Did you know??
- 5% of the total population in India suffer from depression, as of 2015
- 5% of corporate employees in India suffer from depression
- The government estimates that 1 in 5 people in the country need counseling, either psychological or psychiatric
With such alarming statistics and the rampant rise in depression, there is a good chance that you would know or come across people in your circle suffering from it.
Depression is a silent attacker. And often, unless someone comes to you to discuss how they are feeling, it is not very easy to guess their mental state. Also, when discussing feelings and emotions, often we feel awkward and are unsure if we are saying the right thing or not. There is always a risk and doubt of crossing the boundary between being concerned and getting nosey.
But, we must understand that there really are no wrong things you can say if they come from the heart and with compassion and acceptance. Even if we risk saying the “wrong” thing—it’s always better to say something than to remain silent and say nothing at all. Since with clinical depression, the condition worsens if the person suffering is left lonely and in the worse cases can even lead to suicide.
So, here are a few pointers that will give you a better idea of what might be helpful for your friend, colleague or an acquaintance to hear.
These 2 simple words mean a lot to someone who feels that there is no hope and is drowning in their web of thoughts and feelings. While you don’t have to explicitly use these words, simple actions like holding their hand, a hug or even a gentle touch can convey the message that you care and that your friend is an important part of your life.
I am here for you
Show them that you are available to them whenever they need someone to talk to or when they are feeling lost or hopeless. Be around them and reach out even if they seem to try pushing you away. Often people suffering from depression are afraid of becoming a burden to their loved ones and thus push them away with their actions or words.
Spend time with them on holidays, plan chores like grocery shopping, getting your vehicles serviced or any other common activities together. Also, plan fun activities together like visiting the salon or going out to watch a movie. These actions make them feel loved and they know they can depend on you and talk to you whenever they need to.
I am here if you need to talk, I understand
Talk to them about your experiences if you have faced and fought clinical depression or you know of someone close to you who you have seen fight it. Talk to them about situations when you felt helpless or felt too much pressure. You, talking about your experiences will help them open up to you as well.
It is ok to feel this way
Often, while talking to someone who is depressed, we get the urge to present them with solutions to the problems they are facing. Especially if we have not faced depression ourselves. So, it is very important to resist this problem-solving urge. We must understand that the biochemical imbalances associated with depression is what is making him feel helpless and not the actual situations. During this time what he needs the most is to know that you are there for him and not quick fixes. So, assure him that it is ok to feel this way, and direct them towards getting professional help.
There is hope
Those who are depressed often feel weak and like there is nothing that can be done. You need to explain to them that this is very much treatable. If you have gone through it or know of someone then talk to them about it. Urge them to visit a professional for counseling, If need be accompany them too since talking this first step towards treatments is something that many people suffering from depression find very difficult
Your life makes a difference to me
A common feeling among those who are depressed is that their lives don’t matter and that no one would even care if they were gone. So, show him how he matters to you and to others around him. This can help him realize his value and worth as a person. Since realizing this is what is going to prevent him from drastic steps like suicide.
You must understand and accept that it is possible that you can say all the “right” things and your friend will still get upset with you, won’t listen to your advice and even push you away. Sometimes people lash out at those trying to help them because they are hurting, and they just don’t know where to direct those bad feelings and whoever is nearby becomes a convenient target. If this happens with your friend, don’t take it personally. Stay calm and continue to do what you can to love and support him in whatever way he will allow.
Source: http://yourdost.com/blog/2017/03/depression-statistics-in-india.html?q=/blog/2017/03/depression-statistics-in-india.html&, https://www.verywellmind.com/