We all need a little help at some points. There’s no doubt that there are some people who need help more than others. It may be older parents, a sibling with a disability, a friend with depression, a partner with anxiety. Being someone on the outside, it can be worrying but it can also feel frustrating that you can’t fix the issue. But there is a lot you can do otherwise. Here, we’re going to look at how you can be a great help for those in danger in your life.
If you really care about someone and what they’re going through, then you need to start to become more aware of what it is they’re actually struggling with. Of course, sites like this page on anxiety can help you get a broad view of what’s involved in it, but getting educated through your reading doesn’t mean you now fully understand the trouble your loved one is facing. Mental health issues, addictions, and disabilities are never a one-size fits all problem. You might feel compelled to say what you can and show your understanding to offer some kind of relief to your loved one. But it’s more important to close your mouth and open your ears, so you can better understand what the individual is going through. Your education needs to be personal as much as it needs to seek information.
Recognize their limitations
If you’re trying to help a friend cope with a disability or trying to care for an older family member, then you might have to start thinking a little more in their shoes. Again, this means listening to them but it might also mean broaching conversations about what their limitations are and how much help they might like in facing those limitations. You don’t want to patronize the person you’re trying to help, as that might make you more of a hindrance than anything. But frank conversations about what you could help them with could help you discover what immediate assistance you might be able to provide if any.
Help them find that help
As a loved one, you want to be involved in helping them face their problems. But the fact is that you’re likely not a professional. You should be aware of when you might be getting out of your depth and when they could use some external help from qualified bodies. You can’t force them to seek help, of course. But you can float the idea if they’re comfortable with discussing it, and then help them navigate choices that might be otherwise scary. If you are trying to help an addict, you can look at potential therapy groups or rehabs and look at their site to help them make more informed decisions on how they want to go ahead. If you’re looking after an older relative, you can accompany them to doctor’s visits if they show any discomfort or difficulty in managing their own healthcare. By doing some of the legwork, you might be able to help save them a lot of the stress and fear those decisions might pose.
Be a positive presence
One of the biggest societal issues around mental health, addiction, age, and disability is the stigma that comes with it. It leads to a lot of assumptions that tend to further marginalize the experiences of the people living with them. If you truly want to be a help, you must endeavor to be as far from that behavior as possible. Again, this means listening when possible and being a positive presence free of judgment. Don’t pressure your loved one to disclose anything. Don’t make assumptions based on what you think you understand of their condition. Be an ally, not another issue they have to navigate.
Look after yourself
If you’re getting deeply involved in the recovery or care of someone you care deeply about, you should be wary of how you’re handling it. You might be suffering an emotional toil, leaving yourself at developing mental health issues. If you’re a caregiver, you might be at risk of suffering burnout and jeopardizing your relationship with your loved one. No cause is worth martyring yourself over. You have to know when you give yourself a break and to have someone to talk to. If someone you love is fighting an addiction, you have to prioritize your own security and be wary of when you might be acting as an enabler.
Your presence and your openness alone can one of the most valuable things you can offer the people closest in your life. You can help them find the next step, you can endeavor to understand them, and you can be the support they need in their hardest moments.