The first thing we were taught as kids in our initial learning phase was the importance of words. How your speech dictates your life and those centered around you. It can either make someone’s day or kill the day’s vibe.
Similarly, the kind of words you use with your close companions or even strangers, you meet down the road, defines you and your personality. Be humble and polite than being judgmental towards others, because many are already doing that job. The world needs real people than those influenced by others opinions.
Prejudice towards people struggling with depression or other mental health problems:
Everybody wants to be heard and understood. But sometimes we speak a lot, that it hushes the voice of someone, struggling to open their heart. This implies to people battling with mental and neurological disorders.
Our prejudice and ignorance towards mental health patients make them shun their words, as they are often stigmatized and misunderstood. It’s not that, they don’t speak up or are afraid to talk about their mental health problems. In other words, it is the response they get which makes them retire to their shell.
Additionally, getting a cold shoulder from your best friend or being rebuked by your parents for being emotionally and mentally weak can be tormenting. Mainly because you consider them as an essential part of your life. Your power circle, who you count on days of destitute.
Keep Ego at Bay:
If you’ll be egoistic, you will never realize what your loved one is going through and is still clinging to you, just because they have faith in you. They want someone to be by their side instead of leaving them in the midst of a storm.
Additionally, notice their behavioural patterns, so you can offer support in your own way to overcome depression. For example, here are few things to remember and imply when you see your loved one putting such kind of behaviour:
Few Common Behavioural Patterns of Mental Health Patients and People Suffering From Depression:
- If you see your otherwise talkative friend shutting himself down from you more than often. Withdrawal from social gatherings, meets or school/college.
- Cancelling plans doing things they loved to.
- Having nothing to say on being asked about his/her well-being or simply ignoring the question, when asked about their health.
- Being obsessed with their physical appearance or not paying attention to how they appear in public.
- Being obsessed with work, have suddenly become a workaholic.
- Holding onto a thought for several days, enquiring about the thing you said or repeatedly talking about an event, that occurred in past.
- Change in their behaviour. An introverted person suddenly seeking the company of others (to fill the void, emptiness, fear of isolation due to troubled thoughts) or an extrovert, who doesn’t want to meet anybody (rejection, disgust for people due to mayhem).
- Having mood swings, irritability, rage and anger.
- Using drugs, dependence on drugs as a coping mechanism to the emotional and psychological outburst.
What to remember and what not to say?
It is likely that he/she must be experiencing a severe depressive episode. Even if you have a bad temper or are genuinely interested in bringing your loved one back to shore.
Just don’t ever taunt or chide your friend, saying hurtful things or by doing negative commentary like- You have changed, You are selfish because you always think about yourself and the worse- I don’t want to keep ties with you.
What can you do to give moral support to the people battling depression and mental health issues?
To begin with, be supportive, try to question yourself, “What could be the problem”. Similarly, notice the patterns and the course of actions that took place in your loved one’s life. If he/she is your close friend, chances are you might know them well.
To the extent that they must have disclosed their personal matters to you, at some point in time. Try to get to the root cause of it, so you can aid them.
Observe if you want to help:
Have they gone through a tragic event like a rough separation from their significant other, an awful divorce, bullying in school/ college/office, the death of a family member or anything, that could hit them to the core. Causing deep emotional and mental scar. If you know the problem, then act accordingly.
Note: It is to be noted that the situations were cited as an example and it could vary in different cases.
How can you provide moral support or what you can do to make them feel better?
People who are depressed use words differently. They may stress, repeat, take long pauses with heart racing, palpating, sigh, stammer, mumble and often use complex language to communicate. This is one major signs to notice, which appears in the initial phase.
It may appear to you as if they are high or are in an emotional state. But that isn’t the case. Instead of choosing to speak, listen. You never know how hard they might be struggling to express.
Meet them often:
It is possible that someone suffering from depression wouldn’t like to respond to your plans, as they might be battling demons in their headspace. But you can always choose to meet them by visiting their place.
Take their favourite food, watch a light-hearted movie together, talk to them and go for a walk in the evening. These little things will make them feel good about themselves, assuring them there is someone, who cares for them.
A person dealing with mental health issues have low esteem and often disregard them in their mind. They don’t like their appearance, find more flaws in them. It is a hullabaloo in their headspace, which makes them confined in the four walls of their home.
On the contrary, few mental health patients get obsessed with their looks. They keep checking themselves in the mirror. They want to look prim and proper at every second, brush their hairs often. Still, they don’t have the confidence to leave home.
If you meet them, compliment them in such a way, that they don’t think much about their appearance but step out from their home. Say, you look great without doing anything. You are naturally beautiful or you always look pretty, when you smile. Such little words can cause a great impact on them.
Encourage them to do things they love doing:
Tell them how great they are at doing things, hobbies, art, craft or any other work, they did with zeal earlier. Allow them to regrow by encouraging them to do things, they once loved doing.
If they are feeling better now, the next step would be to help them find a new passion or hobby as a coping mechanism. In which they immerse themselves. But please don’t force them, this could result in a downward spiral.
Be supportive to the people battling depression and mental health issues:
A little support in the initial stage of mental health problems can come as a silver lining in someone’s life. You don’t need to do much just stay close to them and check up on them often.
Additionally, talk therapy can have great effects on their mind, so initiate soulful conversation. Allow them to vent, just stay calm and listen.
Tell them they are strong:
Make them feel good about themselves by telling them they are strong. Speaking good things will help them regain the lost trust.
Don’t ever tell them you are sympathetic to them. Instead, be empathetic and understand what they might be going through.
Talk from your heart:
The last and the most important is talk from your heart. Don’t just say Hello! and leave. Sit together, ask them about their health and how things are going in their headspace. In addition to, if they are willing to share, then you can continue the conversation.
If not, then don’t push further and let them figure out things on their own first. So you can handle the thread well later on. Moreover, don’t express grief or pity them because it will shatter their trust that they are trying to build in them. So just do what you’d do if you were in the same shoes. In conclusion, be a nice person and help.