When dealing with a depressed family member, it can be difficult to know how to act and what you can do to help. You should know how to approach your depressed family so that they do not become defensive in order to have the most positive interaction with them. It’s a good place to start by offering to talk about it.
Part 1 Interacting with a Depressed Family Member
1. Recognize that it is not your fault that they are ill. If you discover that a member of your family is suffering from depression, it may appear that you had something to do with it. However, it is not your fault. People who are depressed find it difficult to connect emotionally with their loved ones. It is critical to understand that it is not personal in order to be available to this person and assist them.
2. Recognize that it is a genuine physical ailment. When speaking with a depressed family member, keep in mind that they are dealing with a physical problem. It’s tempting to blame their mental illness on decisions they’ve made, but understanding that it’s not their fault can help you be less critical and more supportive.
Remember that your love and support can aid in their recovery from depression.
3. Provide assistance. One of the most valuable things you can offer someone suffering from depression is your support during their recovery process. Allowing someone who is depressed to talk about their feelings without judging them is an important part of their recovery. It will make them feel less isolated.
You can also offer to assist them in finding a support group where they can talk to people who have gone through similar experiences to make them feel less alone.
4. Inquire directly. To assist your depressed family member, you must first understand what they are going through. There are a lot of things that can be going on with depression, so you have to ask direct questions to get to the bottom of it. You can encourage your loved one to investigate the source of their depression in order to help them overcome it. Pose questions such as:
“When did you first start to feel bad?”
”Do you know what triggered these feelings?”
”What makes it worse?”
”What makes it better?”
5. Avoid telling the person that they need to change. Demanding that your loved one change their feelings is a pointless exercise, primarily because they don’t know how to change their feelings. When they don’t change, you’ll be frustrated, and they’ll be angry at you, possibly feeling more depressed than ever.
This can also instil shame in them, exacerbating the situation.
6. Avoid attempting to repair the family member. If you try to save your family member, they will not learn how to manage their feelings of sadness on their own. It is unlikely that you will be able to cure the depression, and the fact that you are interfering in their lives may cause depressed relatives to become irritated with you.
This will also cause you to have negative interactions with your loved one, such as when you try to fix it and it doesn’t work and you become angry with them.
Accept them for who they are and where they are on the emotional spectrum.
7. Maintain a positive attitude. Create realistic expectations for your depressed loved one while maintaining a hopeful attitude for them. Your loved one can recover from depression and change. There is hope, and if you keep this in mind, you can help them to have hope as well.
Part 2 Identifying Depression in Your Family Member
1. Take note if a member of your family is depressed. Sad feelings are a defining feature of depression, especially when there is no reason for them. This sadness can weigh heavily on your family member’s soul, and recognising signs of this extra sadness is critical for identifying depression.
Listen to them when they speak to see if they sound depressed but don’t know why.
They may also show signs of crying, feeling empty, and hopelessness.
2. Check to see if they have a loss interest. Loss of interest in previously exciting activities is a classic sign of depression. Keep an eye on their behaviour and see if they start saying “no” to activities they used to enjoy, as well as acting listless and bored most of the time.
These are typically activities such as hobbies and sports.
People who are listless and uninterested in anything can also be lethargic, refusing to move or engage in physical activity.
3. Increased irritability and angry outbursts are observed. People who suffer from depression are depressed because they are sad about life and discouraged about things that used to make them happy, so they are unhappy. Being unhappy can make you irritable in general, causing you to become agitated over minor issues on a regular basis. If someone in your family never seems to be happy, they could be depressed.
4. Keep an eye on their sleeping habits. When it comes to sleep, people suffering from depression tend to go to one extreme or the other. They either can’t sleep at all or sleep excessively. Insomnia is the inability to sleep, and if someone in your family starts complaining about it, look for other signs of depression.
Sleeping excessively is a way to avoid having to deal with negative emotions most of the time.
Part 3 Helping a Family Member Get Help
1. Learn more about yourself. Learning how depression works for yourself is a good place to start when dealing with a depressed family member. This not only allows you to understand how your family member’s illness works, but it also shows that you are supportive and that they are valuable to you, which are all things that someone suffering from depression requires.
2. Discuss it as a family. The depression of a family member affects the entire family, not just the person suffering from it. Sitting down as a family to talk about it can help your depressed relative express themselves and feel supported. This also assists you in determining what works and what does not work.
3. Get to know their therapist. If your depressed family member agrees, you can check in with their therapist on a regular basis to see how they’re doing. This way, you can determine whether your actions at home are beneficial or detrimental to them. The therapist can also teach you how to help others more effectively.
4. Consult a family therapist. Along with individual therapy for the depressed family member, it may be beneficial to seek out couples or family counselling to help everyone share their feelings about the family member’s depression. This therapy can aid in the restoration of relationships that have been shattered by depression, particularly marriages.
Family counselling also assists children in understanding their role and emphasising that it is not their fault.
5. Assist them in establishing a support network. Offer to assist your depressed family member in locating and developing a support network. You can poll your friends to see if any of them have experienced depression and if they are willing to talk to your family member. You can look for local support groups and see if your family member would like to join one.
It is also critical that you establish a support network so that you do not feel isolated and overwhelmed while caring for a depressed family member.
6. Assist them in their search for a therapist. Most importantly, encourage your depressed family member to seek out a therapist, offering to assist them in finding one who is a good fit for them. You may have received a referral or have an insurance plan that requires you to see specific therapists.
Your assistance can keep the depressed family member from becoming overwhelmed and abandoning the therapy process, which is critical to their success.
Creative Commons License