Dont Take Their Responses Personally
It can be difficult to help a friend with depression. You may become the target of their anger or they may regularly bail on meeting up.
Although your feelings can get hurt, youve got to remember that its nothing personal. It may just be that your friend needed to lash out at someone, and you were the person they felt most comfortable unleashing on.
The expression you only hurt the ones you love can be pretty accurate in this situation you can even take it as a compliment.
Remember that its okay to take a break for a couple of days and wait until things have cooled down. Lashing out at you, and the likely guilt that follows for doing so, is another example of the lack of control your friend may be feeling.
It might be difficult not to feel resentful and irritated at being the target of your friends difficulty with emotional management, try to process this in a productive way, such as journaling or educating yourself on ways depression shows up.
How Are Depression And Anxiety Diagnosed
There are no specific tests but your GP may perform some blood tests for other health conditions that share similar symptoms with depression or anxiety.
Your GP will need to get a good picture of the way youre feeling mentally and physically. They will ask you lots of questions about your symptoms and the changes youve noticed.
It can be difficult to think about specific answers on-the-spot but the following suggestions might help you plan ahead for your appointment.
- Make a list of all your symptoms, whether they are worse at certain times of the day or on particular occasions, how long youve had them and their effect on your day-to-day life and relationship with others.
- Explain any circumstances that could be contributing to these symptoms and the way you feel.
- Take a list of all medications you currently take, including any supplements or non-prescription medication.
- Be as open and honest as you can remember anything you say is confidential.
Match Your Support To Their Preferences And Attachment Style
Its best to ask someone what type of support they prefer rather than guess! However, we know from research that people who have an avoidant attachment style are likely to respond best to strong displays of concrete practical support. That could include helping the anxious person break tasks down into manageable steps, or talking through specific options for how to deal with a difficult situation, like how to respond to an angry email, but still acknowledging their autonomy and independence while doing so.
Other people are more likely to prefer emotional support, especially those who are securely attached, or who have a preoccupied attachment style due to a fear of being abandoned or of their emotions being overwhelming to others. Folks like this respond well to statements emphasizing that theyre part of a tight teamfor example, their supporter saying, This is tough but we love each other and well get through it together.
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Actions For This Page
- Anxiety and depression in men are common, and effective, evidence-based treatments are available.
- Anxiety and depression are mental health conditions, not weaknesses.
- Taking action may seem difficult but help and support is readily available.
- Its important to seek support for anxiety and depression early the sooner the better.
- With the right treatment, most people recover from anxiety and depression.
How Can I Help Someone With Depression
Depression is a serious but treatable disorder that affects millions of people, from young to old and from all walks of life. It gets in the way of everyday life, causing tremendous pain, hurting not just those suffering from it but also impacting everyone around them.
If someone you love is depressed, you may be experiencing any number of difficult emotions, including helplessness, frustration, anger, fear, guilt, and sadness. These feelings are all normal. Its not easy dealing with a friend or family members depression. And if you neglect your own health, it can become overwhelming.
That said, your companionship and support can be crucial to your loved ones recovery. You can help them to cope with depression symptoms, overcome negative thoughts, and regain their energy, optimism, and enjoyment of life. Start by learning all you can about depression and how to best talk about it with your friend or family member. But as you reach out, dont forget to look after your own emotional healthyoull need it to provide the full support your loved one needs.
Understanding depression in a friend or family member
Depression is a serious condition. Dont underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a persons energy, optimism, and motivation. Your depressed loved one cant just snap out of it by sheer force of will.
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What You Should Avoid Doing
Its easy to make mistakes when youre trying to help someone through depression, and you shouldnt beat yourself up too much. This is as new to you as it is to your friend. Forgive yourself for mistakes instead of withdrawing because you got one thing wrong.
Heres some things to avoid when supporting your loved one.
Anxiety And Depression: What Are The Possible Links
Although clearly not identical emotional states, mental health research suggests that depression and anxiety often coexist because they can be caused by the same or similar factors. According to an article published May 2020 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, those overlapping causes can include:
- Genetic Factors Genetic factors contribute to 40 percent of the predisposition to depressive and anxious symptoms, with 60 percent being attributed to environmental, noninherited factors. “Especially with anxiety, more so than depression, there often is some family history, and so therefore we think that there may be some genetic predisposition to this,” Connolly explains.
- Environmental Factors Also referred to as social factors, these include experiences like trauma or neglect in early childhood, and current stressors such as relationship difficulties, unemployment, social isolation, and physical illness. People who have post-traumatic stress disorder , an anxiety disorder, are particularly likely to also develop depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health .
- Pain Chronic pain, and particularly disabling pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome , low back pain, headaches, and nerve pain, are closely linked to psychological distress, including both anxiety and depression, notes Harvard Health. In fact, they say, research suggests that pain shares some biological mechanisms with anxiety and depression.
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Know The Symptoms And Look Out For Them
It sounds basic, but just knowing the symptoms can be a huge help. A lot of people with depression dont even realize that they have it. In fact, the average time between developing depression and seeking help is 5 years. Yikes.
Look out for these signs:
- They often seem sad or tearful.
- They talk about feeling empty or worthless.
- They dont spend as much time with you as they used to, or dont express much interest in doing their usual hobbies.
- Theyre quick to get angry or irritable.
- They dont have much energy, and household chores go undone.
- They often seem tired or listless.
- They dont seem to have an appetite.
- Theyre forgetful or indecisive.
Do Something You Enjoy
Depression can push you to give into your fatigue. It may feel more powerful than happy emotions.
