So many times, when we share our troubles people want to make us feel better, by letting us know…
It. Gets. Better….
How many of these have you heard before?
1) It gets better
2) This too shall pass
3) God only gives us as much as we can handle
4) Let it go
5) Look on the bright side
7) Find the silver lining
8) Time heals all wounds
Here is what your friend is thinking after your kind words. “All of this is so sweet. It is nice that you took the time to tell me it gets better.... but that doesn’t help and honestly you have no idea!!!” Your friend has chosen you. This is your opportunity to learn more and to ask questions. Your friend is opening up to you. They trust you. Usually they will not begin with their biggest problem. This is likely not the worst issue they are dealing with right now. This is the easiest issue to talk about. This is usually the issue that they have worked through a bit. Often, they are testing your level of interest in supporting or helping them through this time in their lives.
How about if we step outside of our comfort zone and help others to actually get to a better place?!? Action speaks louder than words. So, don’t tell them... show them! Hear your friend. Don’t just listen… take it in and let them know that they chose the right person. You are not responsible for solving their problems. You only need to listen and let them know that their feelings are valid. It is so easy to judge and decide how you would respond in their shoes. It is easy to accidentally treat people as though their problems are no big deal, but if they are sharing their troubles with you, they are truly bothered. It is not your responsibility to decide if their problems are worth stressing over. Your loved one is already stressed and one of the easiest ways to push them away is to let them know that you think the troubles they are having are trivial.
This doesn’t mean that you have to walk on eggshells either. You can have an opinion, but your goal should always be to be supportive. So here we are. How can you help your friends and family the most when they are suffering?
What can you say?
1) Your feelings are valid, that makes sense, many people would feel that way in your shoes.
2) Tell me more
3) I believe you
4) I am so sorry to hear that
5) How can I help?
6) Are you OK?
7) Do you need to talk?
8) Is there someone I can call?
9) Are you thinking about hurting yourself?
One of the best things you can do is to ask questions. Keep them talking because that is how you get them to share more and hopefully share the problems that are hurting them the most. AND if you are worried that they are in danger, do not leave them alone!!! For more information contact me!
The stigma around speaking about mental health is often more dangerous than the disorders themselves. The stigma prevents those who need help from getting it. If someone broke their arm they would be expected to go to the doctor for help; so why do we expect people suffering mentally to heal themselves? Learn to treat Mental Health like any other injury. Make time to help the ones you care about and help them when they need you.
If you need help call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number 1-800-273-8255
Reach out when you see someone who may be in need.
Amy Long is originally from California, but currently lives in Omaha, Nebraska. She in a member of the United States Air Force and works as a Base Wounded Warrior Advocate. Her career in the military gave her many opportunities to travel and see the world and for that she is grateful. She also had the opportunity to get her BS in Psychology and will apply to Graduate School to complete her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.
Over the years, Amy fought to "get over it" alone and suffered the consequences that came with not listening when friends and family suggested she seek help. This was a hard lesson to learn, but now she works to recover from her invisible wounds and to teach others that you do not harm yourself by reaching out... You harm yourself by NOT reaching out for help.
Amy is proudly recovering from PTS, Depression, and Anxiety. This is not something that just disappears, but with help she is finding her "new normal" and regaining the independence that comes from analyzing and getting to know yourself through therapy.
For peer support and motivation visit her other Social Media pages for more information: