“When Someone You Love is Depressed” – Book Review!

How to Help Your Loved Ones Without Losing Yourself.

By. Laura Epstein Rosen and Xavier Francisco Amador

It’s a fact – depression can creep into anyone’s life very slowly without them being aware and where every task is an effort; work is stressful, loss of sex drive, difficulty communicating and along with a partner complaining of what they see as your lack of interest laziness and bad attitude.

When someone you love starts to present themselves to you in a way that is out of character, different and difficult, you start to worry become scared and very lonely.
These are all quite normal reactions.

helping loved one depression


For the person who is depressed and the non-depressed person – all are affected by this depression who are within your circle.
For the person not depressed, they may spend too much time caring for their loved one, that they become blind to the ways it is affecting them.

This book tells you to honor your own feelings and thoughts before you talk and tend to your loved one.

Without doubt someone else’s depression can have a dramatic effect on you.

It’s important that you recognize the benefits of observing your own feelings and recognize feelings of frustration, resentment, anger and worry and know they are all quite normal.

Through out this book Laura and Xavier teach you to recognize the various ways you are affected by someone else’s depression.
It teaches you the cause of depression and how to recognize if someone you love is depressed and what exactly is ‘depression’, plus it’s many faces.

For a relationship to survive it is going to be important to think about yourself rather than solely the depressed person.

It is a fact worth remembering that people who live with depressed persons are more prone to depression themselves and have a higher risk for other emotional problems such as phobias and anxiety.

Once recognizing ways you are affected you will be given step-by-step guidelines to deal with your reactions to be a skilled helper, get along better with the depressed person, and increase your sense of hopefulness.

In helping you understand what you are dealing with the book starts by giving you an understanding in how depression can affect you and your relationship.

This book opens up the idea regarding professionals that many relationships have failed due to un-diagnosed depression, of peoples lack of understanding of the subject matter, and the impact it has on both parties.

Relationships of depressed people go through what is called the “stages of adaptation to the depression”.

The chapters go on to teach you how to alter your passage through these stages, to improve your adaptation and your response to the depression.

how to help people with anxiety and depression

In the first chapter, you will find described the most common affects of depression on relationships. Also a brief review on new research ending the chapter with an important description of the four “stages of adaptation to the depression” (SAD).

Explaining SAD is best done word-for-word as described in the book for the clearest explanation:

“Just as children pass through milestones such as crawling and walking so do relationships pass through stages in their response to depression. Like the child’s development stages the SAD can occur at different times for different relationships, with the stages not always distinct and isolated from one another. Behaviors characteristic of a previous stage can persist into the next, just as a toddler who has learned to walk continues to crawl at times. Sometimes one can regress to an earlier stage. But the stages do progress in essentially the same sequence. At each level, decisions need to be made that can influence the course of the depression and it’s effect on your relationship with the depressed person”.

There are four stages.

2. Reaction
3. Information Gathering
4. Problem Solving.

Discovering what stage you are at helps you communicate more effectively and build on approaching your relationship in a more constructive way.

SAD is used and mentioned often throughout the book as a guideline to help you interact with each other in a healthier way whilst identifying the appropriate treatment you will need.

You are taught eight guidelines to help both you and a depressed loved one:
1. Learn all that you can.
2. Have realistic expectations.
3. Give unqualified support.
4. Keep your routine.
5. Express your feelings.
6. Don’t take it personally.
7. Ask for help.
8. Work as a team.

These guidelines will be most helpful during the Information and Problem Solving stages.

By remembering these guidelines and the SAD you will be able to influence your trip through these stages.

The idea behind this book is that you learn all that you can learn about depression and it’s treatment; how to have realistic expectations about what you and the depressed person can do about the depression, and how to give and ask for unqualified support.
But importantly how to work as a team against the depression.

Real-life subjects of depression are discussed in order to give a key understanding of the effects and circumstances created by depression in the lives of individuals.


how to help someone in depression

  • PROS:
    This book highlights clearly how if undiagnosed, whether you are the depressed individual or the non depressed person, how relationships can fail with depression at the core.
  • Important emphasis is placed on how easy it can be to fall into depression yourself as the non depressive person if situations and communication are not managed.
  • The real life cases are helpful in recognizing different ways that depression can creep up on you and your relationships.
  • Being told it’s ok to be frustrated, angry, resentful, lonely, confused and many other emotions, is incredibly freeing for those that are not the depressed person.
  • CONS:
    The book is taken in part, more from a psychologists point of view.
  • Can be repetitive in parts along with not being overly user friendly.
  • More ideas are needed on ways to protect yourself against catching the “contagious depression”.
  • Not necessarily a book you need to read from front to back. Just pick out the main chapters for targeted information.
  • Only good if you have a partner who is NOT resistant to the idea they have depression and needing help. (But there is guidance in how to persuade your partner to seek help).
  • Needs more up to date information on treatments now available as written in 1997

how to help someone in depression


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