How To Support Your Family Member/Friend/Partner With Depression – W.B

How to support your family member/friend/partner with depression:

  1. Don’t ask them why they are depressed.
  2. Do not say “if you change your mindset …”
  3. Do not give advice. I promise, even if it comes from a good place, it will hurt them.
  4. Do not say they must ‘snap out of it’.
  5. Do not use religion to shame them.
  6. Just listen and don’t prescribe.
  7. Offer to do laundry, house chores or make them a meal (but do not force it). Most depressed people are not lazy, they are depressed.
  8. Read up on multiple sources of mental illness (but do not at like you understand).
  9. Keep checcking up on them even if they don’t reply back.
  10. Do not make them feel shit about cancelling plans at the last minute because they are not well.
  11. NB!!! If you also have a mental illness, do not use that to shame them or silence them or dictate how they should feel “because you also know how it feels”.
  12. Set boundaries. You do not have to put with any kind of abuse.
  13. You DO NOT understand what they are going through.
  14. They propably have been shamed a million times for “being weak” or “lazy” or “full of excuses” or “having white people’s problems”. Be careful how you respond to them when they talk about their depression.
  15. (I swear to God this is not funny). Do not call their medication “happy pills”. This is insensitive and hurtful.

(Obviously, this is not cast in stone. different people require different support structures).

This post was written by the courageous and unbelievably strong, Wanelisa Xaba.

6 responses to “How To Support Your Family Member/Friend/Partner With Depression – W.B

  1. I try and I try to explain these things to my Dad and my Twin sister. They say or do them anyway. I am diagnosed as Bipolar with Conversion Disorder and Social Phobia. Every door that slams, I jump. If my Dad walks in to a room and says my name in his deep angry voice, I jump like someone yelled “BOO!”. I have so many triggers. I’m also having extreme difficulty with medication. I went into Kidney Failure almost 2 years ago which left me with 1 kidney working at 70%. Since then I started to feel a change. I didn’t think my medication was working the way it used to. I asked my “Team” of doctors and none of them could tell me if it was. I became more frustrated, depressed, isolated, and obsessed with finding an answer. It was bad enough having Celiac Disease, knowing too many Generic Medications use Gluten as binder and having to suffer, now I knew some of my Meds were never reaching my brain. I couldn’t tell my Doctors “I need you to read this article I found from a Pharmacologist doing research in Australia”. Whenever I have tried to bring up a new treatment my Psychiatrist nods his head and says “I see”. Yesterday my Dad threatened to call 911 and have me committed. When my Conversion Disorder is at it’s worse I stutter to the point it’s gibberish. I rock back and forth repeating words or phrases and crying. It started with hand tremors and has progressed. Sometimes I don’t remember everything while this is going on. I mistakenly called my twin for support, instead she also threatened to have me committed. I was not a danger to myself or anyone else. No one should be threatened with commitment. I’ve been in Hospitals before, they were some of the most horrifying times in my life. Family and friends will never understand that fear of being forced to be in a place you aren’t familiar with, you can’t make your own decisions, and someone else decides your fate, what’s best for you. It’s demeaning, scary, and confusing. In my State I’ve been in 2 when I was younger and 1 for ECT as an Adult. All of them mixed Men and Women together, people who were detoxing were mixed with the mental health patients. There was no structure that made sense. I never had any counseling or testing while in any Psychiatric Hospital. Arts and Crafts? Yup. I’ve also had certain medications withheld from me because one Doctor “against” the use of it. When you have anxiety to the point you dry heave frequently and a Doctor takes Klonopin away from you because he doesn’t agree with using it, IT IS HELL. But it’s my family that hurts me the most. I live with my Dad, he’s 74 and on Dialysis. He wouldn’t really commit me, he’s just sick himself. My sister would. My Dad is worried more about what will happen to me when he is gone. He’s afraid my twin sister and older brother will take the house and leave me with nothing. I’m more worried about being here without him. People have left me feeling hopeless. I never realized how cruel we are to one another until I was diagnosed. People were fine with me being an Alcoholic. They are not fine with me being sober and mentally ill. Sorry for taking up so much space! Feel free to use up space on my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, we are so sorry to hear about your troubles. Isn’t there a support group near you that you can join? Check with your healthcare professionals. Praying for you to get bettter soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The support groups are for ALL people with mental health issues that vary from severe to high functioning. Last one I tried there was a man with a large knife and the police had to come. Unfortunately I was standing next to him and had six officers pointing their guns at both of us. Not their fault, they were not sure what was happening.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing this list. Depression can be incredibly challenging, not only for the person with depression but also family and friends. Keeping an open mind and being a caring support system will help minimize the shame that is also associated with depression.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My personal assistant is Bipolar,.Jeez Louise, it really get difficult at times. This update help me understanding. Luckily for me I just keep my mouth shut whenever her condition escalate through to our office. After ranting and raving due to a personal crisis in working hours I see clearly that she become much calmer inside herself if I don’t give her any advice, and just keep quiet, and then we can focus on work again.

    Liked by 1 person

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