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4. Speak in normal, modulated tones. Avoid an overly-'compassionate' look of concern or a patronizing tone of voice. If they have trouble making a decision or remembering something, keep your eyes from looking overly concerned or worried. This will only add to their worry and confusion.
5. Just be with them. Don't hover, try to cheer them up, argue, try to 'get a rise out of them,' or ask them 'talk about it.' Cognitive processes are slowed, and emotionally, they're in conflict. Under those circumstances, it's difficult to talk. It's hard to connect with people, even best-beloved ones, when you're clinically depressed--hard to maintain eye-contact and to follow long sentences and thoughts. A metaphor I use is play lacrosse with them, don't face off with them on football line. Be 'around' them, not 'in their face.' 6. Don't put them in a position that would arouse emotions. Celebrations, holidays, receiving gifts, or a long discourse on foreign policy all require a level of involvement depressed person is not capable of.
7. Be grounded and stay centered yourself. Remind yourself of your love for them that will endure "even this."
8. When person begins to heal is a wonderful time for them to have a coach.
Susan Dunn is a personal and professional life coach, and author of the hot new ebook "Secrets to Marketing Prof. Services Online (on her web). Email her for FREE ezine, 100% FREE.