The support of our loved ones matters the most when we’re dealing with any kind of mental illness – anxiety, clinical depression, or some kind of disorder. Helping your loved ones, family members or friends deal with clinical depression or anxiety can be challenging at times. But, sometimes, we get overwhelmed with simply the idea of it because of the stigma associated with mental illness.
Don’t lose heart. You’re doing a beautiful thing there – being there for your loved ones. Here are few tips that might help you be a better support to your loved ones with mental illness.
Friendship With Clinical Depression Or Anxiety – How to Do It Right?
1. Educate Yourself About Their Condition
The stigma associated with mental illness mostly comes from the lack of awareness in people about it. If a family member or friend has recently been diagnosed with major depression or anxiety, try to understand these conditions instead of sticking to the absurd concepts you might’ve come across.
2. Don’t Let Go of Them
It’s the most important step in becoming a good friend to someone with clinical depression or anxiety – don’t let go of them.
There will be times when they’ll want to be alone. Respect their choice, but don’t assume they want to be left alone forever. Don’t stop including them in your plans. Don’t stop inviting them to your parties. There will be times when they won’t want to be a part of anything, but that doesn’t mean they want you to completely isolate them.
3. Be A Good Listener
If they want to talk about how they’re feeling, be an empathetic listener.
4. Never, Ever, Ever, Tell Them To Snap Out of It
People have a tendency of not taking people with depression or anxiety seriously. Don’t just assume they’re only stressed out. Telling them to go out on a walk or getting busy also won’t help.
It’s good to be a positive influence in someone’s life, but don’t assume that people with depression or anxiety are negative and can be healed by only distracting themselves or thinking about something nice. Telling someone with clinical depression or anxiety to ‘just snap out of it’ is not a smart move at all.
People with depression or anxiety don’t always have a reason to feel that way. Don’t try to make them feel guilty about having these conditions.
5. Talk To Them About Getting Help
That’s the real smart move. Encourage your friends or family members about getting professional help. Help them find a good mental health professional and try to support them as they go through their treatment. Don’t force anything but try to inform them know that there’s nothing wrong with getting professional help for a mental illness.
6. Don’t Hate Them For Being Suicidal
If they tell you they are suicidal or show any symptom of being suicidal, don’t ignore it. Here, we come back to being a good listener – make them feel like they can talk to you about their feelings without getting judged harshly.
If they’re saying they’re suicidal, don’t tell them how wrong it is morally or religiously. Don’t tell them they’re being cowards or selfish. Keep your judgements aside and be kind instead. Tell them about suicide helplines and encourage them to get professional help. Educate yourself about having a conversation with a suicidal person.
7. Don’t Ignore Self-Care
Be kinder to yourself. Sometimes, taking care of someone with anxiety or clinical depression can draining. Be mindful of the way it’s affecting you.
Here are few things to consider about self-care while taking care of a friend or family member with depression:
- Don’t feel guilty for not always being able to be there. There will be times when you won’t be able to be with them. Do take their emergencies seriously, but acknowledge your own limitations as well.
- Don’t ignore your own mental and physical well-being.
- Don’t give up on your own life. There are things you won’t be able to control about your friend’s mental illness – don’t feel guilty for having a life of your own. Do the things that make you feel good and take out time for self-care.
- Don’t be ashamed to ask for support. There will be times when you’ll feel overwhelmed or stressed out – find the support of loved ones and discuss your feelings. If needed, do look for professional help.
There will probably be times when you’ll notice that a loved one with clinical depression or any kind of mental illness being negative and rude to you. It can be really upsetting but consider these things while dealing with this situation:
- Psychiatrists and therapists exist because it’s hard dealing with mental illnesses on our own. If your friend or family member is dealing with depression on their own, it won’t be a surprise if the struggle takes its toll on them.
- Try to communicate with them calmly about how blaming or lashing out on you will only create an unhealthy cycle of bitterness between you two.
- Is this behavior only a call of help? It’s not always simple to ask for help when you’re dealing with depression or/and anxiety directly.
- Maybe they’re tired of the stigma associated with their condition and the way they get misunderstood because of it.
We hope these tips prove to be helpful for you. Would you like to add something to this list? Let us know in the comments.