The discussion on mental health is an important one to take with your loved ones, especially after their personality takes a sudden shift and they’ve been clinically diagnosed.
I have to be clear though, that I am not a medical professional, just a regular ol’ person trying my best to help someone very dear to me cope with the ups and downs of their condition. I hope though that my insight won’t come across as preachy, and that you can actually apply it to your situation.
First off, you cannot ‘cure’ somebody of depression. As sudden as it comes, there’s no sure fire way to make it go. It’s the reality we have to live with for now, until somebody invents medication that can shoo depression away like it can with bacteria.
While there is medication that can ease certain symptoms of depression, what I really would recommend is keeping an open line with your loved one. Assure them they can reach you at any time, as draining as that might sound. But I will be honest with you, the call that you get in the middle of the night with them crying on the other end has had me in tears myself, for fear of what they might do if I got there too late. This is why it’s important to engage their family, or anybody in their immediate circle that you both trust.
I can’t stress to you enough how important it is that they see a specialist every now and then; I have seen the pitfalls and dangers of trying to self-medicate (more often than not alcohol will be involved) and to avoid that pain altogether, it’s better to head to a doctor. Find one that takes the time to listen to your concerns, and will keep in contact with you both frequently.
Don’t ever, ever tell your loved one to ‘Snap out of it’ when they’re so depressed they can barely move. It’s not like in the movies at all where a visit from somebody or an inspirational talk will magically lift them out their mood; the reality is that depression is debilitating, to the point where they don’t even want to engage in basic self-care like taking a shower or having a shave.
On the really bad days, even a whole day of pep talk won’t amount to anything. I just made sure I was in constant sight of my loved one, and to make them feel they aren’t alone.
Remember: the both of you cannot tackle this yourselves; because there will be days that you, as the one looking after your loved one, will feel drained.
Don’t feel guilty about this; after all, we still have lives to live. This is the lesson I taught myself when I found out my loved one had self-harmed, or refused to take their medication, or had acted out. Don’t focus on the one negative thing that happened out of all the positives that you’ve accomplished.