How To Help Someone With Depression

We all know someone who’s struggling
with depression, it’s a common thing that we all experience. How do we help someone
with depression? I’m Dr. Paul, I’ll give you some pointers today at Live On Purpose TV. At the time of this recording, I’ve been a psychologist now for 23
years, clinical psychologist. Honestly, you can’t
shock me. I have heard some of the darndest stuff
you can imagine and none of it surprises or shocks me anymore. I’m sharing this
with you because obviously, the topic of this video today is how do you help
someone who’s going through some depression, who’s having some issues in
their life and aren’t we all, right? It’s a common human experience and that’s
probably the first thing that’s important to understand, that depression
does not mean that something is wrong with you or that you’re broken or
fundamentally goofed up in some way. Unless of course we all are which to
some people is good news, other people it’s just kind of a negative view of
life but really, is it? I mean we are human beings and we have typical human
experiences. One of which is depression and it happens to normal regular awesome
people. So understanding depression is part of
the key here but I shared with you my clinical experience a little bit that
you can’t shock me because that actually puts me in position to help people
better because I’m never shocked or tipped over by what they tell me. This is
a clue for how we’re going to help our loved ones, our friends, those who are are
struggling with something that in their mind is this huge weighty thing, the way
we respond to that can convey confidence and an assurance that they can handle it.
There’s a book called Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway by Dr.
Susan Jeffers. It’s a good book and actually the title is probably as good
as the book is. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Dr. Jeffers pointed out in her
book that there’s a common belief at the root of every fear and that belief is, I
can’t handle it, I can’t handle it. That belief causes us to have a little surge
of panic, a sense of threat that if I can’t handle something, that’s not good
for me. As we can make confidence and trust in the opposite of what that
feeling is, suggesting that they can handle it. That tends to be one of the
most reassuring beliefs. So notice that as you’re talking with someone or
interacting with someone who is going through an experience, that they believe
at some level that they can’t handle, it’s going to create anxiety and
depression, that’s just the nature of the beast. What if we were able to convey
some trust and confidence that they can handle this? Now what that means is as a
helper, as someone who is listening, actually, let’s go there for a minute
because listening, I think is one of the main keys here. You want to be open and
present a listening ear to this person. Listening is a skill and we address that
in another video. Actually, the actual skills of
listening, so you can visit that one as well here at Live On Purpose TV. The
listening aspect is so key because people sometimes get stuck in their own
mind in a way that they don’t even realize that they’re doing this, to have
someone listening to them gives them a chance to give voice to some of the
thoughts and feelings that they’re having and in doing so, it separates them
just far enough from those cognitive processes
that they can actually take a look at and experience more choice in what it is
that they’re thinking. So you’re listening provides a tool for them that
they have a hard time getting themselves. As you listen, you will feel drawn,
sometimes sucked into a position of giving advice. I want to caution you
about that. This is not the time to offer a lot of advice even when it’s requested
but I’m talking specifically about when it’s not requested. You might feel pulled
or drawn into giving advice or offering your opinion about what they need to do.
This typically is not very helpful. Sometimes they will request specifically
to hear your advice on some particular thing and if you have an opinion about
it, please preface it with that and let them
know well this is my opinion and this may or may not work for you
but here’s what I think, that’s okay, I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about
that need that you might feel to actually solve their problem. One of the
things that we run into depression all the time is a sense of dependence
that people develop and they don’t believe that they can handle their own
life. We want to send a very different message, it’s much more helpful to them
to understand that they can handle their own life and anything that comes up in
it. Do you believe that? Do you believe? Maybe for yourself first if we start
there. Do you believe that you can handle anything that comes up in your life? See,
I’m not sure where you are with that and I struggled with this for a while myself,
I think we all do. I think we need to come to terms at some point with, can I
or can’t I handle what’s possibly going to come up for me, what’s happening now,
what might happen in the future and then extend that belief to, do you believe that
about them? If you don’t believe that they can handle it then you will try to
rescue them. If you believe that they can handle it
then you will approach them in a way that empowers them to do just that
and that is my preference, that we empower people to handle their life. I
don’t want to create a dependency where they’re looking to me to solve
everything. You know who taught me this? The kid, 10 year old kid came here to see
me. His parents were murdered, he found them. I can’t think of anything much
harder than that, can you? He was 10 years old at the time and as I
was visiting with him and I asked him, “Hey, before all this happened, what if I
would have asked you, do you think you can handle it if both parents were
killed? What would you have told me?” And he responded the way you might expect, “Oh,
no way, man.” Then he lit up a little bit, he says, “But I am handling it huh?” That
hit me, you guys, because if he’s handling that, now I’m not saying it was easy, I’m
not saying it was pleasant, probably the hardest year of his life, that year after
his parents passed but the point is he was handling it and he learned from that
that he can do hard things, not just hard things, I mean, unthinkably hard things
and what is it that you were thinking you couldn’t handle? See that cost me to
take a look at my own life, I was kind of upset about a few things,
circumstances, relationships, whatever it was and as I learned that from this
young client, I had to ask myself, “What is it that I’m thinking I can’t
handle?” You guys have come to a belief and I am solid on this that you can
handle anything, anything that happens in your life. I believe that and because I
believe that, I listen differently then I show up differently for the people who
need my help. Can you help someone who’s depressed?
Yeah, yeah, you can and there’s a paradox and it has to do with your own belief as
to whether they need your help. If you believe
leave that they have what it takes, you’re more likely to show up in ways
that empower them to actually do what is required to handle their own depression.
In that way, we get to assist because they don’t really need us instead of
paradox, I think it is, I think it is but I found it to be a powerful one in my
experience with my clients and with people that I love even with myself, we
can help, we can make a difference. Let’s go out there and empower people to live
their life on purpose. So you got some ideas now? How you might be able to help?
This is a big casket requires all of us so make sure you share this episode with
someone that you think could really benefit.

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