It can be an uncomfortable feeling not knowing how to show you care and support a friend or loved one when he or she is in a dark place, whether it be depression, PTSD, anxiety, or anything else.
It's important to point out that support can look different for everyone. However, sometimes support is simply listening and validating feelings. Telling someone what they feel isn't real or isn't important may help you feel like you're doing due diligence encouraging someone to keep going but spoiler alert: it doesn't.
Validating feelings, whether or not you understand them, is SO important. Let compassion, kindness, and awareness be your guide to responding.
Remember: being present is sometimes the greatest present you can give.
Elvis said it; Sly & the Family Stone said it as well: “I want to thank you for letting me be myself, again”. Gratitude goes beyond being polite and thanking others. When was the last time you said “thank you” to yourself? When clients come in to talk (i.e about feeling disconnected, stressed, numb, etc.) it’s a wonderful opportunity to bring awareness and appreciation into the room. Awareness? Appreciation? Yes...you read that correctly.
It’s important to recognize and appreciate how our bodies tell us something “isn’t right” or “is off”. If we didn’t see things as issues causing us discomfort, pain, or as truths about who we are, we wouldn’t seek out treatment for things that aren’t bothering us!
So it’s about time you give yourself A LOT of credit (and brushing your shoulders off) for being YOU.
Amy Pope-Latham, LCSW is a board certified mental health professional in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.