Having a loved one who suffers from depression is not easy to manage. Sometimes we think we are doing well, but we can unwittingly make the situation worse. On World Mental Health Awareness Day, you are told what is best not to say or do in this situation.
Your friend, husband or sister is depressed. He or she no longer gets up, no longer wants anything, no longer manages to project himself … In these situations, despite a strong feeling of helplessness, you want to come to the aid of this person who is you. Dear. So you multiply your attempts to help him get better. Problem: Although starting with a good feeling, they can sometimes be awkward. Your kindness can sometimes be badly received and bog down the depressed loved one in their discomfort. However, it is quite possible to avoid getting there and to accompany him as best as possible on the road to recovery.
Distinguish between blues and depression
“I am depressed)“. This sentence, which is sometimes pronounced to designate a slack without weighing the meaning, trivialized the depression. Viviane Kovess-Masféty, psychiatrist and epidemiologist warns on the importance of making the distinction between the two.”We must realize thatwe should not put all depressions in the same basket. There is a difference between the person who is in low spirits and someone who is depressed“in the clinical sense of the term.”Someone who is low on morale and manages to smile when surrounded and someone who remains prostrate and does not leave his bed “, it is not the same degree of gravity. The first needs emotional support from those around him. The second needs appropriate care.
Avoid boat phrases
“It will be fine“, “It’s in your head“, “Move“, “Dress yourself“, “You will see life is beautiful“. All those boat phrases that we tend to repeat to loved ones in depression can do more harm than good. Noémi Schwab, Clinical psychologist in Paris, it is important to understand that the depressed person is going through a whole different reality. “Someone can have a beautiful house, beautiful children, a good husband, but what matters is psychic reality.“. The one who is inside and who can see a childhood trauma that had lurked back at any time. As the depressive state overwhelms its host unconsciously, it is preferable to ‘avoid that kind of phrase. Even if it comes from a good intention, “the person will feel even worseThere is a risk of getting her bogged down in a sense of guilt because she, as much as you, does not immediately understand what is happening to her.
Don’t trivialize the situation
“Whether it is your close or personal entourage, it is important not to tell him “you have everything to be happy”, because depression is linked – among other things – to a feeling of guilt. If you tell a person that they have no reason to be depressed, they feel even more worthless and devalue themselves more“. The psychologist Marie-Estelle Dupont recommends that relatives take the full measure of the seriousness of the situation. “Depression should never be taken lightly“, the consequences of these can turn out to be dramatic and fatal. It is essential that the person feels surrounded and understood. Continue to encourage him and especially tell him that you have confidence in him, without exercising pressure.
Don’t leave him alone
One of the most important and meaningful things you can do when a loved one is depressed is it’s just being there. Listen to him, spend time in his company, surround him without being intrusive. Marie-Estelle Dupont advises to continue offering her activities without being under duress. “And if he says no, you propose again and you never tire of proposing even if he still says no. It is important that he knows that we are interested in him and that we include him in things. A depressed person rejects himself and therefore easily feels rejected by others“If we keep telling people in solitude that they are not alone, we must also show them.
Accept that you can’t help it
It is often very difficult to get used to the idea that we are powerless in the face of the discomfort of someone who is dear to us. It is, however, a reality. You can give her a lot of love, but not care. Someone who is in depression needs professional support to cope. With an analogy, Marie-Estelle Dupont puts the visible ailments and those that cannot be seen at the same level: “If you had your back stuck you would go to the osteopath“. She encourages relatives to encourage the person to go see a shrink. The importance of a professional approach in the context of depression lies in the fact that a loved one cannot understand the full density of a problem. psychic. He can quickly feel helpless in the face of the magnitude of these emotions which overwhelm the person in depression. “The person must be able to put their discomfort into words. You have to make her understand that you are not necessarily well placed or well equipped to help her, and therefore encourage her to have a space of her own with someone whose job it is.“The neutrality found in a psychologist or psychiatrist’s office can be a safe space for talking in which he or she does not need to censor himself.
Don’t get overwhelmed by his depression
When someone with whom you are closely related fights their demons, you can very quickly become an emotional sponge. This can be problematic as a depressed person needs a sufficiently stable pillar to lean on. Marie-Estelle Dupont advises relatives to protect and preserve themselves absolutely. “Depression at some level becomes pervasive and contaminating and can make the relationship toxic. You must not put yourself in the position of the nurse. You are not a shrink, you are not a doctor, you are not going to help the person who is depressed by sinking with them“The responsibility of being close to someone who is depressed can quickly become overwhelming. Don’t feel like you have to be there all the time, even if it’s difficult.”Don’t stop living. Don’t make someone else’s depression the center of your life“. The psychologist advises against putting you in a situation of dependence. Keep your role as a loved one and do not feel guilty.”If you mistake yourself for Atlas, the god who carries the world, you will end up doing bad too. Your responsibility towards a depressed loved one is not to expose yourself to the point of falling ill yourself.“.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t just happen to others
For Marie-Estelle Dupont, “depressive periods punctuate the psychic life of every normal human being“. It is estimated that nearly 1 in 5 French people have experienced or will experience a depressive episode in their lifetime.”It is not the one who seems to be doing the worst who is the most fragile. Being able to depress, say I can’t take it anymore, I’m at the end of the line, is a strength. The one who grits his teeth and never gets depressed is probably the most in danger because he does not allow himself to go bad“Despite the widely held idea that only the most” febrile “can be plagued by depressive periods, this state can affect everyone. The psychologist even considers that it is an important step to reset the counters to zero and to regenerate. “Being depressed is not the end of the world. It might be the end of a world, but it can be a new beginning. Sometimes you have to tell yourself that you hate your life, that you hate your job to change things“.
Thanks to Doctor Viviane Kovess-Masféty, Noémi Schwab and Marie-Estelle Dupont, (author of the book Free yourself from your toxic self) for their expertise on the subject.
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