Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Ways You Can Help A Depressed Friend

A couple weeks ago I shared a post about ten things NOT to say to a depressed friend. This is a part two to that post. Please remember, I'm not a professional of any sorts- just a girl who has been there and this is only my opinion.

  1. Casually invite them (no pressure) to do low-key activities with you. Make sure you let them know you understand if they aren't up to it but that you would enjoy their company and want them to come along.
  2. Be positive around them but not obnoxious. Keep your disposition sunny, not fake. Share good things happening around you both. Point out gently good things that are going on in both of your lives.
  3. Create a crafty gift for them. Pick up a paintbrush or a pen and put your heart into a gift for them. This could have a two-fold effect. In crafting a gift for them you are letting them know how special they are to you and also possibly inspiring your friend to try to create something as well!
  4. Make sure they are taking care of their health. Be interested in what they are doing for themselves. Don't "mother-smother" your friend but you can offer a healthy meal or watch for signs of unhealthy habits forming.
  5. Offer your arms. Hugs are powerful, 'nuff said.
  6. Educate yourself! If you've never experienced severe depression, anxiety or other crippling emotional/mental distress- do your research. Read other's accounts of how they felt, ask questions and just generally try to get an understanding.
  7. Take care of yourself. Do not let your own health become endangered for worrying about or taking care of your loved one. If you get yourself down into the same place, you will no longer be able to be a support for them. Be supportive, be present, be prayerful- but also be mindful of your own needs.
  8. Encouraging words not condescending words. "You are not alone. I'm here for you. Can I pray with you? We will get through this minute by minute, day by day, together. You are important to me. Your life is important."
  9. Suggest a check-up with their regular doctor if they haven't yet. Sometimes it can be scary to people to admit they need help and seek a mental health professional. If they have a good relationship with their general practice doctor, they may feel more comfortable starting there. Offer to go to appointments with them if you can.
  10. Be patient. Do not give up!

Keep in mind the signs that things have gotten to a more desperate point and watch for suicidal warning signs. Make sure you report these to a professional or to authorities if you feel the threat is there.

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