When someone you know has depression.

BY SUSAN J. NOONAN

MY COMMENTARY 

I read this book a couple of years ago when I discovered a close friend of mine was suffering from depression. It made me realize I was doing everything wrong. There was a list on the back page of things not to do or say; I did every single one of them! It taught me something incredibly important, which is to not assume you have the answers just because you don’t have that issue. That’s the epitome of ignorance, and that’s what I learned by reading this book; how ignorant of a friend I was despite my genuine attempt to help. 

 

I hope this book brings encouragement and insight to those struggling and witnessing the effects of depression.

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[They] may believe that her current state is normal, and forget what they were like before the depression episode. 

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Mood disorders are considered among the most disabling of all medical conditions... Don’t be disheartened. Depression is treatable and the symptoms can be managed. 

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[Their] perception of the world becomes wildly inaccurate.

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Choosing a treatment plan for depression is complex and takes great effort.

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These automatic negative thoughts are extreme distortions in thinking and overwhelm a person’s reasoning. 

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One long-held view is that depression disrupts chemicals called neurotransmitters that regulate emotions and behavior which can happen when certain life events occur in a susceptible person.

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Depression is different from grief, which has a focus; a beginning and an end. 

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BLOCKS TO EFFECTIVE LISTENING:

  1. Making assumptions without facts

  2. Mind reading

  3. Filtering what they’re saying (not addressing certain parts)

  4. Judging

  5. Changing the subject to yourself or another topic

  6. Comparing their experience to yours

  7. Identifying (to your personal experience)

  8. Rehearsing (focusing on what you’re going to say)

  9. Giving advice

  10. Sparring, put-downs, sarcasm, debating

  11. Needing to be right

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Realistic optimism is a reasonable view of the future that involves hope and the confidence that things will turn out well, with enough hard work and determination.

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There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great and no tonic so powerful as the expectation of something better tomorrow 

- ORISON SWETT MARDEN

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Empty hours of unscheduled alone time frequently worsen the symptoms of depression.

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Use your understanding of the illness to cope, not to excuse unacceptable behavior. 

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Regular exercise is often quite helpful in reversing the symptoms of fatigue.

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Having resilience means that your loved one learns effective ways of thinking and responding during difficult situations. Resilience involves having adaptive behaviors and coping skills such as problem-solving, managing stress, facing fears, mastering challenges, regulating emotions, and learning the consequences of behavior.

The above are just the most notable points of a much more extensive archive of notes. I would highly recommend reading the whole book if this topic is relevant to your life. 

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Maybe you desire to escape the situation entirely. This can make you think you are selfish and unloving, which is certainly not true. If you find yourself in a difficult situation, you may need to take a break to take care of yourself.