If someone you care about is in the throes of a bout of depression it can be really difficult to know how to support them. I've been clinically depressed and I've supported people who are depressed, so I have experience of this horrible condition from both sides as both carer and cared for.
I've been talking to fellow sufferers and, drawing on their experience and my own, here are my tips on how to support someone who is depressed:
- LISTEN Don't try to "fix" them. It's tempting to try to come up with solutions - "why don't you..." "Look at it like this..." but actually, it can be really unhelpful. The best thing is to listen - really, really listen. You can reflect back what they have said to you so that they know you have heard them, but don't go overboard! The very act of being willing to listen can be a huge help.
- ASK THEM WHAT THEY NEED They might not know, but the fact that you are willing to ask can be comforting. If they do know, then act on it. They know what...