Finding out that a close friend is suffering from depression can be one of the difficult things that can happen in your life. It will be typical on your part to feel sorry for what the other person is going through. Since the said individual means a lot to you, it is only normal to feel like you need to do something to help that friend. As such, it is essential on your part to give yourself time to process the recent information that you received.
First of all, it is crucial for you to remain calm so that you will not have a hard time extending your support and assistance. Take note that you can never be of help to this person if you cannot get yourself together. Here are some of the things that you need to do for that close friend of yours:
Give Him Space
Learn how to respect the boundaries of your friendship with the person who is suffering from a major depressive disorder. Do not keep on insisting that you want to help because you may sound imposing. Instead, give your friend sufficient time and space to deal with his personal issues before you come in. At the same time, you need to find a way on how to express your willingness to help without making him feel self-pity.
“Depression doesn’t have a clear recovery timeline. Expecting your friend to return to their usual self after a few weeks in therapy won’t help either of you,” said Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD.
Be A Good Listener
Master the art of being an amazing and good listener whenever your friend starts to open up about his mental condition as well as all the other topics related to it. Avoid interrupting him when he is talking about his issues to ensure that he can have the perfect avenue to air out his negative emotions. Your friend will truly appreciate it if you can show him that you are interested in his stories or experiences. The goal is to make him feel comfortable expressing his feelings.
“Aside from counseling or psychotherapy, those suffering can start by opening up to those around them. Choosing one close family member, friend, or confidant, and making it a practice to discuss feelings and concerns can help alleviate symptoms,” said Rita Labeaune, PsyD.
Avoid Being Judgmental
Now is not the time to force your friend to get over his depression. Remember that depression is a mental health issue that is difficult to deal with. There is no easy way to eliminate the signs and symptoms of this mental condition. You have to be patient and understanding in handling this matter with your friend. If you have nothing good to say to him or the people surrounding you, then it is best for you to keep your mouth shut.
Make Yourself Available
It is essential for you to become instantly available whenever your depressed friend in need. At this point, it is significant to highlight the fact that depression can have adverse effects on the way your friend thinks about everything in his life. As such, there is a possibility that he may think of committing suicide to end his suffering in this world. For this reason, it is best for you to drop whatever it is that you are doing whenever the other person wants to talk to you or meet up at a particular place.
“A handwritten note, or sending an e-card or paper card can brighten a depressed person’s day,” said professor of psychology Deborah Serani. “Also, offering a smile is a message of hope, love, and recognition.”
Remember that your actions and words can save a friend from depression.