You are on the bus, on your way home from work. The person in front of you has a running nose and coughs persistently. You look at them and think they have a nasty flu.
But what about the illnesses you can’t see? What about the young man who is looking down? His nose is alright, but is he alright? He might be struggling with depression. Your former high school mate, who is smiling in all the pictures she posted on social media, might also suffer from this illness. You don’t know, until they do something drastic.
When someone commits suicide, you will hear people saying “I didn’t know they had depression. I didn’t know it’s so severe.” That’s because this condition is not visible.
Even if the depression does not end with suicide, depression can have significant long-term health effects. For example, do you know what causes dementia? Depression.
Depression can also negatively impact your weight, as it can cause eating disorders.
If you know someone suffering from depression, here are some tips how to help them.
Tips for How to Help Someone with Depression
Clinical depression affects a huge number of people, but because there’s a stigma on it, most of them don’t tell anyone. Unfortunately, many of them fail to look for medical help, which can have tragic consequences.
To be able to help someone struggling with this condition, you need to know some facts about depression.
Understand Depression Episodes Come and Go
Those who suffer from depression are not always sad or anxious. Depression episodes come and go, even when you are following the treatment. This is why most people seem happy, despite they suffer from this illness.
One of the best descriptions for depression is an “emotional roller coaster” which sometimes pushes you towards the edge of the canyon, other times it makes you look like the happiest person alive.
You Can’t Relate to the Patient
Unless you suffer from depression yourself, you can’t relate to the patient. This condition is only experienced by the one who suffers. Even if you are sad, you can’t feel what they feel. Browsing the anxiety treatments in a pharmacy online will show you the treatments for this condition are mostly designed to help the patient control their anxiety caused by this complex illness.
The level of anxiety felt by someone with depression can’t be felt by someone who doesn’t have the condition. You just have to trust them when they say they feel depressed.
Learn More: How to Deal with Anxiety
People Who Suffer from Depression Don’t Want You to Know About It
Depression comes with a stigma, which makes the patients very discreet about their condition. Most people think depression is just a period of sadness, something you can get out of on your own. Clinical depression is not sadness or grief.
People don’t understand depression; they don’t understand an episode can be triggered by something they consider normal. The truth is those who struggle with depression want to be normal, to get away from the stigma, but they are too afraid to say.
So, they suffer in silence.
Once they manage to share the fact they suffer from this mental health illness, they will find new strength to fight depression, so offer them all your support.
Additional Reading: LGBT Mental Health Issues
Advise Them About Getting an Emotional Support Animal
Just like most of other clinical conditions, there are several ways to treat depression.
One of which is the use of emotional support animals.
Emotional support animals are not just an ordinary pet animal. These animals are determined by medical professionals to provide help and benefits to people with a verified and confirmed disability. For example, a blind person can be prescribed to care for a dog to assist them and essentially be the person’s eyes.
Since depression is another form of a mental disability, ESA’s can be of help too. Below are other advantages of emotional support animals can provide to persons suffering from depression.
Provides Health Benefits
Depression comes uninvited and unexpected. The only way one can tell the difference, sometimes, is when too much stress is already being experienced. There is no warning or head’s up. Next thing you know, you are already isolating yourself from your family and friends.
Owning a pet, somehow, decreases the tendency of isolation. The fact that you have something to care for, and you feel the unconditional love from is a great help. This feel-good mood is brought by the release of the hormone called “oxytocin”.
Following the release of this so-called feel-good hormone is the decrease in heart diseases such as, high/low blood pressure. As well as the reduction of other trauma-related complications.
Helps Ease Loneliness
Isolation is one of the serious symptoms of depression. And it does bring out worrying effects to the person suffering from it. How an emotional support animal can surprisingly lift that loneliness up is beyond compare. They serve as an outlet where you can be totally yourself without worrying about being judged.
If the person is too scared of rejection, taking his or her emotional support animal for a simple walk at the park can be a good start. It could also be a good conversation starter between other pet owners.
Heightens Your Mood
Depression can mean constantly feeling down, each day and every night. And by owning an emotional support animal, you can create a routine and get back on track. With this, the person suffering from depression will experience a better mood in the long run.
For example, owning a pet entails responsibilities too. These animals need to be fed, groomed and spend time with. These activities will be enough reasons for a person to get out and somehow socialise instead of isolate him/herself from other people. Even a simple stroke on a cat or dog can already give out a calming mood.
Gives Unconditional Affection and Love
Everyone needs affection, love, and acceptance. And a person suffering from depression is someone who badly needs one. Love and affection can easily come from the people close to our hearts. Like family, for example, or a very few close friends. However, we couldn’t ignore the fact that these people have their own lives to live too.
Own issues to think about, and so much more. Sometimes, during the times they are needed the most are also the times they are not available. This is normal. But, for someone who suffers from depression, this scenario could have a massive impact on their self-esteem.
Fortunately, emotional support animals are there to the rescue. These animals care for their owners unconditionally. If one day, you don’t want to spend time with them, they’ll be fine and they will survive. They will always be there whether you’re clingy or not.
Having an Emotional Support Animal
There are other benefits an emotional support animal could give to someone who is suffering from depression. However, it is always suggested to seek advice from a medical professional before getting one. These animals are more than just an ordinary pet, do not forget that fact.
You may check out this guide on how to get an emotional support animal. Some of the basic steps may include – knowing which type of mental disability you are/may be suffering from.
This could include a physician’s diagnosis to be sure. The suggested treatment may then include adopting an emotional support animal. However, make sure also to make a proper letter stating your condition and your request to own an ESA.
It is important to legalize your ESA ownership because there is a housing policy to some properties about a “no pet” policy. This letter can be given to your landlord. Or if you are traveling elsewhere, you may need to bring your pet with you. This legal letter may allow your pet to join you in an aircraft at no additional cost.