I, like most people in the UK, suffer from a range of mental health disorders that affect my daily life.
Whether it’s getting up in the morning for work or making important phones calls, I cannot help the way my brain is wired to deal and cope with these emotions, but I (and you) can help it!
I’m not asking for a magic man with a magic cure to come swooping down from the sky and fix my anxiety and depression. As I know these mental health issues are part of me, part of all of us, and so I must do what I can to minimise and address them instead of banishing them.
There will be those of you who ask: ‘Why can’t she make a phone call without shaking and stumbling over words?’ and ‘Why does she have to pull herself out of bed every morning?’ But if you don’t understand, NOW is the time to learn or at least talk to those who are suffering and support them.
But how exactly can you support someone with anxiety and depression? I’m here to tell you:
Just talk to them. It sounds patronising and maybe out-right stupid, but simply asking how they’re feeling over a cup of tea or even text, if you’re more comfortable with that, could improve their day! Maybe it’s just me but if someone asks me how I’m feeling I usually tell them exactly how it is, particularly with close friends and family. (I understand that for some people this isn’t easy but knowing someone cares about you and your emotions can really help!)
Encourage them to push boundaries but DON’T push them too far. Having someone around you who understands how anxiety and depression can affect you day to day life but motivates you to try can be a good thing. This means as a friend of someone with a mental disorder you should help them to feel less anxious in small, simple way. For example, being next to them at the bar while they order drinks themselves will just give them that small confidence they need to do it successfully!
Do some research. Nowadays it’s not too hard to find advice and tips on how you help a friend struggling with mental health – I mean you’re here reading this blog right now! We’re not expecting you to be mental health experts but just understanding our symptoms and how you can help those goes a long way.
Don’t feel guilty! If you are not suffering with mental health issues yourself you may find it difficult to manage the feelings of your friends so don’t feel guilty when they have a bad day! We all have them and there’s not much we or you can do to stop them.
As someone with experiences mental health issues and with loved ones who don’t particularly understand, this is extremely important to me!
Please let me know what you think below.
[All the advice given is only from my experiences, feel free to leave your own tips below!]