When it comes to depression, there is no easy way to discuss it, not even with the closest person to you. For the person experiencing depression, having a conversation takes courage and strength. Depression is a serious illness especially if it is recurring.
Because I suffer from depression ever since I was a teen I can share some insider steps on how to share with your family and friends if you are experiencing depression and how to create your support group.
Here are some not so simple yet realistic tips.
- Wait until you are feeling better, if possible. You will be less emotional and more likely to share important details which you may otherwise leave out if you are in a depressed state of mind. When you are down, you may be unable to concentrate and relay information clearly.
- Make sure your environment has no unnecessary distractions. Keep the TV off and the room quiet. It is best to have this conversation at home or in a place where you are most comfortable. DO NOT have this conversation anywhere in public or surrounded by noise and lots of people. The goal is to avoid distractions.
- Talk to one person at a time. If there is more than one person that needs to learn about your illness, schedule to speak to them individually. Everyone has a different personality and may react to matters differently. You want to be able to read their response accurately. They may also have tons of questions. It is best for you to avoid being bombarded all at once.
- Talk to particular people and be careful of whom you choose. Only share personal details with people you know that will be supportive and be able to help you during your down time. There are times we may think certain people will be there and they end up disappointing you. Try and keep your support group to a maximum of 5.
- Assign a task. At the same time that you have the conversation with the people you choose for support, make sure to delegate a task that you know they can handle. For example, one friend/family member may be great at keeping on top of your appearance. That would be the perfect person to get you out of bed and encourage you to get your hair or nails done. Choosing the right task or asking them in what way they feel they can help is the best way to guarantee support when needed.
- Contact your therapist. Once you have spoken with everyone on your support group list, let them know you will provide their name and number to your therapist. Also, provide them with the emergency contact number of your therapist. Make sure you give that list to your therapist as soon as possible.
Sharing such critical and intimate details about your depression with anyone may be difficult but remember it is about you and getting you the help you need when you need.
If you ever feel you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911 immediately. Visit http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ for more information.
Header photo by Aidan Meyer