When you love someone that is experiencing deep depression it can be exhausting and frustrating. You want to encourage your loved one but don’t want to push them too much. Encouraging them to “push through” but knowing when not to do so is a delicate balance. You might even find yourself feeling the depression emotionally. No doubt caring for someone who is in the depths of depression can feel as though life is being sucked out of you. You can end up having no idea as to how to help or encourage your loved one.
Here’s somethings my wife did for me and/or encouraged me to do when I was in the depths of depression:
- Encourage them to do something that they usually have enjoyed doing and do it with them.
- Watch an uplifting movie with them.
- Make them their favorite meal.
- Sit quietly with them. Hold their hand.
- Take a walk with them.
- Take care of yourself!
- Help them establish and stick to a schedule if possible.
- Have some expectations of them.
- Assure them of your unconditional love.
- Assure them that this will pass sooner or later.
- Give them a back rub.
- Listen to soothing, spiritually uplifting music with them.
- Ask them to help you make or do something.
- Encourage them to talk and listen carefully.
- Encourage them to see a doctor if they have not done so.
- Assure them you don’t believe that they are weak or lack faith, but that you know their brain chemistry is experiencing imbalance.
- Ask them to promise you that if they ever begin to feel like they begin to feel suicidal that they will tell you. If they tell you, consult with their doctor as soon as possible or contact the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. If the situation is an emergency, dial 911.
- Ask them what might bring them comfort.
- Talk about the future. Help them see there is a future.
- Encourage them to exercise with you.
- Turn on the lights, open the windows.
- Find out as much as you can about depression. This is a great website: https://www.lighterblue.com/#lighter-blue
- Change your light bulbs to full spectrum light bulbs.
- Give your loved one a mood light. Northern Light Technologies has a wide variety of options. http://northernlighttechnologies.com/ (Before purchasing these you’ll want to check with the doctor.)
- Get them vitamin D and B12.
- Remind them of times when they have overcome adversity so they know it is possible for them to do so again.
- Encourage them to get outside for a walk and some natural sunlight.
- Turn off news programs and other negative media. Control negative inputs.
- Where possible, encourage them to connect with friends.
- Pray. Every time you find yourself worrying about your loved one, pray instead.
Please know, as a loved one it is SO important that you do take care of yourself too. Stay balanced and do somethings that you enjoy. Take care of yourself spiritually and emotionally. Also, know this, the Lord is with you too! He will see you through this valley. Stay in His word. Hold to His hope. And when you can, laugh a little! You are not alone. There is hope. And there is healing.
Cover photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash