Being there for someone who is clearly struggling can also be difficult, especially if you are not aware of the proper ways to handle someone’s worst. So, whether it is a family member, a friend, or a life partner, it is important to learn how to hold their hand during a very difficult time in their lives.
People have different coping mechanisms, the same way everyone reacts to pain and hardships differently. Some find the setbacks they experience manageable, but others are not so fortunate. We cannot blame and invalidate these people for struggling. Their problems may feel insignificant compared to yours, but that is not how the burden feels to them.
Naturally, human beings lean towards comfort, pleasure, and whatever feels good. So, it only means these people are also trying to improve their situations, but they just sometimes need help too.
Help from people they care about, and those who understand what they are going through. A support system is important for recovery. Even in hospitals, having a present family member is an important criterion to qualify for urgent surgeries.
Now, if you know a person struggling with depression, you need to be patient. If you have someone close to you who is currently undergoing a binge eating disorder treatment and recovery plan, you need to be a little more sensitive. Or even someone who is simply dealing with heartbreak, you need to know how to support them. It is all about being aware and understanding how you can be there for them.
Here are some steps to help you:
Know That Words Aren’t Everything
As someone who wants to help, you usually start with words of encouragement and statements to comfort the person. However, you must first understand that not everyone responds to words, and other times words can cause triggers even if you meant well. So, do not be offended when a loved one refuses to talk to you after you have tried to comfort them.
The best thing you can do is to personalize your approach. Know the things that will lift their spirits even just for a while. For example, if you have a friend who is struggling to open up, you can try to go visit their house and enjoy an activity together. It does not have to be another therapy session for them. So, it is best not to interrogate them about how they are feeling and what happened. Basically, if they do not show any sign about being open to talking, don’t. Be patient and let them do that when they are ready.
Give Them Space, But Do Not Leave Them Alone
Now, we know this sounds tricky, but it is dangerous to leave a troubled person alone with his thoughts. They are at their most vulnerable state, and there is no saying what they might do when they act on their unstable emotions and thoughts. See, even someone who is going through a breakup can do stupid things such as reach out to their ex and beg when there is no one to remind them of things.
However, the most important concern is about the chances of self-harm and suicidal tendencies. In retrospect, these unfortunate events can be prevented with professional help and a support system. That is why you should always check up on your loved ones, no matter how busy life gets.
If you are dealing with this case yourself, try not to pry them open, but at the same time, be there when they need. Give them space if they do not want to be poked, but also remind them that you will be there when they need you.
We have already mentioned the possibilities of hardships on your part as well, but that is to be expected for support systems. You are somehow lending your strength to your loved ones, and that can also be tiring. It is not a bad thing to admit because it is true. Being there for someone who is struggling is one the most admirable thing you can do for anyone. It means that you truly care about the person, and you stayed when you can easily bail.
Know that they are also trying to be better; they just cannot rush their process. So be patient, brace yourself for ugly days but don’t forget that there will be better days for you and your loved one.
Being there for a person you care about is not just about saying the right words and guiding them to do the right choices next time, but it is also about understanding what they need and what you can do for them.