Is Your Loved One Depressed?

Dr. Sharmeen Shroff

Dr. Sharmeen Shroff

Dr Shroff has worked in the field of psychology for over 12 years in school settings, community mental health centers, medical clinics and hospitals (inpatient and outpatient units). She is one of the few clinical psychologists in Hong Kong that have been intensively trained to practice psychotherapy from a psychodynamic depth perspective.
Dr. Sharmeen Shroff

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If your family or loved one is depressed you might feel helpless and not know what to do.

 

Depression can cause tremendous pain, not only to the person who is suffering from it, but also every one around them. If you are taking care of a depressed individual, it is essential to take care of yourself before it becomes too overwhelming.

The first step is to familiarize yourself with what depression is. It is not a sign of weakness or a lack of discipline. It is also not just a mood that someone can snap out of. It is a serious but treatable disorder that affects millions of people all around the world.

A key thing to remember is that depression is not personal. A depressed individual may find it difficult to connect to loved ones and often lash out and say hurtful things in anger. Remember, this is the depression talking and often does not mirror the individual’s true feelings.

Never dismiss your loved ones feelings. Instead try and offer hope. There is no point telling a depressed individual that they shouldn’t feel guilty – they will feel it nevertheless and instead choose not to speak to you about their feelings in the future. Instead use understanding and supportive statements such as, “I’m sure what you are feeling is terrible, I want to try and understand and help you as best I can. Can you tell me what I can do right now to help you?”

A depressed person can often be difficult to help, so family members must remember to be patient and persistent in their willingness to help. Encourage your loved one to seek professional help. Try booking the initial appointment for them, and go with them to see a trained professional. The most important thing you can do is to assist them to reach out to a professional.

Often times family members and loved ones of a depressed individual feel as if they are betraying them by reaching out for support. It is just as important for you to get help than it is for your loved one. Thinking about your own needs is not an act of selfishness, it is a necessity.

By getting the support that you need from a trained professional or a trusted friend you will be better able to provide ongoing support to your loved one.