HELPING A LOVED ONE

"If I lay here, if I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world"​​
   Chasing cars, by Snow Patrol      


   
Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by things you feel you cant make it through the day?  This is how someone with anxiety and depression feels EVERY DAY ALL day. Just because you cant see someone’s depression, it does not mean it is not there, it is, ALL the time.

Helping someone who is going through or trying to recover from anxiety and depression is hard, and most of the time we know this. As this is not a physical illness and people cannot see what is going on, some people find it even harder to relate to and deal with. People are scared to damage or set the person back even further – but the truth of the matter is, it is worse when things are over thought or kept from us to protect us.  A lot of things that help are so small and take no time to do, equally however, the slightest comment can also set the person back.  It is a very hard balance to meet. 

Sometimes people around the person can feel it is their fault, anger or fear.  The most helpful thing to help the person is to learn about depression and anxiety.  The more you know the more you can help.  I had one friend that totally read up on the subject and as a result she acted as my rock throughout the whole experience.  Even if I did not hear from her for a while I still knew she was there if I needed her.

It can take a person a long time to realize what they are going through and sometimes a friend spots it first (this was the case with me but she did not know what to do about it).  Is you do suspect something is wrong, you should try and get them to speak about it, although most of the time the person will be reluctant to do so as they do not realize what is going on.  It is also good to find someone else you can talk to about it, a family member, teacher etc so you do not feel alone dealing with it or feel it is your responsibility.  By taking it on on your own you can risk your own well being.  Your friend needs to know they can trust you but you need to explain you need to speak to someone else aswell so you are not supporting them on your own.  The things you need to discuss are:

WHAT information they would like you to pass on so they don’t feel you are going to relay everything they have told you.
WHO they would / you think should know
HOW you are going to tell them.  Will you do it or will your friend.

Most of the time we want to wait to speak to our friend before we share with another person, but sometimes the issue can be much more serious. For example if the person is self harming, has suicidal thoughts, not eating, not looking after themselves or being bullied / abused.

Anxiety and depression effects every aspect of the persons life.  It shapes their lives.  If they snap at you, do not take it personally, it is their illness speaking.   It is a frightening experience which controls their life and stops them doing things even if they want to.  It is not always freaking out externally but a lot is internal, it can be silent and unheard but the person is feeling it all inside, which can result in a big outburst.

We can swap and wear masks to hide our anxiety and depression – a bit like a chameleon.  Sometimes just the thought of anxiety can trigger it.  But by hiding it can result in an emotional or physical outburst.

It is a nightmare to find the right treatment for each person.  Sometimes it may be medication, some times homeopathy, sometimes mindfulness, and sometimes having distraction tools.  Be patient, with them but support them in any little way you can.

I will discuss more of how to help someone in my blog.
    
What NOT to say