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Empathize with their emotional pain—even if you have to guess at what it might be.Let them know you are there to listen and understand for as long as it takes, and you aren’t taking no for an answer.
Then they use whatever they are addicted to and it boosts their mood.Of course if you aren’t trustworthy—if you judge them, or talk to others about what they tell you, or interrupt, get impatient, or misunderstand them, then it is better for them to talk to someone who can really listen without any of this.Being a reliable, trustworthy, patient, nonjudgmental listener is the best thing you can do in most cases with someone who is depressed. People who are depressed but act like they are fine may not confide in anyone. Occasionally people who can do this end up killing themselves, and no one can believe it.
How can anyone who hasn’t experienced it understand the complexity of pain that is not only unbearably intense itself but also complicated by many painful factors like the stigma of mental illness and the confusion of the fact that unlike other illnesses, depression causes behavior changes.