn’t mean your friend or loved one doesn’t love you or is abandoning you when you need them the most.


  1. Talk about it openly


One of the best things you can do for someone with depression is show them you're willing to talk about their condition without judgment. This starts by creating a safe environment where your friend feels comfortable opening up to you. Try asking questions like “How has your mood been lately?” and “What do you think contributes to your emotional state?”


The findings of a new study are significant for people suffering from depression as it suggests that talking about their depression openly and receiving support from others can help them deal with it.


“We know that people with depression feel stigmatised, and avoid disclosing their mental health concerns to others because they think they'll be judged negatively,” said lead author of the study, Dr Joanne Callen from the University of Sydney in Australia.


“We wanted to see if disclosing their depression would increase the self-stigma they feel or lead them to feel worse about themselves, but we found the opposite – there was an increase in feelings of connectedness and emotional support.”


  1. Ask About Their Hobbies And Interests


When we think about depression, we often only focus on the more negative aspects of the condition — sadness, hopelessness and other symptoms associated with those emotions — 

But the truth is, most people with depression want you to ask how they're doing. They just don't always know how to respond or even if they're capable of responding at all.


Asking about their hobbies and interests is a great start because it puts the ball in their court and allows them to share at their own pace. It also gives them the opportunity to focus on something that brings them joy.


“The best way to help someone who might be struggling with depression is to engage them in conversation,” said Heather Iriye, a licensed clinical psychologist based in California.


You can do this by asking about their hobbies and interests, which will help you understand what makes them tick and open up the doors for further conversations.


At the end of the day, depression is a serious illness that needs to be treated in a professional manner. If you think that someone you know is subject to depression, don't be afraid to lend them your shoulder and provide support. You just might save their life!


For more helpful and informative insights, visit here.


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