Depression is a real menace to a lot of people all over the world, and it’s the kind of thing that we all need to try and understand as best as we can. There is very often going to be a time when someone in your life is depressed, and you might feel a natural urge to help them get through it as best as you can. As it happens, there are a lot of things to bear in mind here, and it might be easier than you think to do this, but remember too that you are not always the sole solution. Nonetheless, here are a few potential ways to help a depressed loved one through their dark time.Continue reading “Helping A Depressed Loved One”
With 1 in 4 individuals living in the UK suffering from a mental illness, it is likely that someone in your family or friends group is one of those people. From depression to border-line personality disorder, there is always one recurring factor that must be remembered. Seek help. The more support within a sufferer’s life, the less pressurised they feel to wallow in their irrational shame and isolation.
By reading this article, I hope to enlighten your world with ways in which you can help those in your life coping with depression. But don’t worry if they don’t reach out to you immediately. Something with such a mind-numbing pain attached can often take the person time to understand and cope with it themselves.
The first step to caring for those you love is through understanding the illness itself. Without the knowledge of how the illness is affecting them and others, there is no real relevant way that you can help. However, as each individual has their own experience of depressive symptoms, it is advised to let them explain how they feel first. Once this has been established, then you can begin to cushion the impact for them. For example, if they feel as though they are isolated from the world and this is creating an overt sense of depression, then make them aware that you are always available for company or even a simple cup of tea.
Despite this, people with mental illnesses also tend to value their time alone to reflect and get to know themselves, so you should definitely avoid any form of smothering. Nevertheless, with a gentle reminder that you are there for them, this can go a long way.
Another way in which you can help your loved one is through the boosting of their low self-esteem. With depression, it is almost guaranteed that the way in which they feel about themselves is fairly negative. But if you want to care for them, then reinforcing a cycle of positivity can help with this. So, if they have decided to get out of bed, or are looking more cheerful on those better days, then don’t forget to remind them of this. With the occasional complimentary comment, you can help to break their negative thought pattern, reminding them that they always have been, and of course always will be a beautiful person.
Don’t Make It All About You and Your Experiences… Just Let Them Talk
If you also suffer from depression yourself, I am sure you are aware that there is nothing worse than people smothering you with their stories of how they overcame their illness. In one way, they probably believe that by telling you about their experiences, this will automatically benefit you; however, it doesn’t. As I’ve mentioned before, each individual person suffers from their own specific depressive symptoms, meaning that just because you’ve overcome your illness, by following the same path they can too. This is a common mistake and can often make those being talked at feel insignificant and overwhelmed.
The first step to success in this area is to make it obvious that you are available to talk. By extending this invitation, this then provides them with the opportunity to accept whenever they feel comfortable and ready to open up. As the first discussion can be overpowering, then you must be prepared for tears and snotty messes; but once they come to terms with their depression, and accept that they need help, then it can only go up from there. It is also important to remember that often when people discuss their mental illness, they feel ashamed of their ‘weaknesses’. However, as a stigma that needs to be destroyed, you must make them aware that it is okay to feel down. It is the recovery and learning to love yourself that is important. By doing so, you’ll reinforce this significantly important mantra: Your mental illness does not define you!
Every Little Helps
A further method support is to reinforce the importance of maintaining their typical everyday schedule. When suffering from depression, an ordinary routine can often become overwhelming, causing isolation and sadness to consume them as you feel as though they cannot leave their bed. This can often lead to difficulties regarding money, especially if they convince themselves that going into work is not an option. However, by contacting advice services such as Mental Health and Money Advice, professionals who understand will be able to create a plan of guidance and offer you services into how to help someone with poor mental health with their expenses.
By following the aide of this article, I hope that you will be able to alleviate the suffering of your loved one. As such a common problem in the UK, I know how consuming mental illnesses can be. However, with your support, you should be able to encourage your family member or friend to open up and seek the support that they so desperately deserve.
When I started blogging in the Autumn of 2010, a large part of my need to get my thoughts out of my head was because of the birth trauma I’d suffered whilst having Sausage in August 2008. Skip forward two years and I’d joined forces with Susanne from Ghostwriter Mummy, someone I’d only ever communicated with online, but who understood me better than some people I’d known my whole life because she’d been through a traumatic birth of her own.
You don’t want to believe that trauma, depression and PTSD will be something that defines you for the rest of your life but, in my experience, it’s something that does stay with you forever – you just learn how to carry it more comfortably, over time, like a heavy bag with a rubbish handle. And it’s out of this shared experience that Susanne and I started Maternity Matters, a place for us and anyone else to tell their stories, find some support and to join together in improving knowledge and care for families who’ve suffered a trauma.
Over the past three years we’ve shared some incredible accounts of women of all ages and all walks of life, as well as collating news regarding maternity care in the UK, although life and babies (two more for Susanne and one more for me, bringing our collective total to six!) meant that the site has gone unloved for a while…until NOW! We’re hoping to bring Maternity Matters back to life and get it back on track. Susanne and I have a lot of new experiences to write about and we’re hoping that we’ll have lots of contributions from fellow bloggers and parents who want to share their stories.
