I have noticed that many of the people I love are having a hard time dealing with me whilst I go through this. When you are dealing with a mental health issue, other people can be overlooked and I guess I have not realised how hard it must be for them to go on this journey with me. I have put together a list of advice or helpful tips to try out if you ever find yourself struggling to help someone you love:
Try not to get angry
This is a major thing to avoid. It can be so frustrating being around this person and feeling as if your help is doing nothing but the worst thing you can do is get angry at them for it. If you lose your temper with them that person will feel worse. I know from experience when someone gets angry at me for not being able to get out of a low mood I feel so misunderstood and this makes me feel very alone and isolated with dealing with this. I also feel worse for affecting others around me and then I get into a cycle of negative thinking. It is a vicious cycle.
Let them know they are cared about
For me, I often think about whether people care or actually like me. I always think my family and friends don’t actually want me around when this is not true. Letting that person know they are loved and wanted is so easy and so effective. I received a text from my friend saying that she misses me after days of thinking she will forget about me and i instantly felt happier.
Talk to them
ask them how they are feeling and start to recognize a pattern. For example, I have noticed my texts are more blunt when I am unhappy so my boyfriend will ask if there is anything I want to talk about as he notices my texts are different. This may also apply with their body language and facial expressions, if they are more slumped or frowning there may be an issue they have going around their mind and asking or talking about this could help them greatly.
But be careful what you say
I think this is extremely important and I will do a separate post on this issue because there is too much to say. Just know they can’t ‘snap out of it’, ‘just smile’ or solve their issues instantly if you tell them to get out of it. They also cannot help their problem and are not selfish so please don’t even let this thought cross your mind.
Work with them
If that person is going through therapy, for example, ask them if they would like any help with activities they have to do at home. If you notice that person is having a down day ask them if they want to go and something fun together. Little things like that will help that person not feel so alone in dealing with their problems or may uplift them to know you are there for them.
Don’t run away
If you give up with the person because they are too much hard work they will feel 100 times worse. I know if someone gave up on me I would think ‘they don’t care… they don’t think I am worth their help… this must mean I am worthless’. You don’t want people thinking this kind of thing, even if you just want to give up and run away from them.
Don’t take anything personally
I often lash out at those close to me but I never mean what I say, I just can’t help it. Most of the time, it is the depression talking and not what that person actually thinks. I understand this may be the hardest thing to do as it is not easy to ignore some heart wrenching comments but just always be aware that that person may not be thinking rationally or mean the things they are saying. This is the same for anyone who says silly things when they are angry or upset.
Look after yourself
It is amazing you want to help and can be there for someone to help them but you have to be careful you do not get sucked into it yourself. Other peoples’ low moods can be draining on your mood so make sure you stay happy and don’t let too much of it affect you.
Overall, I would say just be there for that person. Without love and support from other people no one would be able to cope, never mind people suffering with a mental health condition. I hope this helps and if anyone needs to talk or is struggling to help someone in a similar position, send me and email at firstname.lastname@example.org.