Loving someone who suffers from depression and (or) anxiety can be really frustrating. Especially when you don’t know how to help them or when the attempts you make to help them end up making the situation worse.  You need to understand that it is not your job to ‘fix’ them. The best you can do is to support them through their recovery journey. Here are a few really helpful tips on what to do

The five things I can do:

1. Encourage them to visit a mental health specialist/ facility

This is one of the most helpful and most important things you can do to help them. Mental healthcare specialists like psychologists and psychiatrics are well trained and know how to handle the mental health challenges people encounter. Anxiety and depression are just not ‘feelings’, they are mental health illnesses that can be diagnosed and treated. There are different treatment options for depression and anxiety (like psychotherapy and medications) depending on the nature and intensity of the disease. Visit us at Oasis Specialty hospital or call us on 0743 155846 to book an appointment with the best mental healthcare experts in Kenya.

2. Get your facts right

After a diagnosis has been made, ensure you do your research and get your facts right on depression and anxiety. Learn about the causes, symptoms, the statistics, the treatment process and just about any information you can get on the topic. This will give you insight on what the person is going through. This will also make it easier to help and support them. Click here to learn more on depression and anxiety.

3. Listen to them.

This may not be as easy as it sounds. Do more listening than talking. You might be tempted to offer solutions or opinions but this is not the best thing to do because you’ll end up taking away their chance to speak out and be heard. Often, people going through depression and anxiety lack the emotional energy to listen to you or engage in conversations. They just need you to listen to them.

Try and validate their feelings by practicing empathetic listening. For instance, if they say “I feel so hopeless” instead of telling them “you should feel happy because you have so much to be grateful for” tell them “that must feel very frustrating, what can I do to help?”. You see, by telling them to be happy because they have a lot to be happy about, you might make them feel like they are ungrateful and selfish. People with anxiety and depression often fail to see the good things in life and they just need you to understand how they feel without judgement.

4. Take care of yourself

” You cannot fill from an empty cup”

Supporting a depressed person can be scary, intense and emotionally draining. Learn to care for yourself physically and psychologically. You can not fill from an empty cup.

  • Ask from help from others who care about the person if it gets overwhelming.
  • track your mood and emotions so you don’t end up spending most of your days worried and stressed.
  • find time to relax and do the things you enjoy.
  • learn to set boundaries, you should let them know that there are times you can’t be there for them. An instance is; let them know that you can only hang out with them after school/work.

Love them unconditionally.

Sometimes people suffering from depression are unable to reciprocate the love and affection that you give them. Sometimes they can be insensitive and unkind. You should try and understand that it’s a result of the illness they are going through try your best to be patient with them. Whenever you feel angry and discouraged, remind them that it is their illness that frustrates you not them

Visit us at Oasis and learn more ways you can be there for your loved one in their journey to recovery.