reply to post by notsosweet
I've spent quite a bit of time trying to think of a way to answer your question.
The unconditional love and support you mention is probably about the best thing you can provide.
A couple of dont's: Never tell someone to 'pull themselves together' or say something like 'I don't know what your problem is'. (I'm not
suggesting that you actually would).
Being available to listen when they finally want to talk is a good thing. As is leaving them alone when they want some time to themselves.
Try and remember that they are fighting a barrage of negativity just to function. I describe it as trying to swim through treacle. Everything you try
to do just seems so much more difficult than it should be.
Another thing, as well as being depressed a person may have some character flaws that under normal circumstances they can overcome. When they're
depressed they may not have the ability to fight off things such as laziness, a general inability to motivate themselves, a tendency to boredom,
slight agoraphobia or a reluctance to deal with other people. (I cite these as examples because they are the sort of problems I have).
If someone talks about killing themselves don't try to stop them - talking that is
. Give them them a way to let those feelings out. Talk about it
with them, discuss it as you would any other subject. Some people may disagree with me on this but I can only tell you that in my case, if I was
prepared to talk about it I was less likely to do it.
You might recognise the signs when a loved one is depressed, but don't assume that they know it themselves. A person can be depressed for a long time
before the realisation dawns on them. That's just because it can be such a natural way of life.
I mean, if something happens to make you miserable you experience the event and then you cry about it. You know what's happened.
Depression has very deep roots and can creep up and the sufferer may not know if anything in particular triggered it or if it just 'caught up with
I think the more you talk the more you can picture the other person's mental landscape. If you can put yourself into that landscape you will be able
to understand them better. See if you can get them to describe it for you, it may help them. If they say they are in a black hole, see if you can
throw in a lifeline. Ask them to see a golden thread and hold on while you pull. Be their beacon, something they can see and work towards. If they
say they are in a desolate landscape, sit with them and offer a shoulder to cry on, maybe show them a doorway back to the real world. This may not
seem like a good idea to everyone - only do it if you feel comfortable with it.
I hope this helps. I know it can be frustrating not being able to help someone when they really need it. Especially when they thwart all your efforts.
I've been in despair myself trying to help people who just 'bat' away all my sensible suggestions or clever ideas.
I think, really, that people will be helped when they want to be helped. You just have to be patient and wait for the right time.