Watching someone they love experience depression or suicidal thoughts can weigh heavily on support people such as family, friends and partners. Often, support people do not know what to do or say to help. This can lead to either the support person doing nothing out of fear of making the situation worse, or the support person actually making the situation worse by doing or saying something that is not helpful. I have created this list of things I find helpful during my depressive episodes. These might not be the best suggestions for everyone and the best advice I can give is to be direct and communicate with the person. Ask straight out “Are you suicidal?” “How can I be helpful to you?” “Is there anything I can do to help you feel better?”. Unfortunately, you might run into a brick wall here because often my answer is a resounding “No.” Just try to be gentle and remember even if it seems like it doesn’t, small things help and do matter.
When feeling depressed or suicidal small tasks can seem impossible. Clean a room, do some dishes, or put fresh sheets on their bed. Having something they are typically responsible for done for them can be a huge weight off their shoulders.
Getting some time in nature can have a big impact on their mood. It may take some convincing, but see if you can get them to go for a walk or sit outside for a bit. If nothing else, open some windows and let the fresh air in.
When I am feeling my worst I quickly get into some awful eating habits. There’s a joke about depression meals, a handful of cheerios, microwaved whatever, or earlier this week’s cold left overs. For me, anything fast and easy is the go to. Try bringing some fresh fruit or their favorite salad. Or if you’re a chef, cook them something health.
Make a Bath
The nicest thing anyone has ever done for me when I was feeling depressed is make me a bath. It can be difficult to keep healthy hygiene habits when feeling this way and not only does a bath get them clean, it can be very relaxing. Throw in some essential oils for aromatherapy and put a towel in the dryer so they aren’t cold when they come out.
Contrary to popular belief, you can be suicidal and simultaneously enjoy a good chuckle. Look up whatever videos will make them giggle on youtube, put on a comedy movie or try some stand up. You might even make some of those good-good neurochemically thingies.
Pour two cups of tea, coffee, mik, soup, whiskey, ice cream, whatever you fancy and lend your ear. Don’t judge, don’t give advice, don’t spew toxic positivity. Just listen.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you when you’re depressed or suicidal?