If someone close to you is struggling with anxiety and depression, then you understand how difficult it can be to watch a loved one suffer alone and not know how to comfort them. Their emotional highs and lows are like turbulent waters and it can be challenging navigating those emotional currents, which is why it is so vital that you have the right knowledge and tools to help comfort and support them when their emotions get swept away by the onslaught of depression and anxiety.
I feel it is important to note here that it is impossible to change someone else. You can only change the way you may personally react or handle certain situations, so with that being said, here are a few guidelines to help to offer your loved one support and encouragement.
Anxiety and depression are not the same as your everyday moods and feelings. A person struggling with a mental health issue often feels alone, broken, and misunderstood, so trying to compare what they are going through to your own experiences may not be helpful (unless of course, you struggle with anxiety and depression yourself). Sometimes just feeling heard can make all the difference.
Educating yourself about anxiety and depression may help you to better understand what your loved one may be experiencing. This knowledge can also help you recognize the warning signs and how best to deal with them.
Lend a hand
Offering a hand with everyday responsibilities may help alleviate the stress that the person may be experiencing. Sometimes just letting them know that you are there to help is enough, but be careful of taking over, or fostering a dependent situation.
It is normal to feel helpless and frustrated when dealing with a loved one with anxiety and/or depression, but remember that if they could be healthy, they would, so try not to show your impatience or annoyance as it will most likely exacerbate their feelings of guilt and shame, resulting in them shutting you out even more. Rather try and show compassion and offer words of encouragement and support.
Take care of yourself
It can be rather overwhelming to support a loved one through anxiety and depression. Remember to remain practical about their condition and try not to get too emotionally caught up in the situation. You need to take steps and do things for yourself, to keep yourself in a good state of health and mind so that you do not get too overwhelmed.
Keep an eye on them
If you see their symptoms deteriorate to the point of self-harm, or if you sense that the person is a danger to themselves then it is best to seek professional attention.
Encourage them to get help
Offer to support your loved one on their journey in whichever way they feel comfortable with. Whether by attending group sessions with them, or researching what therapy is accessible and helping them set it up.
The good news is that anxiety and depression can be overcome. Despite what many people are led to believe, with the correct guidance and through a series of reliable processes, it is absolutely possible to be free from anxiety and depression to finally live a calm, confident and happy life.
Above all, always be positive and let them know that there is a way out and that you believe in their chances of full recovery.
If you wish to learn more about how this is possible, and how others have overcome anxiety and depression, then click here for more information