Navigating Depression in Relationships: How to Help A Loved One?

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Navigating Depression in Relationships

Did you know that around 3.8% of the population experiences depression? According to WHO, among adults, the rates are even higher, affecting 5% of the population (4% of men and 6% of women). Depression is also 50% more common among women than men. 

Over 10% of pregnant and postpartum women worldwide experience depression. Suicide is a real risk with depression, with more than 700,000 people dying every year due to suicide.

Do you know someone going through a tough time? Are they feeling overwhelmed by depression or emotional distress? Are you struggling to support them through their difficult times? It’s not easy to know what to do or how to help. 

By understanding this common mental health condition and the resources available for treatment, you can make a real difference in someone’s life. The key is to be patient, empathetic, and informed. 

About Prasad Rangnekar

Prasad Rangnekar, E-RYT500, is a Yoga Educator based in India who has taught in over 15 countries for the past 27 years. He has been a student practitioner of Yoga for the last 37 years, studying both, in traditional lineages, as well as academically, with a Master’s degree in Philosophy. 

He is the Founder-Director of Yogaprasad Institute and conducts Yoga and Meditation Teacher training, mentorship sessions, retreats, and workshops to spread the wisdom of traditional Yoga in its traditional. 

Being a transformation guide using Yogic methods, he is regularly invited to speak at Indian Embassies, The European Commission, Yoga conventions, Schools, Corporate bodies, and Charity organizations. 

He has established multiple close-knit student communities and self-help groups globally and is engaged in various social initiatives, primarily through his ‘Women Yogis of India’ seminars that raise funds for women-focused charities. 

He also runs a free student resource Youtube channel that has over 350 videos with hundreds of hours of content.

How to Navigate Depression in Relationships?

This Chat on the Mat with Prasad Rangnekar will help you learn how to support your loved one and connect them with the help they need to feel better in their crisis. With his expert tips and advice, you’ll be able to navigate the challenge of helping someone with depression with confidence.

hellomyyoga:  Difficulties or traumas encountered during one’s childhood can profoundly influence one’s self-esteem, potentially leaving one more susceptible to depression in adulthood. How can we help them find a way to heal?

Prasad: Mental health issues are intricate and need to be handled in the context of the extent and nature of the issue. 

In general though, one can do the following,

  1. When we become a care-giver to someone going through a mental health crisis it becomes important that we manage our mental health to become a stable support for the one going through the crisis. This is a point that is usually missed out upon, and therefore I am mentioning it here. 
  2. Make sure that the one’s going through challenges know that you can approach them and talk openly. On your end, listen to them without judgment, empathize with them in such a way that you do not project your worries on them, and reassure them that they can get help and feel better. It’s important to let your friend know that you care about them and that they are important to you.
  3. Remember that building self-worth takes time and effort, but it is possible with the right support and resources. So, give them the emotional support they need and also encourage them to practice self-care. Help them identify their strengths, opportunities, positives, and accomplishments which will hold them in an innate sense of self-value. Most importantly, encourage them to talk to a professional counselor or therapist if needed.

hellomyyoga: Facing financial distress or becoming unemployed can produce a sense of humiliation and lead to them withdrawing from society. What can be done to provide that individual with the necessary support during this difficult period?

Prasad: When someone loses their job, it can be a difficult and stressful experience, especially considering their responsibility towards their family, etc. 

Here are some things you can do to help your friend:

  1. Allow them to communicate. Listen to them without judging them. It’s also important to avoid saying things that might make them feel worse, such as “It’s your fault” or “You’ll never find another job.” Instead, focus on being supportive and encouraging.
  2. Be patient and understanding about their circumstances and help them find resources for support.
  3. Encourage them to take care of themselves and not feel worthless or purposeless. Usually, in situations like these, it’s the self-worth that is compromised because many identify their self-worth with their salary, etc.
  4. Help them find new ways to define themselves beyond what they do for a living. Encourage them towards finding the simple joy of small things and make them realize that they have inherent talent, capability, and resources to feel productive again.

hellomyyoga: When facing a loved one who is struggling with a breakup or some other kind of emotional and mental distress, it can be challenging to know how to provide comfort. What approach can one take to deal with this?

Prasad: In the above situation, one must be careful to not project one’s judgments or worries onto the one going through challenges. Therefore, listen to them for what they have to say and let them know that you care about them. Don’t assume what they need. Try to respond to their needs rather than giving them what you assume they need. 

This can be done by asking them what they need or how they want to be supported. The one going through challenges needs a lot of support and reassurance when going through challenges, especially after break-ups or rejections. 

Secondly, give them space to talk or vent and just be a listener instead of a solution provider. Gauging their mood and inclination you can also do fun activities together, which will bring them in a joyful zone and remind them of their strengths and qualities.

hellomyyoga: People who struggle with any kind of addiction often face significant challenges when attempting to quit or reduce their consumption. This abrupt change can result in both mental and physical hardships. As a friend or loved one of someone experiencing this issue, how can we help them adjust, and offer support, understanding, and encouragement?

Prasad: When it comes to recovery, remember that everyone is different and may have different needs when recovering from addiction. The most important thing is to be there for them, listen to them, and let them know that you care about them. 

Encourage them to seek treatment and attend support groups. Most importantly, make them see the truth about themselves and make them assured that you are there for them. This is all that they seek at that time and this will also help them gain confidence in their ability to recover. 

On a better day, have fun with them and make them experience the lighter side of life, and bring back joy in their life.

hellomyyoga: If you’re concerned about a loved one who may require professional help, but are reluctant to seek it out because of stigma or embarrassment, what steps can be taken to encourage them?

Prasad: Mental health is still considered a taboo subject in many societies around the world. People with mental illnesses are often stigmatized and blamed for their condition. This can make it difficult for people to seek help and support when they need it. 

However, there is growing awareness about mental health issues and efforts are being made to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. It is important to educate ourselves about mental health issues and to be supportive of those who are struggling with mental health problems.

Here are some ways you can help someone who is embarrassed by their mental health issue:

  1. Listen to them and let them know that you care about them. Help them understand that mental health issues are common and nothing to be embarrassed about.
  2. Educate yourself about mental health issues. Mental health issues need to be dealt with empathically, because the one who doesn’t have a mental health issue may not even understand what one going through it feels like. Educating oneself helps one become more empathetic, considerate, and compassionate. 
  3. Be patient and supportive towards others and take care of your own self too.
  4. Encourage them to take care of themselves and help them find professional resources for support.

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