Depression is something that many of us have never faced before, but chances are, that we have loved ones that struggle with periods of depression. It can be very confusing for the individual experiencing depression, and equally confusing for their friends and loved ones. It doesn’t make sense to a lot of people why our loved ones are experiencing depression. Often we try to find ways to help, thinking that we can help pull them back to being normal, but our best efforts seem to be unhelpful. Not only do our efforts not help, but many times make the situation worse. At this point, many of us give up and may even try to avoid the individual.
Instead of giving up on our loved ones, we should seek to understand depression and learn practical ways we can help, or at least avoid worsening the situation. We all may not be a psychologist or licensed counselors. Never the less anybody that gives advice is acting in some capacity as a counselor. The question is are we helping or hurting with the interaction that we have with people struggling with depression. That is why I am thankful for many of the high-quality books about depression that give practical ways that we can help our loved ones.
One such book is “How to Help Your Loved One Overcome Depression: A fast and simple system to relieve distress,” by Dr. Nicola Ridgeway and Dr. James Manning. This book may be small and only have 155 pages, but it is packed full of helpful information about things to avoid and things that we can do to help our loved ones. They give 8 traps that we fall into when trying to help those that we love.
Traps to avoid:
Providing Solutions or Advice
Disapproving of our loved one’s low mood.
Avoiding our loved one’s low mood.
Criticizing our loved one for experiencing depressions
In the conclusion they give us some things to do instead of these 8 traps.
The book is written in the form of a conversation between different individuals and a therapist. The conversation is from the viewpoint of many different people. Sometimes the conversation is from the viewpoint of a husband, partner, mother, and father; but we could also replace each person as a loving friend. This style of writing is helpful to get us to think about the way that we interact with those struggling with depression. We will easily see that many of the things that we do wanting to help are only helping to make things worse.
“When someone close to us is suffering with depression we can engage in behaviors which, despite our most positive intentions, can end up with us making the situation worse.” pg. 24
Each of the traps is divided into chapters and starts with a statement of what the trap is and then goes into a conversation that exposes the ways we fall into each trap. At the end of each chapter, a summary of what we have learned is given with an explanation of the negative impacts of each trap.
In the conclusion, we find some helpful alternatives that we can do instead of falling into the unhelpful traps which they have identified. One of the keys to helping our loved ones in their depression that the authors pointed out is we have to know how to deal with our feelings about the situation.
“If we learn how to respond well to our own feelings, we can help our loved one respond well to theirs” pg. 119
This book is full of practical help like this. If you are looking for an in-depth book on depression. What causes it and how to counsel those with depression; then this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a book, that will give you practical ways to help your loved ones and reinforce the positive steps they are making through counseling; then this is the book that will help you do that.
If you are interested in reading this book, you can click the links below. These authors have also written two other books that you might find interesting. “Think about your thinking to stop depression: A fast simple system to relieve depression” by Dr. Nicola Ridgeway and Dr. James Manning. “Think about your thinking - Cognitive Behavior Therapy Programme for Depression” by Dr. Nicola Ridgeway and Dr. James Manning. I have also provided links to both of these books below.