Dejection, lack of drive and depressed mood are the typical signs of depression. Relatives of sufferers are often overwhelmed with the disease, because dealing with depressed people costs a lot of strength and can cloud one’s own zest for life. Read here what you can do as a relative to help yourself and the person concerned.
Depression: Relatives also suffer
You will most likely notice major changes in a person suffering from depression. So, your once active and joyful partner suddenly complains a lot, feels guilty and has no hope anymore.
Dealing with depression is a major challenge for all concerned. Do not be confused. It is important that you deal with the disease. The better you know, the greater your understanding of the person concerned and your hope that the situation will improve again.
If the partnership suffers
Depression and partnership can often only be combined with great effort. A partnership lives from mutual give and take. Although people in a depressive phase are heavily dependent on support, they are hardly able to give anything back.
Sexuality also suffers. Depressed people often lose interest in sex and reject the sexual needs of their partner. This does not mean that your depressive partner refuses you, but is a sign of depression. Partnership and affection are put to the test in difficult depressive phases. It is not uncommon for relationships to end in depression because of depression.
You may feel guilty or annoyed about your depressed loved ones because they feel helpless. If the depression lasts longer, there is often a feeling of overloading, overworking and fatigue, because you are emotionally burdened and have to relieve the patient of many tasks.
Accept the disease
Depression is a serious illness that affects, among other things, drive, mood, sleep, and the ability to experience pleasure. For the relatives this knowledge is just as crucial as for the person concerned. A depression is not a mood or evil intention and by no means a sign of a character weakness. Everybody can get a depression.
Support the doctor visit
If someone is depressed for a long time, joyless and impotent, it is important to seek professional help. In this first step, many sufferers depend on the support of their relatives. Depressed people often lack the drive to agree on a doctor’s appointment, or they do not believe they can be helped.
In addition, the diagnosis of depression is threatening – many people are afraid of it. However, it may also be a relief to know that the lack of zest for life is the result of a condition that can be treated well. In addition, the diagnosis relieves the patients, because it is clear that it is not their fault, when they can not bring themselves to anything and feel constantly depressed.
People with depression withdraw and are often hostile to their environment. However, social withdrawal and the neglect of professional and everyday duties are typical effects of severe depression. Relatives can support the patient through patience and understanding. Be aware that his behavior is not directed against you, but is part of a depressive phase and passes through treatment. Do not turn away even if your depressed relative appears to reject you.
Depression: Hope instead of pressure
Do not put pressure on a depressed person with remarks such as “Now pull yourself together a bit” – because he can not. Accusations are also inappropriate and only aggravate the situation. The patients themselves are blaming themselves and suffer from feelings of guilt about their depression. Maintaining a relationship and not giving it away helps the disease to cope. Explain to your relative that depression is a condition that can be treated well.
Do not argue with your depressed relative as to whether his negative view of the situation is “objectively justified” or not. Even that has no chance of success. Do not value the intensively experienced physical maladies of the depressive and his fears of a physical illness as exaggerated or “only psychologically conditioned”. For depressive people do not exaggerate their experience.
Avoid well-intentioned advice
Be careful with well-intentioned advice: For example, do not recommend a depressive person to switch off properly and travel for a few days. Especially people with severe depression experience their joylessness in an unfamiliar environment sometimes even more painful.
When a person withdraws completely from the outside world, it makes sense to encourage or motivate him. Good advice that might help healthy people with problems does not help with depression. They only put the patient under pressure. Not giving advice is a difficult task for relatives. But depression is not to be healed through activities and beautiful experiences. Depressed people are trapped in their negative thoughts and feelings and therefore need a good drug or psychotherapeutic treatment.
First take suicidal thoughts
In severe depression, sufferers may lose the desire to live. Suicidal thoughts are part of the depressive disorder and are strengthened by hopelessness and strong self-doubt. When people with depression talk about killing themselves, you should always take it seriously. 15 percent of depressed people commit suicide. Inform a doctor or psychotherapist about the situation. If a patient expresses his desire to commit suicide, he may be admitted to a clinic against his will.
Depression: Relatives need to take care of themselves
If the depression persists for months with a family member or friend, it is probably very stressful for you. Observe your own limits of resilience and do not lose sight of your interests completely. The negative mood of the depressives also clouds the mood of their loved ones. Therefore, it is important to have other positive experiences. Maintain your friendships and acquaintances and treat yourself more often.
Build a network that supports and helps you. Contact the responsible doctor or therapist. There you will find more information on how to deal with depression. Help for relatives also provide appropriate support groups.
Do not make hasty decisions
Note that depressed people see many things as distorted and some decisions would certainly be different when the depression subsided. Take this into account in all matters that are important for your private or professional future.
Looking for support
The constant confrontation with a depressed person can trigger a variety of negative emotions in you as a relative. You may feel powerless, impatient, angry and at the same time guilty about your feelings. Such feelings are perfectly normal. Therefore try to take good care of yourself and do not plague yourself with unfounded guilt. Not only the sick, you also suffer from the effects of Depression. member are only human.