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Living with a Depressed Roommate, What to do

Living with a stranger can be very challenging at first. There will be a lot of natural frictions to deal with in shared living arrangements. It requires more than diplomacy and effort to work things out. The immediate things you will have to deal with are sharing the refrigerator space, showing respect for privacy, negotiating on noise levels and making timely utility and rent payments. The situation will be more challenging if your new roommate has depression.

What is depression?

Depression is a treatable medical condition. Although everyone experiences despair, lack of energy, or sadness occasionally, depression goes beyond the occasional ‘blues’. It is linked to problems with the brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters which include norepinephrine and serotonin. The neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that travel from one brain cell to another to disseminate signals that affect mood regulation.

People with clinical depression have low levels of these chemicals. This causes their mood to be uncontrollably disordered. Their behavior may strain their relationships with other people. Depressed persons are often sad, sullen, lethargic, and irritable and can also be abusive at times. They may also cry uncontrollably with little provocation and lash out. Depressed persons may also eat too much or too little, struggle to sleep or sleep a lot.

It is good to note that your roommate is just depressed and not being mean. They are incapable of behaving in a manner an ideal roommate would. So what do you do if you end up with a depressed roommate in apartments near York University?

Encourage them to seek treatment

The first things you need to do are encourage them to get treatment, discourage the harmful behaviors and keep an eye on signs of suicidal thoughts. A roommate that appears to be regularly anxious, indecisive, confused, irritable, sad or restless is probably depressed. Instead of condemning their behavior, encourage them to seek treatment. Depressed individuals often do not realize that they are depressed and will not admit their problem.

Depressed people deserve understanding, patience, and compassion. Psychotherapy and medication can help treat your roommate. If you are unable to convince them to get treatment, contact their trusted family members who can convince them to seek treatment.

Don’t take your roommate’s behavior personally

You need to be understanding. Your roommate’s antisocial behavior is out of his/her control. They are not disrespecting you intentionally when they fail to respect your wishes.

Do not permit harmful behavior

Depressed people, more so men, often turn to alcohol or drugs to feel better. Alcohol and drugs only worsen things. Consider abstaining from drugs and alcohol while with your roommate and encourage them to abstain too. There are other fun activities you can propose instead of trips to the bar.

Take immediate action in an emergency

If your roommate starts having suicidal thoughts, you need to take action immediately. Never dismiss these threats. With depressed persons, these thoughts are often genuine signs of imminent suicide attempts.

Provided your depressed roommate gets treatment all that is needed from you is compassion, patience, and understanding. Be there for them.

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