You don’t have to live life long to know that not everything is a bed of roses. Sort of the way things go, there are times when things just aren’t going your way. The loss of a job, a bad breakup, a car accident, a death in the family, a bad medical diagnosis, or a number of other scenarios can take place altering your mood and in some cases, the course of your life.
It’s one thing to go through something like this yourself, but there’s something about seeing someone you love go through it that really hurts. You have no idea what to say, what to do, or how to help turn things around for them. Yet, doing nothing seems unloving.
If you believe that your spouse, parent, sibling, friend, or even child are going through something especially trying but you don’t know how to assist, perhaps this bit of information will come in handy.
Give Them Time
If the negative or traumatic event just took place, allow your loved one the time they need to feel. Trying to jump in and save the day too soon could cause some backlash as they deal with overwhelming emotions. Simply let them know you’re there and give them a few days to think.
Address it From Love
While everyone gets over things in their own time, if you start to notice that your loved one is acting strangely, harming themselves, or neglecting their priorities, you need to speak up. However, just make sure that you address it from a place of love. Making them feel guilty or ashamed will cause them to bottle up and distance themselves further. Talk to them alone and express your concern by pointing out what you’ve seen. Then, offer your assistance.
The best way to help your loved one through this difficult time in their lives is to educate yourself. Are you aware of the symptoms and statistics of depression? Are you aware of the various treatment options available to treat someone suffering from depression or another mental health disorder? This way, when they are ready to talk to you and get assistance, you can give them accurate advice backed by sound data.
Act in Kindness
When a person is going through a difficult time, they could use a lot of help, even if they don’t say so out loud. Instead of asking them, you can act in kindness and just do something nice for them. If they recently lost a loved one you could prepare dinner for the week or offer to pick the kids up from school. If they just broke up with a long-time partner, mail them a card with your sympathies or send them a funny video via text message to cheer them up. They may not respond right away, but it is those little acts of kindness that will remind them that they are loved and there are better days.
Be a Listening Ear
Sometimes when you’re struggling the best medicine is just being able to vent. If a loved one is going through a difficult time and you don’t know how else to help, simply be there when they want to talk. Whether they want to talk about the reason they’re down or something completely different, just listen to what they have to say.
Take Care of You
Whether the person is your child, spouse, or parent, you cannot be of any assistance to them if you’re not taking care of yourself. As difficult as it may be right now, it is important to prioritize your own health. Doing so not only gives you the strength you need to be there for them, but it can also serve as an example of how they can lead healthier lifestyles themselves. Remember to eat, exercise, reduce stress, and get plenty of rest every day – no matter what.
It can be rough to witness a loved one going through a difficult time. Your heart hurts wanting them to be okay, but you have no idea what to say or do to make it all better. Though you may not be able to do much to reverse what has happened, you can help them to heal from it by being supportive. If you find, however, that they need more help than you can offer, be sure to know where to turn.