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Supporting Someone Who Has Depression

Depression is a debilitating illness, of that there is no doubt. It rattles us to our very core and impacts on our relationships – the very relationships which play a crucial part in helping us to manage depression. It’s cruel.

We’ve put together this page as we understand how painful it can be to see depression consume someone you care about. Because we believe that empathy is a good place to start, we have tried to give you an understanding of what depression is like in addition to ways you can be supportive.

Blurt’s Guide to Supporting Someone Who Has Depression – Click to Tweet

"Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend." - Albert Camus

OUR RELATIONSHIPS REALLY MATTER

Supporting someone who has depression is far from easy. You may feel helpless, confused, and struggle to know what to do for the best.

In life, we all need a support squad: people we trust enough to confide in,  who will walk with us in the dark and who lift us from rock bottom.

Depression makes our need for such relationships even greater, but the illness itself tells us that we’re not worthy of them. We genuinely think you’d be better off without us. And we are determined not to be a burden – so much so that we try and push you away.

Because we understand how difficult it is to support someone with depression, AND because we know how much you are needed as a guiding light, we’ve put together some handy information with you in mind. We hope it will help you as you help others.

HELPING SOMEONE WHO IS SUICIDAL

Around 20% of people in the UK experience suicidal thoughts at some point in their lifetime. It can be distressing and we worry about saying or doing the right things.

41 THINGS THOSE WITH DEPRESSION WANT YOU TO KNOW

It can be hard to believe just how common depression is because we just don’t talk about it. Well, we do, but as a whole, society doesn’t tend to . There’s still a great deal of stigma and shame attached to  it.

PRACTICAL WAYS TO SUPPORT SOMEONE WITH DEPRESSION

For those who support someone with depression, it can be a struggle to know how to help. We list some practical ways to help do just that.

DEAR FRIEND (IS IT STILL OKAY TO CALL YOU THAT?)

Years ago, depression came out of nowhere and knocked me to my knees. It felt as though overnight, I turned from a lifelong member of our friendship circle into someone who felt so incredibly unworthy of your friendship.

RELATIONSHIPS & DEPRESSION: HOW TO SUPPORT EACH OTHER

Support is essential when you struggle with depression, and it’s good if that support can come from a variety of people and means.

DESCRIBING DEPRESSION TO THOSE WHO’VE NEVER HAD IT

We can appreciate that a broken leg must hurt like hell, that childbirth must be excruciating and we can even muster up compassion for those who are heartbroken – despite not being able to ‘see’ the pain THEY feel.

So, why then, is depression so different?

A LETTER TO PARENTS WHO HAVE A CHILD WITH DEPRESSION

We know that things are really tough for you right now. Perhaps your child has just been diagnosed with depression, or maybe they’ve had it for a while. They might not really be a child any more, they might be a teen, a young adult, or maybe even a fully-fledged grown-up, but they’re still your child.

5 VIDEOS WHICH AID UNDERSTANDING OF DEPRESSION

We’ve put together 5 videos which explain depression brilliantly, offer insights and understanding of this debilitating illness.

TALKING TO YOUR CHILD ABOUT THEIR DEPRESSION

Having a child with depression, however old they are, is difficult. We know how hard it can be to try and find the right words to say. It can be really daunting to try and talk about anything depression-related because we worry about saying the wrong thing and making things worse. .

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up." – John Holmes

What You Don't See

When you have depression, it’s like there’s a war raging in your brain, but because depression is a mental illness, it’s not always obvious that you’re struggling. There’s so much that you just don’t see.

Depression can hit anyone, at any time, regardless of age, gender, and personal circumstance. It’s an invisible illness: you can’t tell from the outside who is suffering.

During Depression Awareness Week 2016, we ran a campaign ‘#whatyoudontsee’. It unexpectedly went viral. We asked people to share their insights and experiences of depression – we wanted to highlight the reality of depression, the impact depression has had on our lives, and give people a chance to share ‘what you don’t see’.

You can search #whatyoudontsee on Twitter still. Here are just a few of the contributions:

@BaggycatPhoto #WhatYouDontSee crying because you’re isolated but not having the strength to go out and socialise

@okcom_puter #WhatYouDontSee is the days and weeks of being too depressed to move or shower or eat or function on the most basic level.

@RefuseToSinkDJ #WhatYouDontSee is the guilt when I talk about my issues because I don’t want to burden people but I am needy and need constant reassurance.

@nickle_press #WhatYouDontSee is the strength it takes just to keep existing when your head is telling you your not worth it and your going to fail again

@SaltashPCSO #WhatYouDontSee The heart dropping moment you hear “it’ll pass, you’ll get over it” when all you want to hear is “I’m here it’s ok”

@gailssss #WhatYouDontSee you’re always exhausted. Even if you’ve slept 17 hours. It’s a certain kind of tiredness; a kind that sleeping cannot fix.

@Julia_SCI #WhatYouDontSee the shame that comes with having depression and anxiety. It feels almost too cliche. (I was scared to tweet this)

@mskels8 #WhatYouDontSee is the way it consumes your life, your every breath. And how the stigma surrounding it isolates you entirely. #depression

@kittenwithawhip #WhatYouDontSee is that I’m late to your event/party/dinner because it took everything I had in me to screw up my courage & leave the house.

@nourareads #WhatYouDontSee is how panic attacks aren’t always loud, aren’t verbal. how the terrifying the quiet ones and how crippling they are.

@Errickfoxy #WhatYouDontSee is the self-hatred that builds up from being unable to handle things the world tells you you’re supposed to be able to.

@_KadenMitchell_ When you constantly fear you are a burden and inconvience to everyone around you. Even if they have told you otherwise. #WhatYouDontSee

“Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being.” – Albert Schweitzer

Things that might help

We’ve not really been able to touch on the tip of the iceberg on this page, not really. Depression is a complex illness which can affect different people in different ways. We highly recommend that you pop over to our Understanding Depression resource, and also, that you download our Blurt’s Guide to Supporting Someone Who Has Depression too.

Love and hugs,

The Blurt Team

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