Friends talkCan we compare or prioritise a tear to bleeding, if the person we care about is hurting in any way, don’t we feel it and hurt too. There’s nothing worse than not being able to help someone we’re close to when they are in any kind of distress. I’d like to write a little about the top 3 things which cause the most hurt to those close to us and offer a little insight into how we can best support those we care about.

Relationship strife.
Maybe they are in a relationship that is abusive or controlling, or they could be attached to someone where they just fade into the background or aren’t encouraged to thrive. We want the best for the people close to us don’t we, but when they choose a partner who doesn’t enable them, then we often find it difficult to say anything. Our chance usually comes when they can’t go on any longer and the relationship or the person we care about breaks down.

Long before any kind of break down there are troubles and often long time scales when things are not ok. They may be very well disguised or even hidden from our view, but there are ways we can support our friends in a relationship that may not be that good for them.

What can we do to help?
We can get into the habit of casually chatting about our own relationships, the highs and the lows, this will hopefully help our friends to open up to us about their woes and worries. Building an environment where we can talk openly about our relationship helps us and our friends get closer and feel less isolated with our feelings.

Depression and Anxiety.
We all know people who may have regular spells of low mood or be anxious about busy places, meeting new people or going on dates, but when these psychological issues interfere with getting on with our lives, leaving the house or making friends, it can be very difficult to help people living with the affects. The term mental health unfortunately still has a certain stigma, yet many of us have struggle with anxiety or depression at certain times in our lives. When its a constant in a persons existence, then it can make life miserable.

Clinical depression, that is one diagnosed and treated with medication combined with talking therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) counselling is the most effective way to treat depression and can help people to stabilise and lift the severity of the illness. Depressed people are not weak, they are strong to keep going when everything transpires against them.

What can we do to help?
We can best support someone living with depression by letting them know we are there for them, no matter how many times they need us. Just knowing that we won’t give up on them helps them not to give up on their battle with depression.

Having someone to listen and care and do that time and time again is how people with relationship issues and with depression get through their struggles. When we feel low and up against it we need someone we can rely on to always be there for us and that is what makes the darkness brighter, and instills hope.

Paul Parkin – online counsellor