There are many symptoms of depression, including loss of energy, loss of appetite, negative thoughts of death or self-harm, lack of motivation in school and at work, weight loss or gain, difficulty sleeping, feelings of worthlessness, negative mood, irrational thoughts, and even physical illness (ranging from aches and pains to even more severe sicknesses that can leave them bedridden). Depression is a serious condition and effects not only the one struggling, yet their loved ones as well.

Depression effects people from all walks of life – young, old, male, female, gay, straight, etc. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, 300 million people around the world have depression. 16.2 million, which is 6.7 percent of adults in the United States have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. We must remember that these feelings are actually very common and that many people struggle to come out of it.

What can you say to someone struggling with depression? Without victimizing them, you can remind them that they are not alone and that you are there for support. Simple sayings like “You are not alone”, “I am here for you”, “I might not be feeling how you feel but I want to understand”, “You mean so much to me”, “Your life is important to me”, “I am grateful for you in my life”, and “How can I help?”.

Helpguide.org recommends some great ways to start a conversation with your loved one:

Start the conversation:

“I have been feeling concerned about you lately.”

“Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.”

“I wanted to check in with you because you have seemed pretty down lately.”

Questions you can ask:

“When did you begin feeling like this?”

“Did something happen that made you start feeling this way?”

“How can I best support you right now?”

“Have you thought about getting help?”

It is important to let them know that you are there to offer encouragement and listen without any judgment.

Sometimes it can be hard to know what to say to a loved one or friend struggling with depression, and that is completely understandable. However, just showing that you care can mean the world to someone.

 

~Bari Friedlander