Your friends and family members are there to help support you when you are feeling down, and you’re likely happy to return the favor. Yet, what happens when both of you are dealing with depression and have limited resources for helping one another? Figuring out ways to support a loved one with depression is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face when you are also struggling with your mental health. Creating an action plan gives you more control over your mental wellbeing and relationship.
Establish Healthy Boundaries
Two people who are depressed can easily start to drag each other down. Start by deciding what you can agree on for boundaries. For example, you might want to establish that it is okay for either of you to tell the other that they need a break from hearing them vent. You may also want to make it clear that it is okay to say no to an activity or making plans when you aren’t feeling your best.
Be Open About Your Mental Health Status
Many people still find it hard to talk about their mental health. If you don’t feel okay saying that you are depressed, then try using other words such as telling your loved one that you are also having a hard time. Opening up about your depression can let your loved one know that you struggle mentally, too.
Invite Them to Join You in Self-Care Activities
There are times when you may want to be alone, but it also helps to bring your loved one along on your journey. If you’ve signed up for an art class or other activity, then ask them if they want to join in. You can also invite them for a walk or hike. Getting them involved in an activity that you enjoy can help both of you to improve your mental health.
Seek Mental Health Treatment
Serious depression needs professional treatment. Seeking help from a therapist or counselor helps you to learn techniques that make you a better friend or family member. In therapy, you can also talk about your challenges with supporting someone with the same mental health condition that you have. Talking it out makes things seem less frustrating, and you can use your new strategies to continue strengthening your relationship.
In a perfect world, two close friends or family members wouldn’t be depressed at the same time. While you can’t fix the timing of your mental health challenges, you can take charge of improving everyone’s well-being by being proactive and willing to talk about how you feel mentally and emotionally.
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