How to Help a Loved One Weather a Depressive Storm

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We all know someone who has been down. 

When you get the call or arrive to see someone who is depressed it can feel overwhelming. You may want to help but you may not exactly know how. You may feel at a loss for words, unsure of what direction to take or feel downright helpless.  And as a therapist I have noticed that feeling helpless is one of the emotions that humans dislike most.

However, you can feel less helpless the next time your friend or relative turns to you when they are in the dumps.

The first thing is to remember that you can do a lot just by being with the person while they are feeling low, safe in the knowledge that “this too shall pass”.  Unfortunately, our brain systems can sometimes act like storm systems. The chemicals (or lack of them) will stir up trouble, cause some strain and stress, and then move on. It took me a long time to realize this myself but once I did it helped me lighten up during tough moments and let go of feeling like the “storm” would last forever.

This analogy has helped (me and) countless clients who are in the midst of feeling crappy. So grab your umbrella and rain boots and hang out with your loved one and do your best to keep these promises in mind.

I promise not to

  • Judge you for needing help
  • Help you wallow in the past or in the bad feelings
  • Make you feel bad for having bad feelings
  • Tell you that you are crazy


I promise to help you

  • Empower yourself when you are ready
  • Be with you if that’s all you need from me without trying to change a thing, or,
  • Look at what in your life needs to change if that’s what you need from me
  • Encourage you to get professional help if you need it
  • Help you make a plan toward what is possible for your life

Once a storm passes there is incredible opportunity for growth in life. Plants and trees are green and nurtured. The earth feels boundless and lush. And so it is with our stormy minds.  If you can help steer a loved one through a painful storm, often what is waiting on the other side is depth, understanding and boundless possibility.




Nicole C Weiss LCSW

Nicole WeissHow to Help a Loved One Weather a Depressive Storm

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