Welcome to Depression Q & A! The segment where we answer your questions about depression. In today’s edition, we’re answering a question from Quora. If you want us to answer a question you have, please send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or get in touch via our social media accounts.
Today’s question is How Do I Talk To Depressed People?
This is a very relevant question as I think we’ve all had an experience of talking to a friend or family member that’s been depressed.
My first piece of advice is to listen. People who are suffering from depression are searching for someone to be their emotional anchor. However, there is such a thing called compassion fatigue, which means that conversing with the depressed person without getting emotionally involved in their depression is of utmost importance. Remember to take care of yourself.
2) Don’t Solve Their Problems.
My second piece of advice is not to try to solve their problems. This minimizes the issue in their minds. They are not looking for someone to give them advice. They are looking for someone to relate to them on a emotional level. What’s more, coming with simple answers to what they deem to be complex life issues, will make them feel inadequate and will result in them not wanting to talk to you about it again.
3) Don’t Lead Them Off Topic… Too Much.
My third piece of advice is to not lead them off topic too much. People are not stupid. They know what you are trying to do and this makes them feel as if they are bothersome. It’s okay to do it every now and then but not for the purpose of making them feel better. If they want to talk about their depression, let them.
4) Relate To Them.
Lastly, talk in a relational way. Find something about their current situation that you can relate to your past and talk about how it affected you in the moment, not how you overcame it. This will make the bond between you stronger and inspire the person to work on the issue by themselves.