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The Powerlessness of Supporting a Friend through Depression

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:43 am    Post subject: The Powerlessness of Supporting a Friend through Depression Reply with quote

The CEO of Healing Baskets, Inc., Caroline Cheshire, shares about how small efforts can make a big difference when friends or loved ones are suffering from depression, post-partum depression, or bipolar illness.

Manchester, USA, February 22, 210 -- Depression has many faces and a million disguises. It can be obvious to friends and family, or it can hide, silently beneath the surface. What are we to do when a friend seems to be struggling with more than a case of the blues or dealing with post-partum depression after the birth of a child? Well, thereís only one thing NOT to do, and thatís nothing. Why is that important to mention? Because in our fear of offending someone, or dread of crossing some invisible line of appropriate behavior, itís easy to stand back and watch as a friend or loved one can fade before our very eyes.

Bucknell University defines depression as follows: Depression is more than the blues or the blahs; it is more than the normal, everyday ups and downs. Clinical depression is a serious health problem that affects the total person. In addition to feelings, it can change behavior, physical health and appearance, academic performance, social activity and the ability to handle everyday decisions and pressures. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 14.8 million American adults will suffer a depressive illness this year. Multiply that by friends and family and thereís probably not one of us who isnít personally touched by the sorrow, worry and fear of watching someone we love struggle to find their pathway back to a full life. So what are we to do? First, absolutely start a dialogue. Depression isnít a mystery any longer, and the stigma is rapidly disappearing. Talking to our loved one and recommending professional help is probably the BEST contribution we can make.

Next? Well, thatís where it gets really tricky. If the friend lives close by, frequent visits and some great outdoor exercise can make a great difference. In fact, the human body itself is one of the most effective health restoratives when it comes to depression and mood disorder. The world-famous Mayo Clinic recently wrote that exercise works by releasing feel-good brain chemicals, such as endorphins; it reduces immune system chemicals (immune system chemicals can make depression worse at times); and it increases body temperature, which seems to have calming effects. Add in the company of a good friend, and the pounds you both lose could be a thousand pounds of sadness and fatigue.

There are times, of course, when depression doesnít even look sad. When a loved one simply stops sleeping Ė or sleeps all the time Ė but their mood seems fine or even euphoric. No matter what it is that makes you stop and wonder, itís always better to ask the questions and open up the subject.

What can we do to support a friend who lives too far away to visit? Or whoís simply too ill to even open the door? How do we support someone if weíre completely lost for the right words? Thankfully, we donít have to invent a new language to say, ďI care about you.Ē A warm card sent every week or two, or a beautiful healing basket ( specifically created to support someone with depression or struggling with post-partum depression can speak volumes.

In fact, each item in the Circle of Friends Basket ( reminds the receiver that their literally in the loving embrace of the friend who sent it. And that is a very strong remedy any day of the week., (978) 526-1229, caroline@healingbaskets.comc

Caroline Cheshire
Healing Baskets, Inc
Manchester, USA
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