Tag Archives: emotional support

To Show Emotional Support, Remember this 1 Vital Phrase

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

photo-24819922-angry-woman-with-his-husband

Try to explain the difference between anxiety and fear or worry. Can you?

I’ve had difficulty describing anxiety to friends, family, and even therapists. That is because each person experiences it in his or her own way.

Most people equate anxiety with worry as if they are interchangeable terms. For me, anxiety is more of a physical sensation than a thought war. It is a vague tension that seems to almost vibrate from my core.  It can make me lethargic, sick, and sleepless even if otherwise I feel calm.

Depression too shares common symptoms across the population. However, their intensity, duration, and how a person perceives them at any given moment will not be an exact match to anyone else. 

For example, self-pity is distinguishable from depression when I feel either of them.  Contrary to stigma, they do not always show up hand-in-hand. Depression is not always preceded by self-pity. This is not everyone’s experience. 

It is hard to choose one or two most important points about offering support when a loved one struggles with anxiety or depression.  This CompassionateLove Blog has much to say on the matterThere is one theme running through it all.  

The most vital phrase for supports to remember is: 

“No one else is like me.”

That is right. Your experiences with depression and anxiety are your own. How you manage, what treatments work or do not work, how long it takes to return to normalcy  – none of these are measures for anyone else’s struggle. 

I will go so far as to say, as well as you think you know someone, do not assume what they feel today is what they have shared with you in the past. Moods are flexible, thoughts come and go. 

No one else is like you. Please do not judge and expect the same results.

Today’s Helpful Word   

Proverbs 14:10 

“Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.”

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

I Care About Someone With a Troubled Past. What Can I Do to Help?

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

Closeup portrait of two attractive middle-aged female friends chatting in the park in a healthy lifestyle concept

Love

Honesty

Safety

Common sense

These terms no doubt mean something to you. Perhaps they draw up comfortable and happy memories. Maybe they remind you of what you never had. These are motivating words representing goals most of us like the idea of reaching. They are also concepts beyond reality for some people .

The Challenge: When we speak of love, our intentions fall within a range from the trite (“I love tacos”) to near impossible-to-describe profoundness (“I love my child”).

What if you had never seen displayed, or received family love? Emotionally or otherwise neglected children need help learning how to relate and trust. Without that help, and no framework to identify healthy relationships, it is quite possible a good-hearted adult will miss out.

How to Support this Person: Be an example of unconditional love. This does not mean allowing unsettling behaviors to go unaddressed. In fact, love this person enough to have boundaries. Through gentle communication, show the beauty of love – that it does not abuse, take advantage, play the doormat, or endorse bad behavior. Instead, it builds up, hopes for the best, and has the other person’s best interests at heart.

The Challenge: Just how is one who has been dealt dishonesty throughout childhood or beyond supposed to recognize trustworthiness? Kind people may try to invest in victims who have been lied to or betrayed most of their life, but positive messages fall short. This is because the languages of truth and trust are not understood.

How to Support this Person: Be faithful. Have boundaries. Never lie. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Carefully avoid making foolish promises. Give it time, even years.

The Challenge: We often hear during send-offs or even in therapeutic situations the concerned sentiment, “Be safe.” It means different things in varying contexts. If a formally abused individual does not know safety exists, how is she or he supposed to self-protect in practical ways?

How to Support this Person: Teach them in word and by example that safety is our right and often our responsibility. While we cannot predict every scenario, we can be basically prepared.  Teach this person to take his or her time in choosing emotionally safe friends. Provide information on how to draw healthy, not fear-producing, physical and emotional protections in relationships and situations. If you need help with this, ask for it.

The Challenge: Common sense may be elusive when a person has not been taught healthy ways of thinking, is emotionally incapable of moving beyond chaos, or whose circumstances have typically been manipulated on the vicarious whims of others.

How to Support this Person: Instead of pointing fingers and judging, try something constructive. You may help to change a life. First, set an example. Then gently encourage critical thinking. For instance, “What will be the result if you do such ‘n such?” “What do you want? Will this decision take you closer to your goal?” “What kind of person do you want to be, and what decisions today will help you be that kind of person?”  “Has this [behavior] worked in the past to help you or hurt you?”

None of us knows what we do not know. Everything we know has been at some point, taught to us. Investing in the future of another person looks different from self-righteousness, criticism, or superior assumptions of our knowledge.

Instead, change comes when we humbly accept the fact we are all learning. With this attitude we will change within, and become the kind of people able to lift others.

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COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

– picture from Kozzi.com

Why Are You Afraid of My Chronic Condition?

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2015  Nancy Virden

photo-24783806-sad-face-of-beautiful-young-ladyTammy* stretches her legs. Sharp pains course through her muscles. Collecting steely nerve, she  continues to get dressed. Each day she has only so much energy to use for basic duties like preparing to go downstairs for breakfast. Making her meal will cost her, so will cleaning up.

She’s been invited to a social gathering of friends and acquaintances this afternoon. Her choices are limited – will she vacuüm her neglected carpet? Perhaps answering emails is more important. Her goal to attend the gathering strongly influences her decision as doing all three is not an option. 

Robert* is highly anxious. Knots in his stomach bring about powerful feelings of nausea. He fights for control over his greatest fear- vomiting in public. It’s a wonder he has ventured out at all this morning, but no one is holding his job for him.

His boss has permitted a few hours off to visit his psychiatrist. The idea of seeing the doctor is an overwhelming proposition that brings about another wave of nausea.

Sally* has done it again- swallowed a bottle of pills and called 911 immediately after. Why? Her mood spirals up, down, and up again. She smiles at hospital staff, and they greet her by name. This is routine.

Her family comes without her brother this time. He is angry, and last time told his sister if she repeated this behavior he would never speak to her again. Sally realizes he may be gone forever and overwhelming depressed feelings once again master her spirit. She is certain that next time she will not call for help.

What is your response to the above three scenarios? Anger? Sympathy? Tolerance? Do you experience a greater pity for one person’s circumstances than the other two?

If you said yes to any of the questions, welcome to the human race. We tend to empathize more with struggles we have experienced than with those we have not. Let’s ask a different question. What scares us about what we do not understand?

Knowledge is power in part because it squelches our fear of the unknown.  Fear feeds judgment because we avoid learning more. By sincerely and openly discussing issues with a hurting person we may discover a beautiful opportunity to grow in love and truth.

*****

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

*not their real names

* pictures from qualitystockphotos.com