Mental health conditions don’t just affect the individual who was been diagnosed with the condition, they also affect the individual’s loved ones. I wrote a post about how to be there for someone when someone is struggling and gave some suggestions on how to be there. These suggestions were to know the symptoms, to not be afraid to communicate concerns, and to know when to contact additional help. These three suggestions come my personal experience as someone with a mood disorder but don’t necessarily take into account the thoughts and feelings of the other person.
Wanting to understand the other side a little better I conducted an interview with one of my loved ones to understand what they experience when I am struggling.
Do you think that understanding your loved ones mental health condition helps you be there for them?
I don’t think I understand the mental health conditions of those I love, because I do not suffer from a diagnosed mental health condition and I believe that mental health conditions affect everyone in different ways.
What is the hardest part of trying to communicate your concerns? What do you do to combat this?
The hardest part of communicating is the underlying fear that my actions will make the situation worse. In order to combat this, I try to maintain a positive affect and clearly communicate that the situation is not permanent nor is it a defining characteristic of the person.
Based upon these responses I would like to update my suggestions on how to be there for someone who is struggling:
Know the symptoms and create an environment that you are both comfortable talking about the situation.