Table of contents:

How to talk about your depression
How to talk about your depression

The help of loved ones will definitely come in handy.

How to talk about your depression
How to talk about your depression

Telling your family about the problem is an important step on the road to recovery. It is not easy to do, but it is very important to ask for help and attention. The advice of Cindy Stolberg and Ronald Frey, two clinical psychologists with 20 years of experience, will help you find the right words.

In the book “I'm Better. Interpersonal Therapy for Depression”The authors answer basic questions about depression and talk about practical tips to help you feel better. With permission from Alpina Publisher, Lifehacker publishes an excerpt from the first chapter.

If until now you have not talked about your depression, then now is the time to share this burden with someone. Telling others about your time constraints is more likely to get support and new advice on how to deal with it. Thanks to your candor, others may also share experiences that you might not have known about. It will not be so lonely right away.

It's normal to feel awkward, fearful, and anxious about telling the truth about yourself. For many of us, including myself, self-esteem is closely linked to the need to look as if everything is in order (this is typical for specialists in helping professions; we help others, but we do not always know how to help ourselves). If you’re used to the fact that you can do anything, it may be embarrassing to admit to others that it’s difficult for you. Plus, if you've never asked for help before, you may not know that someone else can offer it.

First, acknowledge that strength isn't always about being strong. Then imagine a different future where people are more likely to help each other. Many people you have helped will want to help in return. Let them do it.

You don't have to tell everyone that you have depression. Share with one or two - those who, in your opinion, will understand you. It doesn't hurt to discuss your feelings with someone you trust. Then you will have a general idea of how the disease affects your body and soul, and you will understand each other. Tell the other person that you are doing all you can to improve your well-being. Explain that you need to temporarily interrupt activities to find time and energy to recover. Reassure, "This is temporary." Make sure they are worried about you and listen to what they say to you.

Trust me: when you share the problem of depression with someone, with someone you trust, you acknowledge that you are human; it can make your relationship stronger.

Someone will really understand you. Someone may offer help (don’t refuse!). Someone will not succeed: you will feel that the person is trying, but it is difficult for him. If this is a loved one or coworker, try letting them read this chapter. Of course, if a person does not like to read, you cannot force him. Just show him the most important thing, how to cut the best moments of a football match. He will understand that you are taking this data from a reliable source - from a book, but you will not have to read it.

Unfortunately, some of the support won't get you there, and that won't change. But at least you will know who not to turn to next time. Try not to judge those who have not shown understanding. Perhaps they can help not with words, but with deeds: for example, they can fix your car or sit with the children. People with depression often stop communicating with others.

Isolation can be aggravated by moving to another city, having a child, frequent business trips of the husband or wife, or lack of support. For example, John One of the authors' clients. John is 40 years old, he still lives with his parents, has no friends and works as a courier in a Chinese restaurant. it was difficult to admit to himself that he was depressed: that would mean that he had failed again, because that was what all his friends and family had suggested to him. How to tell about your illness to those for whom you consider yourself inferior?

If you, like John, feel that you cannot talk to anyone about depression, we advise you to find someone to open up to. John fought back his pride and spoke about his feelings to one of the brothers, the most sympathetic. He explained how he felt, told how he was trying to get well. My brother expected to hear from John what he had heard many times: "if only I had a girlfriend …", "all because of this job", "I just don't have enough money", "if I graduated from school …", " I don’t live with my parents …”- and was pleasantly surprised when there were no“old songs”. He even praised John for the first time in his life - for his efforts.

Often our words sound unconvincing, not because of what we say, but because of the way we speak. To notice patterns in the way we talk to people, you need to understand yourself, but it makes sense. John, for example, noticed how he loves to seek excuses for himself and blame others. You, too, will notice that by changing the manner of communication, you realized that you have someone to turn to. This cannot be achieved overnight, but now is the time to start.

Try it. You can always find someone to talk to. Perhaps you just haven't found it yet.

You may not have anyone to “talk about your depression” with if it is embarrassing (and therefore forbidden) to talk about mental illness in your family or community. You may worry that if your depression becomes known it could affect your future. Rest assured, you will still find someone to talk to, just not in your usual social circle. Perhaps this is a distant friend or acquaintance, and perhaps a specialist.

Believe me, sometimes you feel deprived of all support, not because of what you say, but because of how.

