The Christmas season is not always a joyous time for everyone. Here are some suggestions and ideas on how to help a friend or loved one who is feeling depressed during the holidays.
- Be patient. There is no timeline on depression.
- Be sensitive.
- Offer back rubs, tea, or favorite snacks. Small offers of kindness, as well as engaging in activities that are fun or provide a sense of accomplishment, go a long way toward lifting spirits.
- Be a non-judgmental listener.
- Invite her to activities, even if she may sometimes refuse.
- Continue to call and keep in touch; let her know someone cares.
- Encourage her to see a doctor or therapist if things get really bad.
- If she threatens suicide, take her to a hospital immediately.
- Tell her to snap out of it. Depression is a medical condition that takes time to heal.
- Tell her that you understand why she’s depressed; unless you’ve been there yourself, you don’t.
- Tell her she will feel better soon. That can be interpreted as proof that you don’t understand the disease and make her feel more alienated.
- Be pushy. This can cause a depressed person to withdraw even more.
- Be judgmental. Depression is not anyone’s fault.
- Expect her to be the same as when she is not depressed.