It is very frustrating to watch a loved one cope with depression. One of the most difficult symptoms of depression is lack of motivation. It often keeps people from helping themselves and reaching out to others. The person prefers to not make an effort because making an effort takes so much energy. But someone who is depressed benefits from helping themselves and making an effort to overcome their symptoms.
In order to help your son, small steps are needed to help him get back on track. One thing you can do is lead by example. Start by being sure your son is eating well and caring for himself. If he is not, encourage him to do so. Gently ask him if he has showered, eaten at least one healthy meal that day and gotten some exercise. If he will not, ask him to accompany you to do so. Take him out to eat, ask him to go for a walk or take a spin around the mall.
Pitch in when you can to help. But don't do the chores for him. Ask him to help you. Even if he does a little, he is still doing something. Encourage other family members to help out too. Even if they only take your son for a drive, it is helping him get out and see the world.
Socially, your son may feel it is too much effort to cope with others and their interactions with him. The energy it takes to express himself, be interested in others and hold a conversation may feel overwhelming. You can help by suggesting he make time to be with his friend. Invite him to dinner with all of you. That way, your son can interact with him without having to hold the conversation. Then suggest they go somewhere together. A movie might be a good choice, or something that doesn't require too much interaction.
Try not to become discouraged. One of the biggest problems with being a caregiver is the burnout. You become stressed or even want to give up because it is so difficult to see progress. That is why you need support yourself. Besides having family and friends who can be there for you, consider support groups, either on line or in person for family members who cope with someone who has mental illness. People who are experiencing the same situation as you are can offer invaluable support, ideas and companionship to help you feel less stress. Here is a resource to help:
Also, your son may want to get involved with support for himself. Talking to others who experience the same issues can be invaluable to his recovery. Also, talking on line involves the computer, which he is already comfortable with. And with on line support, he can participate socially without having to exert the effort of a face to face interaction, giving him a chance to develop social interactions and skills he can then expand into real life. Here are resources to help you get him started:
I hope this helps you and your son,