Having someone around you going through a mental illness can be just as hard for those who are suffering. Not knowing what to do and not knowing what to say. It can be very difficult and not knowing what to do can make things worse for those who are having a difficult time. So I thought I would share a few things which you can do to help.
Being patient has got to be one of the biggest things you can do to help support those going through a mental illness whether this is mild depression or them being at crisis point. Being someone who suffers with mental health having friends and family around me who are patient makes a huge difference as sometimes we can be a little bit snappy or distant. This is not something we choose to be like it is just hard for us to understand why we are the way we are. So just be patient with your loved ones.
When they are ready to open up let them get what they want off their chest, don’t interrupt them! This can forget what they was opening up about or can discourage them from opening up as they can feel as though you don’t want to hear what they have got to say. The most important thing is just listen, as they will just want to get some thing off their chest.
This leads me nicely onto the next point. When they are opening up a lot of the time they just need some reassurance that everything is going to be ok… or just let them know that it is ‘okay to not be okay’! Life can be difficult and knowing that they are not alone is very important. When dealing with a mental illness whether this is depression or anxiety etc, they can feel very isolated and alone. Just send them some reassurance from time to time, you will be surprised the difference this can make.
Most of those suffering with mental health with feel as though they are being judged this is due to the stigma which surrounds mental health! By judging this person you can push them further down the dark path which they can be on when dealing with such a horrible illness. I know that there is a lot of difficulty which comes with this illness as you never know what is going on as it is an invisible illness.
Ask How They Are
You don’t need to ask how they are every minute of every day but just checking in from time to time whether this is daily or every few days. This helps with them knowing that they are not alone and that they are cared about. Remember that people suffering can feel like such a burden to people and by asking how they are and actually meaning it can show that you want to actually speak to them and not just ‘putting up with them’. Asking how someone is whether they have a mental illness or not, just shows people who you care about how they are.
Never Tell Someone To ‘Snap Out Of It’
This is one of my biggest struggles… when someone says snap out of it, you can feel as though people think you choose to be this way and we all know this is not something we want to go through. If we had the choice we would be ‘normal’… whatever normal is! This is one of the most patronising thing to ever say to someone. If only it was that simple… recovery is a long process and can take months, even years!
Don’t Take It Personal
If someone is suffering and have gone quiet or are snapping at you… don’t take it personal! It may be that they are needing some space or struggling with getting their head around their illness. Don’t ever think that everything is directed at you. This illness can strip someone of their identify and become someone you don’t even recognise. It can even make the person suffering not even know who they are, Please do not take their actions personally and just tried to listen.
Hug It Out
You will be surprised the difference a hug can make. Sometimes a huge can make them feel wanted and feel as though they are not going through this alone. I for sure love a good hug, it can help me get out the tears I’ve been holding back or just make me realise that I am actually loved.
Never Ask ‘Why?’
A lot of us suffering with mental health don’t know the full reasons as to why we do suffer. So asking ‘Why?’ can cause us a lot more distress and pain, this can be hard for us to know. A lot of time we have no idea what we are going through ourselves so trying to explain to someone else can be a lot harder than actually just trying to carry on.
Don’t Give Up
The biggest and most important piece of advise to give anyone who is going through this illness is to never give up on them. We give up on ourselves all the time, so for our loved ones to give up would be the final straw. Mental health can stripped people of their self-care goes out of the window. The first thing we can all agree on would be that the first thing that comes with the illness is loosing all care for ourselves. We feel worthless and a burden!
Is there anything else you would recommend doing to help those suffering? Leave a comment and let us know.