Now that the cat is out of the bag about my mental illness, I want to give you some tips about how to help or be there for a family member/friend that is also dealing with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health problem.
- Do NOT and I mean DO NOT say “Just get over it.” “Just be happy.” “Just get out of the house.” “Just get up.” All of those things are so much easier said than done when suffering from any mental illness.
- When they talk, listen. Listen without responding. Just listen. A lot of times they just want to talk and need someone to simply listen.
- Send random texts just to check on them to see how they’re doing. An “Aye wassup? You good?” text can go such a long way.
- Do NOT downplay their mental illness by saying “It’s just a condition.” That’s like saying pneumonia is just a common cold.
- Offer them support by asking “What can I do to help you through this?”
- Do NOT automatically assume that if a person is suffering from a mental illness, they are considered “crazy”. That stigma itself is one the main reasons why people avoid seeking help. A lot of times, people with mental illnesses just have a harder time dealing with certain things and doing certain activities that the next person may find easy.
- If they need a break and ditch going to a certain event that they said they would attend, don’t make them feel bad about it. I was called “lame” and a “flop” so many times because I backed out on doing things because I was dealing with my illness.
- Do NOT make them feel guilty or bad for the way that they are dealing with their illness. There is a way to offer support without sounding judgmental. I hate when people ask me “So you’ve been in the bed all day?”, “So that’s literally all you do all day?”, or “Omg you’re sleep again?”
- Always speak about positive things when you talk to them. Any negative story can literally drain every ounce of energy out of our bodies to the point that we feel worst than before.
- Never joke about or disrespect what they’ve gone through. Having a mental illness is hard enough and hearing you throw jabs at it only makes things even tougher. Always be kind.
I hope this helps you,