It can be hard to watch a loved one in distress, wrestling with the fog of depression and not know how to help. When reaching out through the fog, it can feel like dipping an arm in sludge. It is thick, heavy, and weighty. The person on the outside may not see how much of a challenge it is, but from the inside, it can be devastating.
Losing Loved Ones
Recently there have been a spate of celebrities lost to terrible depression. Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, and the list continues to grow. It is not easy to live with the heaviness brought on by deep depression. Often, people fight in silence. Even when it feels hard, people try to reach out through the dark and never feel like their voice is heard. As people who are struggling in the pit of depression have had to do, they claw up and out of every pain, hurt, and discomforting event to find their way into the light only to find that people are not always as sympathetic or understanding as they hope. Telling a depressed person to reach out is like telling a blind person how to see better, if they just tried harder. It really does take a village to help get everyone on the same page to support a loved one in their darkest moments.
How to Help
Help comes in all shapes and sizes. The biggest thing to do is to start by paying attention. Notice what is going on in that person’s life and listen to what they say and how it is said. Sometimes the warning signs are not always obvious to everyone lse. It is not that person’s fault for missing a sign but everyone can learn as they go about following through with the plan and watching each other’s backs. People struggling with depression act as if everything is fine, which is why it is so easy to cover it up. Working through the depressive fog a person has been in, whether it has been awhile or is more recent can be supported through trying the following:
- Watch out for scripts. Sometimes a loved one will just follow an accepted script rather than act like they are reaching out because it is hard to be vulnerable.
- Let people in. If you or a loved one are struggling, let people in rather than push away.
- Ask a loved one if they have seen a psychiatrist lately for some of the challenges because maybe they have not even considered it.
The onus can not totally be put on the person with depression by telling them to reach out. Instead of that, take some of that to share and lighten the load. Instead, start reaching in for each other and reach deeper than you ever have before. It might just be the lifeline a loved one (or you) needs.
Serenity Oaks supports people struggling with depression and mental health challenges with therapeutic and medical support services. Through individualized programs we help you move forward in recovery. Call us to find out how we can help you get started: 844-720-6847.