Days can be tough for some of us. This is why all of us want to support our loved ones and even show our care to strangers who are dealing with depression or anxiety. Sometimes, you feel that it’s not enough being an awesome friend because it can be difficult to know what the right words to say to someone who’s going through a rough time.
If you need help about this, take note first that every person is different, and although these tips we’ll share can be an effective guide when helping someone with anxiety or depression, it’s crucial that you talk with your friend about what they think they need and don’t immediately tell them that they must seek professional help.
Research and learn about what depression and anxiety are
Information about mental health is abundant everywhere nowadays. If you’re not completely sure about what depression is, and how you can help a loved one, the best step is to study more about it or whatever your friend is going through. Doing this will help you understand better what’s happening, why it’s happening, and how they feel.
Identify the symptoms of depression or anxiety
To know if our loved ones are going through a rough time, we must be aware of the symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, this can be confusing since it’s not easy to differentiate the daily challenges of life from mental health problems. Most of the time, these people will feel embarrassed and ashamed and get anxious about what people think and how they react to it.
It’s important to note that everyone who experiences depression or anxiety have different ways of displaying symptoms, but there are changes in the ways a person going through hard times acts that you can look out for. If you think that your friend is going through depression, here are some of the symptoms they may feel:
- cries a lot or get moody more often
- can’t sleep at night or sleep in a lot
- can’t perform responsibilities well in school, work, or other regular activities
- getting anti-social and cancels at the final minute
- loss of appetite or stress eating
- drink alcohol to forget problems
- take medications more than usual
- talk often about feeling tired, worthless, or empty
- always negative at almost everything, or feel hopeless
- they show and out less energy even into the things they love to do
If you think your friend is experiencing anxiety, here are the symptoms:
- too conscious with details, including wanting to perfect and organize things out thoroughly
- can’t decide all the time
- avoid hanging out with new people, places, and situations
- can’t follow a certain schedule or plans
- often distracted, disinterested, or scattered
- experience digestive problems
- have sleeping problems
- finds reassurance, about feelings and plans
- checking things triple times
Sometimes, a person wants someone to listen to them
Depressed people would typically keep their emotions to themselves since they don’t want to feel overwhelmed sharing their concerns about possible symptoms of depression. Sometimes, all you need to do is to compassionately listen to them. Remember, it’s not your responsibility to fix their problem, however, if you will be there and listen to your loved ones, it will help them feel that they’re important and understood.
If you don’t know what to say to them, you may use these phrases:
- I’m here to listen to you
- I’m with you in this
- I may not completely understand what you feel right now, but I’m here to help you
- You can always tell me what I can do to help you
Meanwhile, here are some phrases that you need to avoid:
- This will pass, it’s just a phase
- Every person feel this type of way sometimes
- You need to see the positive side, can’t you try?
- Get out of it
- Don’t think about it because it will worsen how you feel
- Try to remember all the fantastic things in your life
Most of the time, finding the perfect words to say to your friend will not help. It’s often enough to sit in silence and listen to the person.
Help them with their tasks or things they need to do
People with depression can see their everyday tasks as something they can’t do. So if you have a loved one who suffers from this, you may ask them how you can help them in small ways, or ask them if they can help you with something.
- Help them book and schedule appointments
- Ask them to shop for exercise equipment with you (and make them your gym buddy since exercise is beneficial for mental health
- Shop grocery and perform other tasks with them
- Hang out with them a few times a week
- Ask if they need help around the house
- Go out and watch movies or have dinner together
Determine when you need to respond
The danger of suicide can happen at all times throughout huge depressive episodes. A risk factor that’s hugely consistent is having a past history of suicide attempts, but a lot of completed suicides are not followed by unsuccessful attempts.
If you think that your family and friends are at risk of committing suicide, don’t leave them alone. Stay with your loved one always and if the worst happens, immediately call the emergency hotline.