Here are 3 Ways Your Loved One Can Support You This Month by Alex Gierbolini
1. Show up
2. Say “I’m proud of you” using a calm tone and normal facial expression, even if they’re not sure what is going on with your situation
3. Be there for you without asking for anything in return (like food or money)
Now that it’s officially April, many people are breathing a collective sigh of relief because it means the end of winter, warmer weather (hopefully!), and spring break! If you’re lucky enough to be getting some time off this month, take advantage of it by giving yourself permission to do something nice for yourself. There will always be another deadline or stretch goal that needs attention next week or next month; give you permission to relax now. Spend time with friends, reconnect with yourself, and explore something new.
Take care of yourself!
By doing this, you’re taking the first step towards loving yourself just as much as others love you. Whether it’s your partner, friend, or family member that struggles with mental health issues, the support of loved ones can be crucial to their healing process explains Alex Gierbolini.
It’s important that those close to people with mental illness know how they can best support them so I’ve put together three tips for anyone who wants to support someone they love this month:
1. Show up – sometimes showing up is all someone needs.
This doesn’t mean this person has to speak or even stay long; they just need to be there for you during a difficult time and in a non-judgmental way. For those who may not have experience supporting a loved one with mental illness, this can sometimes feel like you’re walking on eggshells or being careful about what to say because your support should be unconditional. If you’re at a loss for words, just say “I’m here if you need me. I love you.”
2. Say “I’m proud of you” –
I know that when someone struggles with mental health it can take a lot of courage to do everyday tasks and anyone building themselves up from scratch deserves all the credit in the world! Even though their fear might overpower them, reaching out for help is hard enough as it is so make sure they know how strong and brave they are says Alex Gierbolini.
3. Be there for you without asking for anything in return –
Let your loved one knows that you’re there to listen, not solve. Sometimes the best thing a friend can do is just sit with you as you talk things out or cry or scream. If someone is struggling with depression, sometimes all they need is someone who will listen and remind them of why they’re important to those around them. So this month as it gets warmer and the flowers start to bloom, take some time to look out for yourself and show yourself how much you care!
What if I don’t know how to support them?
Start by asking if they are okay. Once you’ve determined that it’s safe to start a conversation, let the person know that they can talk to you about anything and everything. If your friend or family member opens up to you, take time out of each day to ask them how their day is going and what help/support they need from you this month. Stay in touch with them regularly but only when they’re ready. Respect their boundaries – what worked for someone yesterday may not work today so is prepared for unannounced changes in plans or frequency of contact. When we feel depressed we tend to push people away. Don’t take it personally and remind yourself that it has nothing to do with you; it’s just part of depression.
What if they don’t want to talk about it?
If your friend or family member brushes off your concerns, sometimes the best thing you can do is continue to be there for them even if they refuse help. Let them know that you’re available to listen without judgment whenever they need someone to lean on says Alex Gierbolini. If they seem more irritable than usual or are unable to sleep, try suggesting professional help – remind them that people who struggle with mental health issues spend their lives trying not to feel this way and all they really want is a chance at feeling whole again. A lot of times we need permission from others before we can seek help so give yours!
As someone who struggles with mental health, it’s important for me to look out for my own needs. I may not be receiving treatment right now but that doesn’t mean the world has come to a complete stop; life moves on even when we’re stuck in our own minds. Sometimes all you need is your loved ones to remind you that you are still here and the only person who can change how you feel is yourself.
Remember, everyone will experience different symptoms of depression at their own pace.