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They need Support, Not Solutions (#4)

There are an estimated 300 million people suffering from depression around the world, chances are you know someone who is too. For someone to trust you enough to tell you about their struggles is a big deal, therefore it is important for you to know the proper way to support them through their journey rather than look for ways to end it.

It may seem a little cruel, but you should let them solve their issues themselves. All they really need is someone they trust to talk to, not someone who is going to really and find a solution for them, they may not be ready. Firstly, it is very rare for another person to find a solution for another’s internal struggles. Secondly, this is something they will have to come out of themselves in order to make themselves stronger. Another, somewhat insensitive, step some take, albeit with good intentions, is telling them to ‘stop thinking about it’ or ‘be happy with what you have.’ This invalidates their feelings and may contribute to them feeling like a failure. I would also advise you to hold back on any advice you may want to give them unless they ask for your opinions. As humans, it is natural of us to compare, with ourselves or others we know, mental health issues, do not do this. This will build their frustration. Most importantly, it is important for you to understand, do not take things personally. Them pushing you away maybe be them being unattached to their current emotions and expressing it through their relationships. When you take things personally it will demotivate you to continue to offer your support, in this case it may be helpful for you to speak to someone else.

Now, what are some things you can do? Offering to listen to them and asking questions to get them to discuss more is helpful, however, remember to not go overboard and not to pressurise them if they do not feel like talking. Another thing which would be helpful is completing their smaller daily tasks for them. Doing their laundry, running errands, grocery shopping, cooking are the smaller things they can get off their mind and focus on themselves. If they feel up for it, invite them out with you! It may seem considerate to give them time and inviting them to places with you may decrease their feelings of isolation. In addition to all this, if they want the help of a therapist, or you feel they need one (first consult them) help them in finding a suitable one. Lastly, be patient. This is a long process and will take time, only do it if you are willing to wait for them to be ready to get better.

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