Meaningful friendships can magnify the joyous times in our lives as well as give us that helping hand to work through the more turbulent times. We rely a lot on our friends, whether that is a pal to do a school run at the last minute, borrowing a pint of milk from the next door neighbour or just unloading our frustrations onto a mate who’s popped around for coffee. Friendship is a two-way thing; you expect honesty, trust, and help from your pals and they, quite rightly, expect the same values in return. So what happens when a friend is in need? You’ve spotted the signs – they are becoming withdrawn, taking less care over their appearance and seem tired much of the time. You have an inkling that they may be depressed. What is the best course of action for you to take?
If you make contact with your friend, ask them how they are getting on and take an interest in their well being. They may not be interested in talking so don’t push it if this is the case. Eventually, they may want to off load some of the negative thoughts clogging up their headspace. Listen in the first instance and never judge. Reassure them that you will be there for them and that with the right help, things will get better.
Encourage Them To Seek Help
Your close friend may need a gentle prod in the right direction to seek help. When depression hits, it is common to lose all sense of motivation and lack any form of self-esteem. By showing your friend that you care and that you’re willing to go with them when they see a doctor, you are reinforcing the fact that they are valued.
As treatment options are laid out to them, they may become overwhelmed and retreat again. Ensure this doesn’t happen by reiterating the need for help and that you will not leave them to face their depression alone.
They may also have other worries such as being off work for a long time. If this is the case, direct them towards a professional like David Chermol who can advise them of the legal benefits they can seek to ease any financial worries that may also be encroaching on their state of mind.
Take Care Of Yourself
Supporting a friend with depression can take its toll on your own mental health. It’s vital that you have time for yourself, go out with friends, enjoy your social circle and laugh and joke to lift your mood. You may feel guilty doing this. Don’t. You need to maintain your own well being when helping somebody else going through a depressive episode. If you enjoy a hobby such as walking, painting or playing a team sport, don’t give this up. Remember to utilise more of your network to talk things through. They may have advice and be able to help you provide even greater care for your pal.
Depression and any sort of mental health problem can be as debilitating as any physical ailment. However, there is support out there and you can help your friend get the most appropriate treatment possible that will see them living life to the full once again.