Depression can begin at any age, but it usually begins in youth or young adults. It is much more common in women. Women may also have postpartum depression after giving birth. Some people have a seasonal affective disorder in the winter.
How Does a Person with Depression Feel?
First of all, it is necessary to clarify that, in spite of speaking of depression in general terms, it can occur in different ways and to different degrees depending on the person. However, there are a number of common feelings or thoughts that often prevail in all people affected by depression.
Also, in order to help a depressed person, or at least make things easier for them while they are in recovery, you need to know how they feel and what they think first. Knowing what those feelings and beliefs are that floods the mind of a person with depression will make it easier for family and friends to accompany them.
Some of the thoughts and feelings of a person with depression are as follows:
Self-Devaluation, Hopelessness, and Grief
Depressed mood is characterized by feelings of hopelessness and guilt, feelings that cause great distress in the person experiencing them.
Usually, depressed persons think that there is nothing that can be done to improve or fix their situation, as well as experiencing great disregard or contempt for themselves.
Since the person is perfectly aware of both his or her suffering and the anguish it causes in those around him or her, feelings of guilt for causing suffering in others are also very common.
These entire reflections end up causing in the person a symptomatology of an anxious character that is externalized through palpitations, tremors, a sensation of suffocation and a very disabling general discomfort.
Need for Social Isolation
Because of the above thoughts and beliefs, it is common for people with depression to end up rejecting a large part of their social life and relationships. This need for solitude or isolation can degenerate into almost total isolation and personal abandonment.
At the same time, this isolation aggravates feelings of hopelessness and contempt for what becomes a vicious circle for the person.
The Feeling of Lack of Energy
The lack of strength or energy to perform any type of activity, no matter how simple or elementary it may be, is one of the main symptoms or laments referred to by the person.
Fluctuations and Changes in Symptoms
It is common for people with depression to experience a series of mood swings throughout the day. As well as the intensity of the symptoms it does not have to be stable during the development of the disease.
Most patients report that their symptoms are milder in the afternoon and that their discomfort is almost always accentuated in the morning. These cyclical swings generate great anxiety in the person, who anticipates and tries to predict when he or she will feel bad.
Tips to Help the Person with Depression
Although the above points are only a small part of the wide range of symptoms, feelings, and thoughts that can circulate in the mind of a person with depression, knowing them can be a great help in trying to help and accompanying them during recovery.
It is necessary to point out that this is not a therapy and that for a person with depression to overcome it, psychological intervention by a professional is necessary. Below are a number of suggestions to help anyone suffering from this type of grief.
Suggest the Help of a Professional
As mentioned above, as good as the intentions of anyone seeking to help a depressed person may be, support and unprofessional advice alone cannot cure a person with depression.
The first thing to bear in mind is that depression is an illness that can become very serious, and therefore requires therapeutic intervention at the hands of a professional.
In this case, one thing you can do is persuade the person to seek help or psychological assistance. Even if this task is not going to be easy, it is extremely necessary. Through calm, tactful and subtle conversations, the family should insist on the idea of visiting a professional and, if necessary, offering to accompany them.
Avoiding Life Advice
Although the willingness to help is always positive, suggestions to encourage the person through advice to make them feel better, to reflect on what they have, or through continuous invitations to go out and do activities are absolutely ineffective, even becoming counterproductive and causing more discomfort in the person.
Staying by Their Side
That said, what a person with depression really needs is for people around them to be empathetic, to show their understanding and to be there for them when they need it.
Reinforce Your Strengths
Due to a decrease in self-esteem and undervaluation, the depressed person tends to reject and not admit the advances made during the treatment process. These people tend to highlight their shortcomings or deficiencies and to overlook their potential and successes.
To help you, it is vital that your closest circles are able to emphasize those skills, abilities or successes that the person possesses.
Respect their Silence
There is no point in forcing or forcing a person with depression to talk or convey what he or she feels, or to be sociable since it is not something under his or her control. This type of approach tends to cause more tension and feelings of misunderstanding in the person.
Give Him Hope
Feelings of hopelessness associated with depression lock the person in a tunnel from which they are unable to see their way out. Therefore, it is advisable that the relatives or people around you tell you, through a coherent speech and without being overly optimistic, that even though you are not now able to see it, there is a way out.
You need to be convinced that depression is a treatable and curable illness and that if you follow the guidelines of the intervention you will get better.
Do Not Ask for Explanations
In many cases, and with the intention of trying to understand what is happening to them in order to be able to help, the person is pressured to try to tell what causes this suffering. However, depression is not a single-factor illness, and most of the time not even the person knows what has led to it.
Therefore, asking for rational explanations when the person is not in a rational situation makes no sense, and will only trigger feelings of frustration and irritation.
Taking Care of One’s Emotional Health
Finally, it is necessary that whoever accompanies the depressed person through their recovery is able to avoid the possible psychological effects that this may cause.
Depressive moods can become contagious if the person is not aware of it. Seeing someone you love suffer can trigger a great deal of emotional distress, so you should be protected from this possible risk.