Having a loved one with depression and taking care of him or her can be draining at times. Of all the challenges of living with a person suffering from depression, the one that can have far-reaching consequences on the psyche of the patient is communication. This is because people grappling with depression are quite sensitive and judgmental. Therefore, even if a loved one says something unintentionally, a person with depression might take that comment personally and start feeling dejected and betrayed.
Therefore, one must be empathetic towards people with depressive symptoms and weigh their words carefully while interacting with them. Listed below are a few challenges encountered by a person trying to communicate with a person suffering from depression.
Avoid issuing threats: After slogging for hours at work, a husband expects to be served with hot sumptuous dinner on reaching home. However, on return he is greeted by a shabby home, unkempt children, closed kitchen and a wife aimlessly gazing at the ceiling. Despite knowing that his spouse is dealing with depression, he shouts at his partner and threatens her to mend her ways and get back to normalcy. This sort of an ultimatum can worsen a person’s depressive symptoms and push him or her toward isolation. Had the spouse kept calm, ordered dinner or involved the wife and children in dinner preparation and reassured the wife that it is okay to feel low at times, chances of her recovery would have increased.
Avoid diverting the topic: A person with depression might be close and dependable on a loved one and at times, such a person might want to share or discuss something with this loved one. However, the loved one might be tired or occupied and in a fit of irritation might say things like, “Can we discuss this some other day?” or “I’m not in a mood to listen.” It is understandable that the loved one might actually be tired, but one must be polite and must get back later.
Avoiding admonishments and sarcasm: It is normal to indulge in admonishing and bantering with people who are mentally stable and who know how to take comments in their stride. Instead, if one issues statement like, “You are so useless, redo the entire work in 30 minutes,” or “Yeah I know you could not have understood the joke,” the admonishment and sarcasm can cause acute distress to a person with depression.
Avoiding acting superior: It is understandable that when a person is grappling with a major depression, he or she might get a tad slow physically as well as psychologically. Nevertheless, under no circumstances does one need to instill a feeling of worthlessness in a person with depression.
Avoiding giving orders: People struggling with depression are generally vulnerable, feel lethargic, might get into binge eating and hence gain weight, and might prefer staying indoors. Family members or loved ones usually fail to understand that the person might be suffering form depression and might be in a dire need of intervention. Instead, the family members or the closed ones start acting like dictators with statements like, “You must get up early morning and meditate,” “You should go for a run,” “You must help me with cooking.”
Road to recovery
Mental illnesses like depression can last for a long period and therefore, it is important that the loved ones converse with the person suffering in a comforting way. Whenever a person with depression does even little tasks like cleaning a garden, he or she should be heartily appreciated. However, depression is a serious problem that requires professional support.
If you or your loved one is struggling with depression, contact the Depression Treatment Helpline to find the top depression rehab centers in the U.S. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-619-7729 or chat online with our counselors to find the best rehabilitation centers for depression in your area.