How to Comfort a Depressed Friend

Photo by Angelo Gonzalez on Flickr

It can be hard to console or encourage a friend who is struggling with depression. This mood disorder, which some sufferers describe as a “persistent dark cloud hanging over the head”, makes your friend sad and irritable. Hence, you must approach him or her with a lot of discretion.

At times, words alone won’t help much, just being there will. Nothing helps a depressed person snap out of this miserable experience faster than support from their loved ones and close friends.

Know why Your Friend is Depressed

Unless he or she has confided to you about the depression, let your friend know that you have noticed that something like depression is bugging him or her down. Since it is hard for a depressed person to talk about the condition due to the stigma associated with the condition, tell him or her that you want to help.

Tell your friend about your daily trials and tell him or her about your innermost fears and secrets. This helps your friend feel important and make him her start opening up, letting you know why he or she is depressed so that you can both arrange for professional help.

Listen Attentively

Depression makes a person withdraw emotionally and shut down. As such, it may seem reasonable not to worsen matters by not nudging your friend to talk. However, you may be wrong as there are times when your friend may need someone to just sit and listen.

Don’t be judgemental or offer to give any advice- sometimes, a good listener is far more valuable than one who tries to offer solutions. Let your friend open up and vent out the pent-up frustrations. Since your friend is telling you everything in confidence, value the trust placed in you. Though it can seem like a juicy tale to regal others with, don’t leak your friend’s troubles to anyone else.

Stay in Touch

If you stay near your friend, always pop in at times when his or her moods are at the lowest point, especially at night. If you live far, you can occasionally call or text him or her to find how he or she is feeling. Just letting them know that you care means a lot to them and gives them the assurance that you will always be there for them. It also makes them feel important and hence boosts their self-esteem.

Check out for Drug Abuse

It is very easy for a depressed person to seek solace in drugs in order to escape from the reality. Doing so only worsens the situation and makes it harder to overcome the condition. If your friend is abusing drugs, including overdosing on Prozac or other antidepressants, talk to him or her and encourage them to see a psychiatrist.

Have Plenty of Fun

Whenever your friend is in a good mood, seize this golden opportunity and take him or her out to have fun. This involves playing your favorite game together, going for a hike or road-trip or any mutual hobby. While at it, watch for any sudden changes to your friend’s moods and react accordingly. Depression can be hard to control; hence don’t get angry at your friend if their mood alters suddenly.

Photo by Angelo Gonzalez

 
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