What are the positive things you can say and do to help someone with depression? Here are some ideas written by someone who has experienced deep depression and been helped greatly by family and friends.
- Someone with depression will often get defensive, so an accusatory tone is not helpful. Try to convey a sense of understanding. It isn’t helpful to say “Why can’t you just get out of bed?” Instead try “You seem to have trouble getting out of bed in the mornings. What can I do to help you in this area?”
- The person may have lost perspective on how big a problem actually is. They will find it hard to hear that what is insurmountable for them is actually not such a big deal. It is unhelpful to say “What’s your problem? You’re upset about nothing.” Instead try “You seem to be finding this issue a big deal at the moment. Can we solve it together?”
- When I was very sick, I often thought that my wife was trying to ruin my life. To counter that kind of thinking she would often say “We are a team. I am on your side.”
- Depression is an awful illness, a whole world away from pure sympathy-seeking. So you should treat it as such. “I trust you. If you had a choice in the matter you wouldn’t choose to have depression. How about we search for ways to deal with depression together?”