Please, do not ignore someone who comes to you for help. They may be experiencing depression, anxiety, or some other mental health issues and just want to feel safe. Some people fear judgment and not being taken seriously.
Trust me, if they have reached out to you, they either believe you will try to help them or their need for help is greater than your lack of understanding.
But guess what? You do not have to understand a person’s mental health issues to JUST BE PRESENT with them.
They are likely not looking for you to solve or fix their problems. It is actually alright if you do not understand. But can you at least recognize whatever they are going through, they are struggling? Some people find comfort in knowing that someone knows they are suffering and that person cares about their well-being.
Just ask, what can I do to help? Someone may just want you to listen to them express themselves. Another person may find it helpful for you to just sit in their presence so they don’t feel alone. Some people like distraction and would love to play a game or watch TV with someone. Some may just want a hug; you never know until you ask.
Depression and anxiety have moments of despair. Reaching out to someone during an episode is an nonverbal action that states “I don’t trust myself right now, stay with me, help me remain calm. Just be here with me so I know I am not alone in this”.
Think about how horrible someone might feel if they reached out and didn’t get a response, felt judged, or felt not taken seriously. This might reinforce their negative thoughts like “nobody cares” and cause them to fall deeper into depression.
Even if a person in need does not reach out, what’s wrong with asking “are you okay”? Is something wrong? Can I help you? Are you willing to help someone in need who you don’t even know or who doesn’t have the courage the reach out first. Just because a person does not ask doesn’t mean they do not need help. Many people with mental health issues worry about being a burden to others.
It reminds me of Kevin Hines, the man who survived a suicide jump from the golden gate bridge. In his story before attempting to die by suicide, he rode the bus down to the bridge. He talks about how he was crying his eyes out and hope one individual on the bus would help him. He says that everyone was in their own world. Even the bus driver told him to hurry and get off because he had somewhere to be. I always wonder what difference a smiling face and a kind voice would have made just by asking him if he was okay.
Depression and anxiety are sometimes like grief, you just can’t shake it. It’s like a wave is coming and you sitting on the shore. It’s there and it’s running it’s a course. Sometimes people just need to know they are safe and to reminded they are still their beautiful selves in spite of their emotions and their struggles. Support is an important part of their recovery.
Depression and anxiety might make you feel low, but it’s doesn’t change who you are. So be the person who says “I will sit with you and hold your hand until it’s over. Don’t be afraid”.
Be the person to take a chance and reach out when you need to. Some people may find it difficult to just be present, but it’s perfectly okay to let them know how to be there for you in your time of need.
What ways have you shown someone you are there for them during their time of need. Give us some ideas. Comment Below!