Listener Q: Supporting a loved one ❤️

Grab yourself a brioche bun, plonk yourself in the sun and read my words you gorjus hun.

2021-01-13 3 min read

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Q: How do I respond to someone telling me they’re having a hard time? Or that they’re depressed without trying to ‘fix’ or minimise their problems?

Grab yourself a brioche bun, plonk yourself in the sun and read my words you gorjus hun.

This question is powerful as it shows you have a high degree of self awareness and that ol’ “growth mindset” all the kewl kidz are talking about.

I feel semi-qualified to support you in this query as someone who has lived in chronic depressive states. For the sake of this question, I will lean on my lived experience as I believe this is the most valuable insight of all.

At the end of the day, we are all problem solving beings. Our curiosity is the reason that our species has lived on for many thousands of years longer than we should (imo). By nature, we consistently look to find solutions. Yet how does this notion fit in with someone supporting a person with a mental health issue? How does the “honour it, feel it” mantra wedge its way in when it sometimes feels completely against the grain of how we function?

Bring your earhole in close as I whisper to you a little bit of secret sauce when it comes to mental health recovery.

Supporting emotional issues is a balancing act

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It’s like standing in the middle of a sea-saw and trying to keep it from tipping at either end. In my experience, if you’re super focused on the approach of “quietly holding space” (nodding and staring) they can end up feeling more alone and at times even more hopeless. Yet if you go in hard with a bunch of solutions and pragmatic strategies, they may feel overwhelmed or burdensome.

My advice is to blend 
all of the emotional herbs and spices.

Listen to your loved one. Allow them the space to let their shit out. Meet their gaze, nod and make the “mmhmm” noises that show you’re actively listening to their pain (it helps to focus on their words and movements). Once you feel you have heard them, offer up some strategies. Sometimes a third party perspective is actually empowering for someone who is struggling. If you find the person is pushing back in any way or not able to shift perspective, employ some boundaries. People tend to be scared of using emotional boundaries, yet boundaries are the cheese to the cracker of life when it comes to interpersonal experience.



Did you know multiple case studies across the planet have shown how powerful loving boundaries are in childhood development?

All the stuff that may piss your kid off from time to time such as routine bedtime, manners and role modelling creates a sense of safety and provides parameters for existing. Did you also know that you’re not an adult but a giant child sipping on wine? The same applies. If your loved one is consistently unwilling to accept help and you feel they are unable to shift perspective, communicate this with love. It is okay to say "I don't know the answer right now, but I am always right here by your side".

If you are dealing with someone who persistently has the same issues yet their behaviour never changes; there’s a chance they'd benefit from counselling. I encourage you to share this with them when you feel it is safe to do so. At the end of the day, we are all the experts of our own lives, but sometimes professional support can be a game changer.

Props on you again sweet FL (Feelz listener), you are a good human and a beautiful soul. Carry on being you boo.
 

Much love xoxoxoxox

Bree*


*Host of Feelz. The Podcast. Have you heard of it? 
Listen here darl.

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This shit got me in my feelings.