People with depression often do not have the energy to maintain personal relationships and they may isolate themselves from the rest of the world. However, close relationships and the social network are extremely important to them: people with depression need support and help from the people closest to them in order to prevent the depression and isolation from getting worse.
Depression in a loved one can be energy consuming
Depression in a person close to us is difficult: feelings of loneliness and helplessness, as well as concern over the person who is depressed can be a very heavy burden to bear. When someone close to us is depressed, it often creates mixed and difficult feelings. Relatives and friends should remember that they do not have to, nor should they, go along with the moods of the depressed person. Similarly, they do not need to react or try to find a solution to every manifestation of anxiety made by the depressed person.
The most important thing is to remember to tell the other person that he/she is important. Sometimes simply knowing that someone really cares helps the person who is depressed. One should keep in mind that the actual treatment of depression should be left to health care professionals. However, it is often the task of family and friends to maintain the hopes of depressed persons: to remind them that they are getting the help they need and that it is possible to overcome depression.
Family and friends must take care of their own well-being and coping
Family and friends should always remember to take care of their own well-being. An exhausted person will not have the energy to support someone else. That is why it is so important to try and live your own life, go out, continue hobbies as normal, or do whatever makes you happy even if someone close to you is depressed. Enjoying life is not forbidden.
One should keep in mind that the depressed person certainly does not want to see people close to him/her exhausted; in fact, he/she may even be afraid of being too heavy a burden. Maintaining personal well-being does not take anything away from the person who is depressed; instead, it forms mutual resources.
Support and peer activities are available for family members, informal carers and friends of people with depression. It is usually a good idea to share views with other people in the same situation.