Pathological sadness, better known by specialists as depression, affects about 5% -10% of the population, although it is estimated that a much higher percentage of people will go through a state of depression at some stage or multiple stages of their lives. Many experts predict that depression will become a massive epidemic and one of the leading causes of mental disability worldwide. The paradox of the situation is that as more and more people turn to anti-depressants yet more and more people are being diagnosed with depression.
Often the first people to detect depression are not physicians but the people closest to the patient as they are the ones who are directly effected by the patients depressive behavior. Seeing someone you care about going through depression can be very distressing and frustrating. Often before anyone actually realizes that the patient is suffering from depression it is not uncommon for people around the patient to get into regular arguments or quarrels with the patient. This can further aggravate the situation and cause the patient to fall into a deeper state of depression and in extreme causes drive them to suicide.
In most cases people who suffer from depression tend to also have poor lifestyle choices, like bad eating habits or an excessive junk food intake, little or no physical activity, hardly spending time outside or working long hours in high pressure environments. Whilst it is understandable that sometimes these lifestyles choices are unavoidable. The problem comes in when it becomes the norm and is constant. Just like how our bodies need proper fuel and exercise to function properly the exact same thing applies to the brain. We can not expect the brain to work at optimum levels if we are not providing it with proper brain food.
There is substantial evidence to support that in most cases depression can be reversed without harmful anti-depressants and medication. Simple lifestyle changes can make the world of a difference. These would include getting outside more, having a regular exercise routine, a healthy diet combined with natural supplements.
It’s important to identify if someone in your circle is going through depression so that it can then be dealt with accordingly. Here are few things to take into consideration when dealing with someone who is depressed.
1. Try not to trivialize the situation.
We tend to think that when someone is sad or being negative then it’s just a matter of them having the wrong attitude. All that needs to be done is for them to change their attitude and outlook on the situation. This is often the case but sometimes it is not as easy as that. “It is important that the difficulty of overcoming depression is assumed and that depression is not due to the unwillingness of the depressed person, but the depression itself, which, among other things, nullifies the will of the person,” says clinical psychologist Michael A. Rizaldos, trivializing the problem will not help the situation at all.
2. Try to view the situation from their perspective not your own
Step into their shoes and walk with them. It’s easy to give out advice based on our own experiences and insight but what we often fail to realize is that we all have our own very unique set of experiences that has molded is to have a certain belief system. Trying to give a depressed person advice based on your own perspective is not going to be much help. It’s important to try and see things from their point of view, this will give you a deeper understanding of the what they could be going through and would help you give them advice that they could relate too. Another point to remember is that nobody has all the answers, so if you are not sure what advice to give the person then there is nothing wrong with asking them what can you do to help, is there anything specific that they need that you could perhaps help with.
3. Telling a depressed person to “cheer up” is like asking an alcoholic to substitute his beer with a glass of water.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of telling a depressed person to “cheer up” as if that person had not realized that the problem could be fixed so simply. Whilst the intentions are good, the effect is not so good. For someone who is stuck in a negative emotional loop that last thing they probably want to hear is that the solution is a simple “cheer up” In fact, many experts agree that phrases like “be positive”, “Come on, cheer up”, or “I know how you feel”, can cause the patient to go into deeper depression by questioning why is it so easy for other people to simply “cheer up” or why does everyone else make it sound so easy? They start to think that there is something wrong with them.
4 Feeding the negative self talk
A depressed person is already in a very dark place and sometimes they internalize their emotions and don’t talk about it however there are many who speak about their emotions and say negative things often this is to seek validation. It is not good to feed their complaints or encourage negative behavior. Even if you simply just listen to what they are saying without responding, that’s better than validating or encouraging them
5. Don’t discard the effects of humor
Whilst we have established that telling a depressed person to “cheer up” is rather pointless. This does not mean we can not help to create an environment that could aid a person to cheer up on their own. Yes, this may not be a long term solution but it can certainly help. One of the best ways to go about cheering someone up without forcing them or telling them to cheer up by watching a few good movies. Feel good movies and comedies and even stand up comedies. Just be sure that you have watched the movie or stand up comedy program before you show it to the person who is depressed. You need to make sure that there is nothing in the movie that could trigger the person to react adversely. An example of this would be, lets say the depressed person had lost a loved one through cancer/ motor accident / drowning or anything of the sort and the movie you are about to show them has a very distinct scene where someone dies through cancer/ motor accident/ drowning or anything similar to how the depressed person’s loved one had died. It would probably be a good idea to skip that movie.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article it, lifestyle changes can make the world of difference. The problem is that when someone is depressed and they lack motivation then it is very difficult to try convince them to go outside or to start eating healthy and to exercise. It might be a good idea to start them off on some natural supplements to help them get into a better mood and then slowly suggest going outside and work your way up to getting them to eat healthy and exercise.