There is no pain quite like watching someone you hold dear endure emotional trauma over a loss, depression, anxiety or other mental disorder. Figuring out how to best communicate our support to friends undergoing a difficult time is key in making sure we offer the best support possible, even if it’s not what we would need ourselves.
We all go through emotional battles at one point in life, but we don’t have to go through them alone. Taking an active interest in her day to day life, who she is as a person, what she values and what she needs will better your bond, and remind her that she is important.
One of the greatest gifts of friendship is knowing you’re supported regardless of the situations you face. That said, when someone is dealing with emotional pain, reassurance of love is vital. When battling with depression (along with various other mental illnesses) it’s easy to forget your importance in others’ lives and personal value. Reassuring her of your love and support is one of the most simple and positive gestures to offer during this hard time.
After you’ve let her know you love and support her, offer her your ears. Genuinely listen; this is what she needs. Offering support is one thing, but acting upon your words is what truly matters. Perhaps you won’t know how to verbally respond to her feelings, but letting her vent in a safe, supportive environment will allow her to feel respected and valued regardless of if you can personally relate to the situation or not. Hugs are pretty great, too!
Though reassurance and listening are imperative when extending love, keep in mind that being too overwhelming can detract from the support you’re trying to show. Everyone copes differently; I myself am appreciative when others reach out to me as I may feel unsure about reaching out first. And though I may be relieved someone has extended their support to me and I can open up, I also know if it’s too pushy I may be inclined to only divulge a small portion of what’s truly on my mind. If your friend is reluctant to discuss her feelings, respect that. If and when she is ready, she will know it’s safe to open up to you.
I believe a crucial component of friendship is selflessness; understanding someone else’s heart may feel differently based on certain actions.
What one may find supportive might not be the support another needs, but by being open, patient and listening, the attempt to understand a friends situation will always be appreciated.