Mental Health of a Loved One - Dos and Don'ts
People are confusing under the best of circumstances. For someone without experience with mental illness, the appropriate ways to support someone who is mentally ill is mind-boggling. It is confusing even for people who are suffering. Each person and each diagnosis is different. That's where it becomes even more confusing. Some dos and don'ts will help you see things are not as complicated as they feel.
It's in the Reaction
People's reactions to my emotions have, in many ways, been more damaging than the traumatic experiences themselves. At one point it was impossible for me to ask for help and I self-isolate when I am sad. These coping mechanisms have interfered with a lot.
Unfortunately, I am more the rule than the exception. Among groups, friends, and forums I have been participated in, both as a young adult and researcher, it is the same for a tremendous amount of people. If you want to be helpful to the young adult in your life,
Please, Don't Say or Do These:
"I Don't Know What to Say"
It may not seem like it from the previous section, but there is so much more you can do to help a friend who suffers from any mental illness than to harm them at any point. You can make an immense difference in anyone's outlook, even if for a day. To some of your friends, one day may seem an infinity.
"I don't know what to say" or "I don't know what to do" are common responses to my stories or when I try to talk to people. I'm guessing it happens during any trauma. I would love it if everyone knew:
That's why supporting a young adult through a mental illness is more simple than it seems.
Just be there.
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