Fotorech; Pixabay

We can often feel the struggle when a family member or good friend is suffering with mental health diseases like Major Depressive Disorder (Depression). Disorders that relate to mental health, can still be difficult to understand even in these modern times.

While there is more education out there than ever before, it still can seem hard to comprehend, especially when it usually isn’t physical in nature. Mental health does affect people in physical ways, but not necessarily in traditional senses.

We don’t have to sit back and feel helpless if we are in a scenario like this. We can support our loved ones, and provide a safe haven for people suffering from depression.

Many years ago, my mental health had been deteriorating over a long period of time. It was a different time then these days today. I remember being the only one who really knew what was going on with me. The idea, or the thought of anyone knowing, was extremely difficult to imagine.

It didn’t matter who the person might be. The thought of my mental issues getting into the hands of others, was frightening.Myriams-Fotos; Pixabay

It was a dark, lonely secret, and that’s the way I liked it. It was the shame I carried along with that which made seeking help seem like the most impossible task. My conditions lingered. It then grew and it all created very isolated times of sadness and self loathing.

When I look at all the ways that we can support our loved ones today, I see so many tools, and healthy routes for helping a person, or at least being there for them.

Most of us are not Psychiatrists, and that’s okay. It doesn’t take away any of the value, that we can be able to offer someone who is depressed, alone, and thinking as if the world and future is hopeless. Feeling total shame because they suffer from depression.

I myself spent way over a decade believing that lie of hopelessness, and all that it did was feed my pain, and strengthen my fear about confiding in someone.

First part of gaining an understanding of what a depressed loved one needs from us, should take us to a place of knowledge, and knowing just what is being dealt with. Understanding that this is a medical condition, and disease can help get our head into the right place when it comes to support. We have to realize that this is not about just having a sad day, or having a rough life.Layers; Pixabay

People with good lives can still end up suffering from Clinical Depression. Because, the disease aspect of it knows no boundaries. It is a very non discriminatory, and its presence is not for us to judge, but it is to be taken very seriously.

The type of person who may have a mental health disease can cover every end, and every corner of the spectrum. We can’t look at a person sad, or happy and decide that they either have depression or don’t based on those two things.

We can’t determine a person’s mental health state simply by looking at them. We can’t look at a friend who might be a millionaire, and say to ourselves “they’re so rich, how could they be so depressed?” Depression still strikes and can have the ability to overtake any good fortune, or good luck that we may have in other avenues in our lives.

Try to stay connected with friends and family members that may be suffering from these type of illnesses. It can be difficult to find that fine line between staying in touch with these loved ones who need help, and us falling into the trap of doing more work for the person, than the person’s doing for themselves.Skitterphoto; Pixabay

Don’t abandon. Offer company, help with seeking avenues for treatment, and be there to listen if they want to talk. Professional help is out there, and abundant, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s very easy to go out and find. Actually, going out to find it can seem extremely difficult for a person who’s mentally ill.

These are just the basics, of what often is a really detailed journey on the road for getting well. Not only for the sick person, but for the people surrounding that sick person too.

When working hard to be there for a loved one, keep in mind that we still must remain vigilant of our own well being. Remember to not neglect oneself, when on a mission to help others.

Michael Patanella

is a Trenton, New Jersey Author, Publisher, Columnist, Editor, Advocate, and recovering addict, covering topics of mental health, addiction, sobriety, mindfulness, self-help, faith, spirituality, Smart Recovery, social advocacy, and countless other nonfiction topics. His articles, publications, memoirs, and stories are geared towards being a voice for the voiceless. Hoping to reach others out there still struggling.

When Loved Ones Are Depressed was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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