Finding out that someone you know or close to your heart is suffering from depression can get confusing. The initial reaction is that you would feel sad about the other person, which is why you have the urge to offer help in any possible way that you can think of. Do not worry because this is only normal, especially if the depressed individual is a family member. However, it is essential that you think twice before speaking or doing something as it can hurt the other person or make the situation worse.
As BetterHelp licensed professionals suggest, here are the things that you must never do to a person with clinical depression:
- Tell Him That He Is Only Sad
Telling a depressed person that what he is feeling is only a form of sadness is a big no-no. This can become very offensive to the said individual. It is as if you are discounting the fact that he has a more severe case of extreme sadness or grief. What he is feeling is more than that. Avoid making him feel that he is only exaggerating the emotions. When you do this, you are going to making him feel more neglected. The best thing to do is to be there for him. If you are unsure of what to do, just keep your mouth shut.
- Force Him To Cheer Up
For sure, you want the other person to start being happy about the things that he has in his life. You want him to focus on gratitude. Well, sad to say, forcing him to act in such a manner will only look like you are pressuring him to become someone that he is not. As a result, he would become more depressed than ever. The best thing to do at this point is to let him act based on what he is feeling. What is important is that you make yourself available to him.
“Depression is not a weakness of character, laziness, or a phase,” said Deborah Serani, PsyD. “Tough love, like telling someone to ‘buck up’ or ‘try harder,’ doesn’t work, and worsens the illness.”
- Accuse Him Of Being Melodramatic
The truth is that dealing with someone with depression can be exhausting on your part. It sucks to be there for a person who is apparently at lost of his emotions. Be more patient and understanding in handling the situation, especially if the depressed person is your son. Make him feel that what he is feeling right now is valid. Do not make the scenario more difficult by dismissing his thoughts and concerns. As an alternative, try to start meaningful conversations with him until he starts to open up.
“Kids might ignore, hide, or deny how they feel. Or they might not realize that they’re depressed. Older kids and teens might act like they don’t want help, but talk with them anyway. Listen, offer your support, and show love,” said D’Arcy Lyness, PhD.
- Place Him In An Awkward Place
There are many reasons for the depression that a teenager is feeling. At some point, no one knows what triggers it. Thus, it is logical that you want to find out about the causes so that you can devise means on solving the problem. This is a good thing to do, but you must be careful by ensuring that your acts will not place him in an awkward situation. For example, if one of the reasons for the depression of your son is a broken relationship, then do not invite his ex to come over to your place to talk to him. It will only break your son’s heart again. There could be an exception to this, which is when he allows such an arrangement to take place. Otherwise, refrain from doing it.
“Be compassionately curious with him. Ask him questions about his mood gently, without being emotional,” said Stephanie Dowd, PsyD. “Even parents with the best intentions often don’t realize that their concern can come across as critical rather than loving.”
Avoid doing all the things mentioned above to help your loved one get over from the drowning feeling of depression.