The more you try to fix it, the worse we feel.
When you have loved ones who are feeling depressed, it is a perfectly natural tendency to want to cheer them up. That’s totally understandable. The problem with that is that you can’t just cheer away depression. The more you try and fail, the worse you feel. The worse you feel, the worse your loved ones feel because they can’t give you the one thing you want. They just can’t cheer up, snap out of it, or get happy, and seeing the look of disappointment and defeat on your face every time your efforts fail, only deepens the pain they feel.
Depressed people look just like you and me.
People who live with depression generally still function normally. They have families and jobs, and carry on just like everyone else. They smile, they laugh. You would never know they suffer the way they do. Depression doesn’t have a special look to it. It doesn’t require that a person stay in bed and cry or sleep all day. It doesn’t require that a person be unable to function normally in life. Instead, it wears a mask. It hides behind smiling faces, and successful careers.
Depression isn’t just sadness.
Depression can present as sadness, but it can also present as anxiety, anger, irritability, fatigue, numbness or a host of other things. Many times, these symptoms are present in any number of combinations. It can often be overwhelming to experience so many differing emotions or sensations at once, which leaves the depressed individual feeling restless and unsettled, only exacerbating the irritability. Sometimes, it all becomes too much for a person to handle, and the body’s response is to become somewhat numb to the overwhelming emotions it has been experiencing. This leaves the person feeling very detached and disconnected.
There are different types of depression.
Not all depression is the same. Some depressions are brought on by circumstances – perhaps the dissolution of a relationship, or the loss of a job. Other depressions are more biological in nature, and are the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. Some depressions require medication treatment, others do not. Some depressions are relatively short-lived, lasting a few weeks, or months; whereas, some suffer from depression for years, or even throughout their whole lives. Every person’s walk with depression is unique, and should not be compared with another’s. What is true for one person, may not be true for the next.
People with depression want to get better.
Though it may not seem like it on the outside, we really don’t want to be depressed. We don’t want to feel this way. We don’t want to be tired and blah, or feel sad and cry, or be angry all the time. We want to feel better, we just don’t know how. Sometimes we just don’t have it in us to try any harder. Sometimes we do all the things we are taught to do in therapy, but we just don’t feel better. Be patient with your loved ones, and assume that they are doing the best they can.