"Snap out of it!" How many times have you heard that expression, during your lowest depressive moments? Me I have heard it a few times during the course of what I like to call my anesthetized bouts of depression. And I would like to tell you that it is not that easy. No it really is not. But, still I understand why most would think it is. Lack of knowledge and a complex illness can easily make one think the depressive person can just snap out of it.
Depression symptoms come in a different range, usually from mild to severe. I have experienced both and I can tell you first hand the severe range is no walk in the park. Here are some of the symptoms of severe sometimes called clinical depression:
- Extremely fatigued
- No interest in activities of any kind
- Always feeling sad
- Thoughts of suicide
- Having a hard time concentrating
- A hollow feeling inside
- Changes in weight
- Crying a lot
If you know a person who is showing signs of severe depression the best thing you can do is be there for them and show them that you care. Listen to what they have to say. Suggest to them that perhaps they should seek professional treatment if they have not already done so; support them by going to a few of their doctor appointments. Remain in communication with them, do not assume just because they say that they are not interested that the person may not need companionship or a phone call every now and than, depressed individuals often seem uninterested. Encourage them to engage in activities such as a going to the theater to watch a movie or a simple walk in the park. If their response is no then perhaps suggest visiting and renting a movie at home with some popcorn. I remember during my depressive bouts I preferred to stay indoors, so I always appreciated someone suggesting renting a movie at home.
The key here to remember is support and companionship. Although many times they will refuse and avoid it, I suggest baby steps. Do not come on to strong, but be attentive and remember the little things we do can sometimes go a long way.
Another thing that I was grateful for during those difficult times were the inspirational books and gifts that friends gave me, many of those books were memoirs and stories of people who experienced similar things and were able to overcome them. The gifts were as simple as a frame or jewelry that symbolized hope. Those things I held very close to my heart and still do.
If you have a friend or know someone that is showing signs of clinical depression. Support them anyway you can and remember to never use phrases such as "snap out of it" Phrases such as these can be very harmful and even dangerous for the individual suffering from depression. They might feel misunderstood and the feelings of loneliness can intensify causing them to have irrational thoughts that can even contribute to erratic behavior.
Awareness and knowledge is very important in dealing with complex and sensitive illnesses such as depression. The more knowledge we have on certain topics the more helpful we are to ourselves, friends, family and even society as a whole.