On Depression: Getting Support when you’re Depressed

April 7, 2013

girl with depression

Image Credit: Sarah G.

by Zita Weber, Ph.D.

When you’re depressed, it’s often difficult to face the idea of getting through the day without the support of others.   It’s sometimes also difficult to ask for that support.  But getting that support is crucial if you’re going to go on the journey of healing and finding your way out of the downward spiral.

Many people describe their depression and their emergence from it as a time for change, an opportunity for growth and healing.  Change, however, can be confusing, sometimes chaotic and often frightening.   Because this process can be so challenging, getting the support you need is important.

Asking for support

Perhaps you’re concerned about asking for support.  But remember, you have to give people the chance to say ‘yes’ – so have a look at the tips below for getting the support you need:

  • ask trusted family members and friends to help with specific tasks and ongoing responsibilities
  • if you need to make decisions, ask for the opinions of your trusted support people because when in doubt, it’s good to get the opinions of others you respect in making your choices
  • if you know people who have been on the healing journey from depression, ask them about their experiences and any advice they have to offer
  • ask if a few really trusted support people are available for phone calls and chats – even if it’s into the small hours of the morning
  • if you’re finding work a little challenging, ask your manager if it’s possible to lighten your workload for a while
  • when it’s difficult making major decisions or commitments, ask that they might be deferred until later

Joining support groups

The idea of support groups has been around for a long time.  It’s endured because it’s a good idea.  Research evidence tells us that people often benefit by gathering with others going through similar experiences.

Support groups are an excellent place to share experiences, information, suggestions and as the name suggests, support.  It’s often been said that perhaps the most important knowledge a person can gain from a support group is that they are not alone.  You might hear of an experience similar to yours and get the perspective of several others who may have faced the same challenges and found their way through the healing process.

Support groups are self-selected and grow around people who care about and are committed to their own healing and sharing the experience with others.  This creates an atmosphere of camaraderie and a commitment to finding a way to create a more empowered sense of self and way of being in the world.

Today it’s easier than ever to find support groups.  Once, people assembled physically in a place and spent time together face-to-face.  Now, it’s possible to join a support group by going online and it’s still possible to join a real-time, physical support group.  The choices have been widened as have the opportunities to meet with more people whose experiences are similar and have the commitment to helping themselves and others through constructive conversations aimed at helping each other on the journey through healing from depression.

To read more about support and healing from depression see Losing the 21st Century Blues (http://zitaweber.com/new-releases/losing-the-21st-century-blues)

Author Bio: Zita Weber, Ph.D. is an author and honorary academic, and has worked as a counselor and therapist with individuals, couples and families.  She has researched and written about communication, relationships, sexuality, depression and loss and grief.  More information about her work and books can be found at:  http://zitaweber.com.