In the meantime, Susanne and I will be launching the #MaternityMatters linky, starting tomorrow, for you to link up any article, blog post or story relating to:
pregnancy and pregnancy related conditions/ complications
childbirth – of all kinds
parenting a baby
The linky will go live every other Friday and we’d love to get as many of you as possible linking up with ANYTHING maternity-related. Also, if you’d like to contribute to Maternity Matters, please email email@example.com with your ideas.
When I was around 20, my whole life revolved around my friends. I was a social butterfly, to say the least, and my phone would be constantly abuzz with texts about nights out and things that I was doing that evening. My friend Jamillah and I used to joke and say that Tuesday was the new Friday because pretty much every night of the week was an excuse to be out, in the thick of it. I rarely paid to get into a club because I knew all of the door staff, or knew someone who knew someone who’d let us in for free, and there was more than one occasion that I’d go out with no money in my pocket at all, because I knew there’d be plenty of places where our money was no good anyway, and the drinks would still be flowing.
I won’t lie and say I was 100% happy, or that all of it was real, because I was definitely running away from reality and lots of the people I counted as ‘friends’ were nothing more than fellow party-goers, searching for the next buzz. I’m so grateful that I met Husband when I did because I think my burnout would have been far more spectacular, had I not. As it stands I met someone who cared about me a whole lot more than I cared about myself and it gave me the impetus to stop abusing my mind and body.
Skip forward a few years and even the friends who were real, the ones I have almost life-long memories with, are few and far between. I won’t lie to you, dear readers, it’s largely my fault. A heady mix of lack of confidence because of my weight, combined with social anxiety that was exacerbated by PTSD means that I’m flaky at best. I’m great at talking to people on Facebook, but actually mobilising myself and getting to a coffee shop or friends house sends me into a tailspin. Even when I do make plans, more often than not I’ll cop out and cancel at the last minute. For someone who used to thrive on being out and about, it’s quite a turnaround.
I’m lucky in the fact that I have a lot of friends that I’ve met through blogging and social networking, people who I genuinely class as proper friends (like that Mummy Barrow, who spent ages trying to phone round my local hospital when she found out I’d been taken ill last year!). And the immediate gratification of being able to pick up my phone or turn on my laptop at pretty much any time of the day and connect with someone makes it even easier for me to be a shut in.
I’m also lucky in that I’m very happy with my little family. Husband is the best friend I could possibly ask for; we have so much in common and even when we’re both working from home, we find new and interesting things to talk about – we connect really well, even after 8 years of marriage, which is a huge blessing. And then there’s my darling Sausage. She’s an absolute pleasure to spend time with and more often than not, I’d rather go for a hot chocolate with her than do anything else.
I still have this weird feeling of loneliness sometimes. I see old school friends on Facebook going out and having fun and I do get a pang of jealousy. It’s no-ones fault but my own, no-one has stopped me from maintaining my friendships, no-one forces me to be a social failure. Someone asked me last week if I’d had a baby shower yet and I was forced to admit that not only had I not ever had a baby shower, but I probably couldn’t muster up enough friends to even go to one. Same goes for my 30th – having a party would be pointless as it’d be me, standing in a big hall, surrounded by about 20 people, most of whom would be family. I’m not saying I don’t have any friends at all, I do, but I feel totally displaced from just about everyone and it’s all a bit sad, really.
Maybe it’s just me being pregnant and hormonal, I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll join a mother and baby group once 2.1 comes along and see if I can find some equally lonely shut-ins, like me. Perhaps I need to just man the hell up and start actually leaving the house for longer than it takes to do the school run or wander round Waitrose.
Alternative title: Why I’d Like to Close the Curtains and Eat Cheese Toasties in My Pyjamas For The Next Week…
Let me set the scene:
In she walks, well dressed but professional. Her hair and make-up are well done but not so immaculate that she looks over the top. She’s confident, you can tell by her stride that she knows what she’s doing. She exchanges banter in the lift with the girl who’s been sent to bring her to the interview room and she takes in her surroundings, wondering if she’ll become more familiar with them in the near future.
“Come through, please”
She walks into the room, smiles, shakes three hands and waits to be told to take a seat.
Questions, questions, questions.
She answers most of them with confidence, but admits that there are one or two questions that she’s found tricky.
She makes her presentation.
They lap it up.
They laugh in the right places, they clap, they ask if they can use her material for their own campaign in a ‘jokeybutkindofserious’ way
They’re all smiling.
One of them offers to show her back to the lift.
“You were great” she offers.
The woman tells her that she came across brilliantly, that she’d be perfect for the role, asks what’s her availability in terms of start dates?
She almost skips to her car.
“I’ve nailed it!” she thinks.
She goes home.
“We regret to inform you…”
“Bollocks”, she thinks.