Helping Someone Cope with Depression

Girl masking her sadness
Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

What do you think when you hear a person suffers from depression? You may not think much of what it takes to crawl out of that darkness if you have never experienced it yourself. You might not even, truly, understand how bad it can get for the person suffering. But you need to know that those that fight their way out and come back, and then go and try and help others, whether they know it or not, they are their own type of Super Hero.

Having suffered from this for years, since I was 14, I have been in many low places in my life. Sometimes so low that I thought I would never get out of them. Most of the time, I have HAD to dig myself out on my own. This might not seem like such a daunting task, but you have to look at it from a different perspective. See, people with depression, at least from my own point of view, do not look at problems the same way those that have never experienced it might. When I start to feel a ’bout coming on, the thought of getting back up seems overwhelming. It becomes a cascade effect of self-doubt, self-deprecation, and an inability to see anything positive.

Think of it as if you are climbing a mountain. Every time you make some headway, you realize you have only made it halfway, and it’s getting steeper. You see people and try to explain what you are doing, but they speak another language and never understand you. This is how it feels to me. Even people that do suffer from depression may not understand your plight. No two people will feel the same way when they suffer and may not understand what the other is experiencing.

It would be impossible for me to suggest that you put yourself in someone else’s shoes to feel what a depressed person is going through. It’s just not something you can do. But as a person who KNOWS someone that suffers, you can do something to help. When I have my bouts, the best thing that helps me are these:

  • Be patient with me.
  • Understand that I may not be kind or happy with you, but your being there means the world to me.
  • Understand that I cannot ‘Just get over it. That’s just not how it works.
  • Be ready for when I come out of it. I will need someone to talk to.
  • Make time to listen when I am ready.
  • Be ready to understand when I want to be left alone.
  • Be a lighthouse in the storm that they are suffering through.

Remember that depression is not just about a mood or feeling. It’s not that we are just feeling down or out of sorts. Depression is a very real thing and it can be dangerous to the people that suffer. The most important thing that you, a loved one of a person that suffers, can do is be there. It may not seem like we notice, but we do.

I will tell you a little story in closing. Some time ago, I was having a terrible day. I was cleaning the house and in a foul, bitter mood and I knew I was heading into a depressive bout. Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ came on and broke me down. Out of nowhere, Rian, my niece, who was staying with us at the time, came in. She told me to lock up the house; she was taking me to Taco Bell. It was not much, it was all she could possibly afford at the time, but it meant the world to me. I still, to this day, see it as one of the most special times because it helped me find something to be happy about. That’s important. At that moment, at that time, she was my lighthouse. She caught me and guided me in before I got too bad.

As always… thank you for reading.

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