5 Ways My Loved Ones Have Helped Me Through Depression and Anxiety
As someone who personally struggles with clinical depression and a severe anxiety disorder, I’ve compiled a list of things other people did that have helped me. Some of these things may seem minor to you, but they can dramatically affect a person’s mental and psychological well-being.
1. Remember, someone living with depression can’t control their feelings.
They cannot just “snap out of it.” Treat depression the way you would a serious physical illness. People who are depressed can’t help it, and they don’t want to feel the way they do. You wouldn’t tell a person with cancer they just needed to “cheer up,” would you? Don’t say this to someone who is dealing with depression and/or anxiety. It’s unhelpful, and it usually makes the person feel worse. More often than not, they desperately wish they weren’t plagued with depression.
2. Encourage them to seek help, but don’t force it.
While I eventually did seek help, it was a decision I had to make myself. It took a while, but you can’t force someone to speak to a counselor or a psychologist. That being said, seeing a psychologist was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in regards to my mental health. My psychologist is fantastic, and with her, I’ve made leaps and bounds. It also helps that she has a “therapy cat,” which is incredibly comforting to play with when you need to discuss rather difficult issues.
3. Listen, understand and empathize.
Not everyone has a “reason” for their depression. Sometimes they can’t tell you why they feel the way they do, but that doesn’t make their feelings any less valid.
4. Be there for them.
One of the biggest fears a depressed person has is everyone will abandon them. While no one can expect you to always be there for another person, make sure the person knows you care about them.
5. Don’t judge them.
If they need medication, therapy (or both), support them. Don’t judge why they aren’t getting better, or put them on a timeline. You wouldn’t expect someone with a broken leg and arm to be up and walking in a week’s time. Some people need to heal in their own way, in their own time. Please, respect that.
If you feel uncomfortable speaking to friends or family, please contact (in Australia):
Lifeline: 13 11 14, Kid’s Helpline: 1800 55 1800, Men’s Helpline: 1300 78 99 78. Alternatively, if you have any follow up questions, please contact me via my Facebook page or email me at [email protected]