9 Ways To Help And Love Your Depressed Someone

Photo credit: David Clode

I can’t speak for all people with depression, or for all of us grieving, but I think I may be speaking for a lot of us when I say please stop asking us how you can help when we’re in these states. I know you mean well, but when we’re in survival mode, we just don’t have the energy or the clarity to think up ‘ways you can help’. Your questions have been on my mind a lot lately though, so I used a recent bipolar high to come up with some ideas of ways you can help someone who is depressed or grieving …

Check in …

Every now and then, send a message like, ‘Just checking in, hope you’re okay.’ Don’t always ask them how they’re doing; sometimes it feels like too much just to articulate how we’re feeling (or to find a way to lie about it, which we tend to do). Just let them know you’re thinking about them. And that you love them no matter what. Sometimes that’s enough. Even if it’s just an emoji.

Tell them what you see in them …

If you see strength or grace, or wisdom and tenacity, or whatever inner beauty it is that you see in them, tell them. Just drop it in a text. They probably don’t see what you see, but if you’re being authentic, and if they love and trust you, they might start to see it too. And that can create a little shift, stir a little hope, bring a little light.

Share some beauty …

Share something uplifting. A cat meme. A goat rescuing a chicken from a hawk. A beautiful sunset. A stirring real-life story. Humans helping each other. A show of love and kindness and strength. Anything moving. Anything that reminds us the world is still a beautiful place. In this darkness and depression we’ll take all the hope we can get.

Send them a song …

It could be a song that reminds you of them, or a song of a memory you once shared. It could be a song that brought you through your own dark times. Or just a new track that you think they might like. Music can be powerfully evocative. And sometimes it brings an otherworldly and much needed solace.

Evoke their inner child …

Connecting with the inner child can be incredibly healing. Evoke that inner child play and expression with a wild assortment of colouring books, fat crayons, giant scraps of paper, pots of paint, glue, glitter, charcoal, canvasses … whatever you can get your hands on. Drop it off with a heart full of love and the freedom for them to do anything they want … or absolutely nothing at all.

Bring them back to nature …

When we’re depressed, we’re often fatigued, and as much as we would love to be outdoors and in nature, we just don’t have the energy or the inclination to drag ourselves out there. So bring nature to the one you love. Flowers, a pot plant, a shell you collected or a pebble you polished. It’s so often the smallest things that matter most… and flutter loudest in our hearts.

Deliver green goddess goodness …

Food is a powerful medicine. Especially earthy greenness like the leafy spinach that feeds serotonin (that gentle yet so often evasive feel-good hormone). But, hello irony, we tend to neither crave, nor have the energy to feed ourselves that kind of healthy goodness when we’re on a downward spiral. Deliver a green smoothie to their door for a week and you can help them get some of the natural medicine their bodies need.

Offer some comfort …

Think soft and warm. Like an enveloping hug from the most loving being ever. Like giant teddy bears, like fluffy blankets, like soft and fleecy nightgowns, cosy sippers, cotton sheets, overstuffed pillows … anything that you can think of that could bring a moment of comfort, and have it delivered to their door.

Remind them that you’re there for them …

Tell them that they can call you to talk … or not talk. Tell them that even if they don’t want to say anything, you will just be there, this other person at the other end of the line, listening, that you will put your phone on speaker and lay down on the grass beside the phone and just listen, whether they cry and scream or say nothing at all, you will be there to witness it all.

Whatever it is that you choose to do, however it is that you reach out, bear in mind that sometimes people with depression, or people who are grieving, may be feeling just a little too raw or anguished to have someone else in their space. Sometimes even just replying to a message can feel like too much, so try to respect that. We all have a process. And if you’re really worried about someone, get some professional guidance.

And remember, maybe more than anything, that as much as you would love to wave a magic wand and make everything okay, you don’t have to fix us. That’s not your job. You can’t ‘fix’ us. You can’t fix anyone. You can only be the healing for yourself. And you can be there to witness ours.

Because I will always believe that we can all find healing.

Read what you should probably unlearn about people with bipolar.