How to lovingly support someone who is experiencing Hopelessness and Depression

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Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.’  ~Norman B. Rice

If you have a friend or loved one who is experiencing hopelessness or depression, it can be difficult to know exactly what to say or do. While there isn’t any one magic thing to say that will alleviate their pain, there are many ways to offer support.

‘Never worry about numbers.  Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.’  ~Mother Teresa

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The best way to offer help is to listen, validate their experience, and provide acceptance. By offering this type of support, you can help put things into a more balanced perspective. In addition, your offer of companionship lets them know that they are not completely alone. They have someone with them even as they attempt to find their ways through a very difficult and dark period.

Some helpful hints to lovingly support someone are:

  • to listen while making the person feel un-threatened.
  • Show them with words and actions that they can trust you.
  • Let them know that you are available.
  • Use your positive energy and retain inner hope that change can occur.
  •  Just because they don’t believe they can get through this doesn’t mean that you have to agree with their point of view.

Here are some words to say that will show your loving support, while also allowing the person to feel and understand what they are feeling:

“You are important to me even when you are feeling down.”
People who are feeling hopeless often think they are weak for feeling this way. They may believe they have a character flaw. Reassure your friend or loved one that you can understand why they might be thinking these types of thoughts, but in your eyes it isn’t true. Offer comfort as you speak from your heart and tell them that you know for a fact that depression or hopelessness isn’t caused by personal weakness, laziness, or because they have bad karma. This statement of compassionate truth validates their experience while also offering them another point of view. Their experience is a legitimate human experience.

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