There are some of us with depression who have experienced trauma during our lives. This trauma may have occurred prior to or after our diagnosis of depression. For those who have been through traumatic experiences, these events can have a profound effect on their depression. Armed with this knowledge, what can those of us with depression -- and those close to people with depression -- do with this information? (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
Ways to Support Someone With Depression
I have a plan to avoid another suicide attempt that came from living with major depression. But it's taken three years since almost losing the war against depression to get it together. I'm so thankful to say that I'm still here and that my suicide attempt failed. That "failure" turned out to be one of my greatest victories. I couldn't see it then, but I certainly see it now. The following thoughts are some reflections on the past three years of my life. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
If you were to ask most people what someone with depression looks like or how someone who has depression might behave, they would likely respond by saying things like, "sad," "crying," "miserable," or "gloomy." While those of us with depression feel these emotions and exhibit these behaviors at times, they certainly don't encompass all that we are. People with depression feel many things over the course of their lives, and it's time to end the stigma and remove the stereotypes associated with depression.
Why do we need to help loved ones with depression during the holidays? While the holiday season takes a toll on everyone to varying degrees, it can be an especially tough time for those of us struggling with depression and other mental health issues. If you have a friend or relative who's struggling, there are a lot of ways — both big and small — to provide just a bit of extra support to help get them through the season.
Discussing our depression can be beneficial; however, we should use discretion when deciding with whom we choose to discuss our depression. We also need to be mindful of how much detail we go into with people. Not everyone can be trusted with the most painful details of the lowest points of our depression.
Having healthy coping skills and knowing how to practice them can play a major role in suicide prevention. When someone is struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, the pain and confusion he/she feels is often compounded by misinformation, incorrect beliefs, and unhealthy coping skills. Yet, these are often the only things a person suffering from a mental health crisis has at his/her disposal. It's time to change this now by having educational conversations about mental health, suicide, and healthy coping skills. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
Many people may not realize that depression has physical symptoms. When extra stress is added to our lives, we may be more likely to see manifestations of the physical symptoms of our depression. What are some of the physical symptoms we may experience due to depression? What, if anything, can we do about stress and its effect on the physical symptoms of depression?
Volunteering helps depression, even though that may seem counterintuitive at first. You may feel overwhelmed at the thought of helping others when you can barely help yourself. However, volunteering can be a good and helpful way to cope with your own depression. Turning your focus outward brings a new perspective into your life, and this perspective of volunteering can help your depression.
Your child has been diagnosed with depression. Now what? You're overwhelmed. You already have a depression diagnosis yourself. How can you cope with both your depression and that of your child's? Take a breath. Relax. Let's walk through this together.
Finding gifts for depressed people can be confusing, but with the holiday season in full swing, some of you may be looking for thoughtful ideas for presents to give to someone who has been diagnosed with depression. Perhaps you yourself have depression and are trying to figure out what types of gifts you'd like to receive this year. I decided it might be helpful for me to share some of my favorite present ideas with you so you can give gifts to depressed people that make a difference to them.