Try to push back and do something you love something thats relaxing, but energizing. It could be playing an instrument, painting, hiking, or biking.
These activities can provide subtle lifts in your mood and energy, which may help you overcome your symptoms.
Research suggests people who spend time in nature have improved mental health.
Exposure to sunlight may offer some of the same benefits. It can increase your serotonin levels, which can provide a temporary mood boost .
Consider taking a walk at lunch among the trees or spending some time in your local park. Or plan a weekend hike. These activities can help you reconnect with nature and soak in some rays at the same time.
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Assess The Parts Instead Of Generalizing The Whole
Depression can tinge recollections with negative emotions. You may find yourself focusing on the one thing that went wrong instead of the many things that went right.
Try to stop this overgeneralization. Push yourself to recognize the good. If it helps, write down what was happy about the event or day. Then write down what went wrong.
Seeing the weight youre giving to one thing may help you direct your thoughts away from the whole and to the individual pieces that were positive.
How To Talk To Someone With Depression
If you have recognised the signs and symptoms of depression in someone close to you, it can be incredibly helpful to have an open and honest conversation about it, so that you can begin to develop an understanding of what theyre going through and reassure them that theyre not alone.
When to do it
The best time to raise this subject with your loved one is in a situation and location where you know they feel relaxed and at ease, and somewhere where you wont be interrupted. Car journeys are a good example, or perhaps when youre in a quiet local café.
How to start the conversation
Its important that you start the conversation off in a non-confrontational and open-ended way. Try to focus the questioning on your perspective instead of putting it all on them. You could say things like: Ive been a bit worried about you lately or Ive noticed that you havent been yourself and wanted to talk to you about it.
The focus on I instead of you takes the spotlight away from them and makes it more likely that theyll feel comfortable enough to open up to you.
Questions to ask
After you have initiated the conversation, its a good idea to have some questions ready to ask them. This will help you to gain more information about their mood and emotions and be in a better position to help. Your questions might include:
- How long have you been feeling this way?
- How do you feel on a general day-to-day basis?
- Has something happened to make you feel this way?
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What To Say When Someone Is Depressed Or Anxious
You could start the conversation by asking questions such as: It seems like things have been hard for you lately. Whats on your mind? and: What can I do to help?
Something Ive learnt is to ask sincere, open-ended questions like, How does this feel? So the other person can feel supported, comforted and safe, rather than being told what to do. ayrc_1904
When you want to bring up a sensitive issue with a friend, try to choose a time and place when youre both comfortable, relaxed and theres some privacy. Dont push them if they dont want to talk, and be there for them if they become upset. You might not have an answer or a solution, but just being there to listen can be super helpful.
It might be difficult for your friend to accept your help continue to check in with them and let them know that you care about them, and that youre there for them if they need you.
Taking Care Of Yourself
Theres a natural impulse to want to fix the problems of people we care about, but you cant control someone elses depression. You can, however, control how well you take care of yourself. Its just as important for you to stay healthy as it is for the depressed person to get treatment, so make your own well-being a priority.
Remember the advice of airline flight attendants: put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. In other words, make sure your own health and happiness are solid before you try to help someone who is depressed. You wont do your friend or family member any good if you collapse under the pressure of trying to help. When your own needs are taken care of, youll have the energy you need to lend a helping hand.
Speak up for yourself. You may be hesitant to speak out when the depressed person in your life upsets you or lets you down. However, honest communication will actually help the relationship in the long run. If youre suffering in silence and letting resentment build, your loved one will pick up on these negative emotions and feel even worse. Gently talk about how youre feeling before pent-up emotions make it too hard to communicate with sensitivity.
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Know When Its Time To Ask For Help
Even though the symptoms of anxiety can feel overwhelming and permanent, anxiety is highly treatable. If someone you love is experiencing pervasive anxiety, or you have concerns that anxiety is interfering with daily life, encourage them to seek help from their primary care physician or mental health professional.
Of all the ways to help someone with anxiety, this may be the most important one.
As a friend or loved one, your role is to offer support, not treatment. Offer to assist with locating a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist that treats anxiety. Talk to them about online and in-person therapy options.
Individuals living with anxiety can often feel better by undergoing a combination of therapies, including psychotherapy, medication, and self-management.
What Causes Depression Or Anxiety
Depression and anxiety can happen for no obvious reason. But in many cases it can be triggered by certain life events, such as:
- money or finance issues
- the time of year.
These situations might make anyone feel low and not everyone who experiences these goes on to develop depression. But thinking about any triggers can help you understand your feelings.
Everyone feels down from time to time, but if you’ve not been feeling yourself for a while it’s time to talk to someone like your doctor, nurse or a trusted friend or family member.
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Treatment For Anxiety And Depression In Men
Your doctor is a good source of information and can discuss with you whether what youre experiencing may be anxiety or depression. They can also refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist. Any of these health professionals can help you with an action plan, whether or not you are diagnosed with anxiety, depression or both.
Anxiety and depression are like any other conditions there are ways to treat and manage them.
Lifestyle changes, such as spending time with supportive friends and family, regular exercise, getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet and cutting down on alcohol and other drugs are all worthwhile changes that can help to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms.
Psychological treatments, including cognitive behaviour therapy, are effective in treating anxiety and depression and are often recommended first, particularly for mild to moderate anxiety and depression. Your doctor may refer you to see a psychologist or other counsellor for this type of treatment.
For some people, antidepressant medication might also be an option. Antidepressants can be effective for both anxiety and depression. They usually take at least 2 weeks before they start to help, and it may also take some time for your doctor to find the medication and dose that is most effective for you.