How to Help Your Family Understand Depression

Depression is a condition that largely goes misunderstood by the sufferer and the family of the one depressed.  Sometimes the person who is suffering from depression might not even realize that he or she is suffering from a neurological condition, which can make matters worse. 

If you’ve been diagnosed with depression and you’d like to help you family understand the mental illness, here are some great tips in order to do so:

Understand the nature of depression.

 In order for your family to understand depression, it is important that you educate yourself on the nature of depression to explain it to them.  As said before, depression is a neurological condition, which means that neurotransmitters are misfiring, causing levels of serotonin to be out of whack. 

It’s not like you can just think happy thoughts and happy thoughts appear; clinically depressed people have a true physiological condition. If you’re having a tough time staying in a positive mood even when your life seems to be going alright, let your family know that depression is simply a condition that you contend with and do your best to reduce symptoms via therapy and perhaps medicine. 

As you keep yourself educated, you are well able to relay the information to family.

Open communication

To help your family understand your depression, make a commitment to remain open when communicating with them. Let them know that you are not thrilled that you have to contend with depression.

If you had your choice, you would never struggle with another sad mood, but due to the physiological aspect of depression, you do not have much of a choice.  Let them know that you are doing all you can to manage your depressive symptoms. Let them know how they can best support you through your bout of depression.

If they have not been supportive, let them know how that makes you feel.  Additionally, let them be honest and open with you regarding the depression or other areas that may need addressed. They are entitled to their opinions and you are entitled to agree to disagree if need be. 

Honest and open communication is best when it comes to helping your family understand better your depression.

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let them go to therapy with you

 If you’re at a loss for words when it comes to explaining the scope of your depression, ask your family members to attend a therapy session with you so your therapist can answer their questions and explain a bit about depression. 

Family therapy is quite beneficial for everyone involved and can really help in bridging gaps in relationships that may have been harmed due to depressive symptoms and behaviors.

Purchase them a book or two 

There are many quality and informative books on the market that explain depression in laymen terms, so do some research and purchase one or two as a gift to your family members.  This allows them to begin a journey to learn about clinical depression and how they can be a support factor and not a hindering factor when it comes to your depression. 

If by chance your family member does not like to read, point him or her to online videos via YouTube or websites devoted to educating others on depression.  Watching an informative video may just be what your family member needs to see in order to understand your depression better.

Watch a movie 

There are several good movies to watch with your family members that will help them better understand your depression.  Sometimes it is easier to understand a condition when you can see how it affects a person other than a loved one.  Try watching Helen, Revolutionary Road, The Hours, Prozac Nation, and Sylvia.

With more than 19 million men and women in the United States suffering from clinical depression, the need for discussion is imminent. If you haven’t had a discussion with your family yet about your battle with depression, take some time this week to do so. 

Take these tips into consideration and have a heart to heart with those closest to you. Chances are all of you will walk away better understanding depression, as well as forming a closer bond with each other. 

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