PREPARING YOURSELF TO BE A SAFE SPACE FOR SOMEONE STRUGGLING WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
Though our society prides itself on its resilience, “can-do” spirit and the ability to sweep issues under the rug under the guise of “leaving it to God”, it is certainly not healthy to do so. We find that we become easy when things get too honest, too bleak or too “real” and often are not providing a space for our loved ones to share with us. Here are a few ways to become a safe space for your loved one:
LEND A LISTENING EAR
Remember! Listening itself is a decision. You have to make up your mind not to selfishly slide in your opinions. Mental health issues are more than just feelings. Although feelings are symptoms, they are not the issue. Give the person an avenue to discuss whenever they need to. Make sure you admit when you don’t quite understand a person’s trials and always allow them the option to make their own decisions.
SEARCH FOR DAILY PEACE
Take your time to research calming everyday activities. Simple holistic methods such as meditation and walking during quiet times of the day can make a big difference. Sometimes simple lifestyle changes such as changing a diet by eliminating processed sugars, simple carbs, and consuming more fruits and veggies can be the key to helping your peer. Teas, such as chamomile, have a calming effect and you can never go wrong with a simple honey-lemon combo.
GET ALL THE INFORMATION
With our society slowly but surely learning to understand the importance of mental health, some people may fail to seek professional help and choose to self diagnose. If your friend insists that he or she is clinically depressed, listen to them but keep in mind that to ask what drugs he or she is taking. Ask when and where the diagnosis occurred and if there has been a ,second opinion. WebMD doesn’t replace a proper doctor or psychologist.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU!
Never make yourself the centre of the issue. Never selfishly make it seem like you being a friend, significant other, relative should make the mental health struggle melt away! What you should do is ask if there is anything you can do to help? If after all your efforts, it seems the person is not responding well and even starts to control your life, realise that you have the option to love from afar.
LOVE FROM AFAR
Do not be afraid to give the person some much needed space. Suggest support groups like Mentally Aware to provide accountability, bonding and empowerment. You’ll need a break yourself. Never get roped into believing that “all we have is each other” trope. It is toxic and can become the breeding ground for a fall out in the future.
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