Encouraging Your Loved One to Seek Treatment
Depression isn’t something that goes away overnight or over a week’s time or even over a month. Depression takes months and even years to recover from.
No one beats depression out of pure or extraordinary willpower. It takes time, effort and a lot of positive changes every single day to get better.
People who are depressed need support, and you can start by encouraging your loved one to seek out professional help. But getting a depressed person help isn’t going to be an easy task.
Depression takes away motivation, willpower, and energy. Even something as simple as making an appointment with a therapist takes more strength than you can ever imagine.
Depression also makes people feel helpless and hopeless. It also brings about negative feelings, which can result in anger and resentment towards you – the person trying to help.
Getting your loved one to seek out treatment will come with obstacles. And the biggest challenge is getting them to admit they are depressed and they need help.
If your loved one is resistant to getting help, you may want to offer to make an appointment with a therapist and even going with them to their first session.
Supporting Their Treatment
Your loved one will need love and validation while they are in treatment. You will need to be patient and compassionate even when you are dealing with negativity, hostility and a whole range of emotions from your depressed loved one.
If you want your loved one’s treatment experience to be successful, you can help by:
- Providing help. This could mean making and driving them to appointments, researching treatments, and making sure they are taking medications. You can also help with household chores, cooking meals or running errands.
- Setting a good example. If you want your loved one to have a happier and more positive mindset, you must lead by example. Taking care of yourself by eating healthy, being active, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and seeking support are all ways to be a good example.
- Be realistic. Your loved one is not going to get better overnight, and they will struggle along the way. Have patience and don’t get upset with that person when it seems like they aren’t taking treatment seriously.
Take Talks About Suicide and Dying Seriously
This might be hard for you to believe about your loved one, but too many depressed people think about death and suicide.
Depression clouds your judgment and leaves you thinking of no other way out. If your loved one is depressed, suicide is a real concern.
Pay attention to the following warning signs:
- Talking about death, dying, suicide or harming oneself
- Expressing feelings of self-hate and hopelessness
- Acting in dangerous ways
- Getting affairs in order or saying goodbye
If you think your loved one is thinking about suicide, talk to him or her right away. Talking openly about suicide could save someone’s life.
If you still have concerns after talking to your loved one, seek out professional help immediately. You can take that person to the nearest emergency room or call 911 if you think the threat of self-harm is imminent.
You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK, and they will direct you in how to proceed in getting help for your loved one. This hotline offers free assistance and is available 24 hours day, 365 days a year.
Look After Yourself First
When offering to help someone with depression, you have to take care of yourself and your health first; it's important to set boundaries or guidelines for yourself so that you don't become burnt out.
If you're exhausted or feel like you're wearing thin, you won't be much support for your loved one, so make sure that you are sticking to your routine. It's great that you're willing to help them, but it's important to remember that you're not their therapist, so you don't have to take on all the responsibility.
If you feel that this person needs more support than you can give, encourage them to seek outside therapy. This may help them to regain some independence and find ways of coping on their own.
Having aid and support of loved ones can be of great benefit when helping someone with depression. It's great that you are willing to help, but it's important to look after yourself first. Encourage them to seek the treatment they need if they haven't already.
Other ways to help or show your support is to initiate conversations and get involved in activities with them. It can be hard to see someone you love going through a battle with mental illness so be patient and do what you can.
They may not always express it, but I'm sure they greatly appreciate your love and continued support.