We'll show you how to start talking about your depression with your spouse, family, friends, or boss, and how to mention that you will have to release some obligations.

What to say to a husband or wife

  • “I know that lately I have been in a bad mood, but you have nothing to do with it. I seem to be depressed. I try to figure it out in order to get better. It may not be easy to understand, especially given how many worries you have, but I want you to know that I am doing my best."
  • “Yes, usually I am the one who cleans the table after dinner and takes the children to class, but I get very tired at work. Depression sucks all the juices out of me, and I need to focus on recovery. Let's figure out how to relax in the evenings for both of us?"
  • “I have absolutely no strength to keep the house clean, but if there is order around, then the mood will be better. Maybe we can hire a housekeeper for a few months?"

What to tell a friend or girlfriend

“Sorry that we began to see each other less often. You have nothing to do with it. I have mood problems, I try to solve them. I am not angry with you and still want to communicate. I hope I feel better soon. I'll keep you informed"

What to say to family

  • “I know that you are worried about me, I really appreciate your concern. I have problems with work, I am at zero. Let's go without details, but if you can pick up the children for a couple of hours this Sunday afternoon, it will help me a lot."
  • “It is clear that you have a lot to do, but I already miss communicating with you. Nothing can be better than a joint dinner this week, and even more so if you bring a treat. I will be very grateful if we can do this in the near future."

What to tell a teenager

“You'd be surprised, but I really don't like nagging you. I know I sometimes go crazy over little things. Understand, I love you and understand that you are just a teenager. Sometimes it's hard for me to cope with my mood, and I want you to know that I am doing what I can. I will try to argue less and find fault with you."

What to tell your boss

“I was at the doctor's appointment. I am depressed. My life is changing, so I will try to get better as soon as possible. The doctor advises to discuss with you the possibility of a vacation or time off until then, until I feel better."

Hey! Can you hear me?

We are not always answered the way we would like. For example, one morning Ana is one of the authors' clients. Ana is a young mom, but she misses life before pregnancy and is ashamed of these emotions. decides, while the child is asleep, to write a letter to her husband Peter. It seems wiser to do this with a little rest than waiting for Peter to get home from work, and she will be too tired and irritated to engage in constructive dialogue. In addition, while you write, it is easier to collect your thoughts and not forget anything.

Ana begins the letter, confesses to Peter that she loves him and that it is hard for her from the very birth of the child. She talks about the feelings she experiences: sadness, self-contempt, guilt, worthlessness, absent-mindedness, irritability - and explains that depression is the cause of everything. She knows that he, too, is tired, but hopes for additional help from him - not for long, while she works to improve her well-being.

Peter reads the letter in the evening of the same day, hugs Ana tightly, says how glad she is that she told him about her feelings - but he is in no hurry to fulfill the request for help. Ana decides not to make it a problem: perhaps he didn't know what to do or say.

Over the next week, she notices that nothing has changed for Peter. He also demands dinner as soon as he gets home, and buries his nose in the newspaper instead of picking up his daughter. He doesn't even put the dishes in the dishwasher. Ana can feel her discontent build up. Didn't she do it right? Didn't she talk about the manifestations of depression and attempts to cure, didn’t ask for help, didn’t add that it was temporary?

Yes, Ana did everything right. But, if we are talking about spouses (as, indeed, about other family members), one letter may not be enough to discuss all the issues and solve all the problems. Relationships are a living process, and close relationships often still follow some established scenario. It is hardly possible to change it right away.

Trust me, you may need to talk to the other person, especially your spouse, several times before you figure out how best to help you. Be patient and objective. Maybe you should let your husband or wife read this chapter.

Anya needs to continue talking to her husband. Complaints in the spirit of "well, you are a boor, why don't you help, did you ask?" won't help even if that's what she feels. You might say, “Peter, I appreciate your concern for my well-being. If we want me to get better, do something around the house yourself when you get home from work.” No apologies, no aggression: just a polite, respectful request for help.

Be patient, be constructive, keep trying. If you cannot achieve results on your own, you can always invite your husband or wife to go with you to see a doctor. A specialist opinion can help add weight to your request for help. You can also turn to another family member or understanding friends. What will they offer?

I'm Better Book - A Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Depression
I'm Better Book - A Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Depression

I'm Better is a step-by-step guide to overcoming depression. The tests proposed by the authors will help you understand yourself, and the prepared exercises will help you cope with difficult life circumstances.