Today is Mental Health Awareness Day and I just wanted to say a few things. 

Dear Loved One of Someone Who Has Depression and/or Anxiety,

I know you feel helpless watching your loved one go through depression and anxiety. I’m sure it isn’t an easy feeling. You feel helpless and its difficult to understand the depression or anxiety attack that is taking place. I want you to remember that you can actually help us.

Having depression is essentially feeling sad and not being able to explain it. There is no rhyme or reason. Like you’re there but you’re not. Where total darkness engulfs you and you feel like no matter what you do you can’t claw your way out of that darkness. When this happens things just don’t make sense. Here are somethings you can do to help us:

  1. Nature helps us soothe. I like to head to where there is natural flowing water.
  2. We often feel alone so ask us to help you understand how we feel. Reassure us you can handle our crazy feelings.
  3. We stop taking care of ourselves so give us a little loving nudge to take care of ourself. This includes a healthy balanced meal.
  4. Give us love. A hug and a shoulder to cry on goes a long way. Remind us that we are lovable and we aren’t failures. Challenge our negativity. Remind us why we are loved.
  5. Help us to laugh and see the beauty of humor.

Depression makes you not care. But anxiety is the opposite – in everything you care too much. When my anxiety hits it’s terrible. Anxiety attacks make you feel like nothing makes sense. If feels like you can’t breathe, you’re going to faint, or you’re going to die. This is how to help us:

  1. The most important thing for us is to breathe. We often forget how to do this simple thing.
  2. Don’t tell us to relax or calm down. Trust me, that just shoots the anxiety higher.
  3. Remind us that you are right there without adding more pressure.
  4. Help us to move. Sometimes moving, even if its just to get our minds off of things helps.
  5. It’s temporary, just help us remember that and get us back into the present.

The most important thing about depression and anxiety is that we often lose sight of reality when we have an episode. With your support we will get out of it. But, understand the support we need is not being told things such as shape up, its all in your head, why are you ruining our good time, you’re doing this now? There are some things that we just can’t control. Eventually as we learn to cope we will be able to. But, at that very moment, that isn’t such a thing. Just love us. Be there for us. We promise, we will come back, but we need you to understand and support us through it.

Love,

The Depressed and Anxious

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