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Understanding People with Depression

Photo by Adrian Swancar

Although it is a commonly discussed subject in this age, there is still an apparent stigma surrounding mental illness. With this subject, we often hear the word 'depression' thrown into the mix, but what is it? Do we truly know and understand it? Or do we understand the people who suffer from depression? There is an informative TED-ed video to help us better understand the symptoms, treatments of depression and how to help a friend who deals with it. In this article, we're focusing more on how we can better understand and help a loved one who is facing depression.

Depression is often misunderstood. It affects the daily lives of people, and it can be hard for them to function while they struggle with their pain. And, it tends to differ from person to person. Many youths have friends who suffer from depression. But, some of them may not truly understand what their friends go through. Because, at times, people with depression tend to isolate themselves, which can lead to misunderstandings, be it in friendships or relationships. Mental illness is invisible, and we cannot see the pain of others. An insightful video by Psych2Go gives us the rundown on the things that people with depression would like to share with others to understand. As mentioned before, the effects of depression are not clear-cut, what may work for some might not work for others. Hence, the video aims to help us better understand how to see from their standpoint.

Reassurance is vital because our friends or family who are affected by it, need to know that they are validated and loved. People with depression often feel alone and insignificant, they can also feel like they're not needed. The main key to understanding them is by listening to them. According to a mental health expert who requested to be anonymous at The Depression Chronicles, we must practice empathy because it is a huge part of showing support and acceptance to those with depression. You don't necessarily need to respond or give them advice. Just lending an ear can make them feel better. It's also important to not take things personally when they cancel plans or don't reply immediately. We should provide them with enough space because they're going through a hard time, so be kind and understanding.

"When people understand what depression is and why it hurts people, the feeling of burden can change into a feeling of a mission and service to support," said Vinod Nurlhaq Nair, Social Advocate at Unboxing Depression. According to Healthline, doing research at the desired pace or even reading about depression can help us better understand what works or doesn't work for people. Some people may need more alone time while others may need more company. So, we should keep these approaches in mind and avoid being judgemental towards them.

The tone you use when communicating is essential, and this applies to everyone. When texting someone, it can be challenging to understand how one processes the style of a message. So try using words that don't come off as cold. Another option would be to try calling them, in which you can 100% hear the tone. Even so, you should still choose your words wisely. Otherwise, misunderstandings may arise and result in a silent killer for both parties.

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge

People who suffer from depression should also note that their illness shouldn't be an excuse to justify their behaviour towards others. Here is where the line can be drawn, communication is absolutely crucial. Say, you were hurt by someone's words, talk to them, tell them what went wrong and how you felt. Sometimes people don't mean what they say, but if the damage is done, it's only human for us to react a certain way. In the end, kindness is fundamental, you might not know what one is going through behind closed doors.

By Nur Edleena Sephia


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