It’s hard sometimes to be an anchor of support for those around us that are facing mental challenges. It can seem like an endless battle to bring them back to equilibrium in their thoughts and in their actions. Being there is the best thing you can do for someone facing mental challenges – to support them so that they can eventually help themselves. It’s important that we don’t get caught up trying to solve their problems and fight their battles for them because this will only slow their recovery. Here’s a few things to keep in mind.
The hurtful things they say and do are likely a result of their mental state
Don’t judge them based on the way they act when they are at their lowest because even they themselves do not know the consequences of their actions. Even though they may sometimes seem irrational in thought without any logic to their behavioural patterns, help them to be at ease and gain more clarity of thought – maybe encourage them to meditate or guide a meditation for them – if that’s what they want. Only intervene as they request it and to protect them so that they do not cause danger to themselves or others.
They might say the same things day after day
An issue that you believed was resolved yesterday will likely reemerge the following day and sometimes for consecutive days. Even though there is a logical answer that has already solved the issue, the irrationality of thoughts that comes from the sufferer will undermine this. Don’t let it ruin your enthusiasm or break your spirits, just keep attempting to support the sufferer and reinforce the same answers that emerged the previous day. Be patient and I guarantee you will see improvement over time.
Give them space to exercise their independence
Whilst in the early stages it is important to be around the sufferer, we must slowly give them back their independence when we start to see signs of improvement, such as more rational thoughts and consideration for others, not just themselves. This can be something small such as sending them to the local store to pick up an ingredient by themselves.
You’re gem for supporting someone with a mental battle and it can sometimes take a toll on you too. Stick around and lean on others for support if you need it too. Sometimes it helps to have a network you can talk to when supporting someone else with mental health just so that you can gain more opinions and advice.
Be patient in the process and take care of yourself too.
~ Adam, 2019