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7 Ways To Show Love To Someone With Anxiety/Depression

The hardest people to love are the ones who need it most.

In honour of Valentine’s Day, here are some ideas for showing love to friends and family members with anxiety/ depression:

1.) Give Compliments:

Chances are, someone who suffers from anxiety/depression also struggles with self esteem. Help her challenge her feelings of self loathing by giving her sincere, specific compliments. Being specific is really important, because it will make her more likely to remember what you said later. It will also make her more likely to believe you. For example, instead of saying, “You’re a good mom,” you could say something more meaningful: “You are so patient with your children. I love how you encourage them to keep trying. They are so lucky to have you.”
One thoughtful, genuine compliment has more power than 10 careless comments that feel like flattery. Put your heart into what you say.

2.) Offer Your Company:

Appointments, trips to the grocery store or mall can be very trying for someone with anxiety. If your friend has someone he trusts to come along with him, it can be quite helpful. It offers distraction, support, and ensures he won’t have to face unforeseen events, such as a panic attack, all alone.

3.) Send Texts or Email To Ask How They Are Doing….Really:

Text and email might be better for this than a phone call. It can be very hard for someone to open up if they are going through a tough time. Text or email gives her all the time she needs to respond honestly, and might help her be more comfortable. It also takes the pressure off to say she’s “good” or “okay” when that’s not actually the case. In the depths of depression, it is easy to feel like nobody cares. Ask how she is doing, and really listen. Make it all about her. Let her know you believe everything she is saying, and you are there for her whenever she needs. She is not alone.

4.) Take Care Of Him:

Depression can make even the most mundane tasks absolutely exhausting. Self care is often neglected, because the person just doesn’t have the energy, the ability to focus, or the desire to do things for himself. You could cook him a nutritious meal, pay for and send him for a massage or haircut, take care of his kids while he takes a bath. Remind him that he deserves TLC just as much as anyone. This just might help motivate him to start loving and caring for himself.

5.) Invite Her For A Walk Outside….And Keep On Inviting Her:

Being in nature is soothing to the soul, good medicine for anyone. Exercise increases the body’s production of serotonin, which helps reduce anxiety and depression. Exercising outside just makes sense for someone with mental illness, but the hard part is getting her out there. Invite her often, and if she declines, be sure to not make her feel guilty….she probably has plenty of guilt in her life already. Just shrug it off, and invite her again in a few days. Your persistence will let her know you care, and hopefully she will one day accept.

6.) Hug Him….The Longer The Hug, The Better:

We are all familiar with the healing power of a hug. What you may not know, is loving gestures like hugs cause the body to release oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.” Oxytocin causes relaxation, and aids sleep, perfect for someone with anxiety/depression. So hold him tight, for as long as you can, and you will be helping him feel better on an emotional and physiological level.

7.) Let Her Be

The hardest, most isolating part of mental illness is trying to live up to real, or imagined pressure from family and friends to be happy.

Accept that she is not happy today.
Offer no advice on how to change her mood.
Be with her when she is irritable, and don’t make her feel guilty for it.
Let her know that although you don’t fully understand what she is going through, you believe every complaint she has, and you respect her strength in living through it.

Let her be.
Don’t force her to pretend.
Love is unconditional, after all.

Thanks for reading!
Be Brave, and Talk
Please scroll down if you would like to follow me on facebook, or to read more from me.

For the opposite perspective, please see my follow up post, “7 Ways Someone with Anxiety/Depression Shows Love”

http://www.bebraveandtalk.com/2015/03/04/7-ways-someone-with-anxietydepression-shows-love/

211 thoughts on “7 Ways To Show Love To Someone With Anxiety/Depression”

    1. My daughter is coping with anxiety/depression. It started to show about a year ago, she is 14. Most people refused to believe that such a pretty, smart, athletic young girl could be stricken with this. They said she was just seeking attention, when in fact the last thing she wanted was attention drawn to herself. In all outward appearances, she seemed confident, self -assured, the all around package. But, what they didn’t know was that many nights she would cry herself to sleep and didn’t know why. What is wrong with me she wanted to know. She started to be unable to go places if there were too many people or only with certain friends who she completely trusted. My heart was breaking for her, it was so hard to see my little girl so confused and scared. Lucky for us, we have an amazing doctor. The biggest thing for my daughter was the fact that someone other than me recognized and acknowledged that she actually did have a real condition, and that there was help for her. She has made amazing progress and is happy and outgoing once again. I urge all parents to really listen to their children and don’t ignore their pleas for help. Early intervention can make the difference between a quick road to recovery or a long and sad struggle that will only get worse.

      1. I just wanted to revise the last part of my message. My choice of the word quick maybe isn’t appropriate, it’s an ongoing process. What i meant was the sooner they receive help the better.

      2. I’m glad your daughter has received the support she needs. To not be believed is one of the most hurtful, difficult things to deal with when you are suffering. I’m not sure if you have read any of my other posts, but I do describe my teenage years in some of them. I didn’t even make any pleas for help , my parents had no idea until later on. So in addition to really listening, I would say watching closely for signs is another good idea. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment. I wish your daughter and you all the best.

      3. I suffer with anxiety and have a phobia of leaving the house, haven’t been past my front door in over 6 months, only see1 of my 10 friends cause I don’t trust any of them enough, if anyone of my friends would come round or if I were to go out I’d have a massive panic attack and then be too scared to leave the house as I know it will happen again. Went to the doctors 4 times ( which was incredicbly hard for me) and all I got offered was to stop drinking caffine and go to group threapy, even though I can’t go to places I don’t know or speak to people I don’t know, docotrs haven’t help me at all I’m still stuck in the same place. Its my 18th next month and ill be sat in watching telly, I’d usually be out partying with my friends, my life has been taken away. I’m so happy for your daughter that she’s got the help and she can carry on enjoying her life x

        1. Hi Leah, I would like to recommend a book to you. It’s called Essential Help for your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes. It has a whole chapter on agoraphobia (fear of leaving the safety of home). It will help you understand what you’re feeling and it gives practical steps to move forward. You could order it online.

  1. this is very true I believe it because I live it—if someone was to hug me tight I feel as though I could breath again and I love being outsid ei the snow even more because I feel again
    thank you for this I wish everyone would acknowledge the power of caring.

    1. You are welcome, and thank you. I think sometimes people are uncomfortable and unsure of what to do when they know you are suffering. Hopefully someone out there who loves someone with anxiety/depression will read this and get some insight about how they can help.

      1. You’re welcome. I’ve struggled with depression the last couple years like I never had before. I learned a lot more about it than I ever knew before. I’ve done some writing on it, too. A lot of people just have no clue how to help so they just don’t do anything, which makes it all worse. Everyone needs to read a list like this.

  2. Spot on. Very very helpful. I want to be alone and at the same time have people near – depression is such a contradiction most of the time. All of these points are so helpful!

  3. Great article Amylynn – full of practical suggestions and loads of compassion. I totally agree about anxiety and depression going hand in hand and people not realising that. I’m wondering whether you might be willing to share your story with others at the site I’m putting together with people’s real experiences of depression? You’d be very welcome: it’s depressionstory.com

  4. I agree with 90% of what you said as a long-term sufferer of the depression/anxiety cycle. I had years of therapy and decided long ago I would always need to be on a medication to balance myself out. I’m not afraid of medication now and I take Effexor for both anxiety and depression. My only difference is….I’m not a big hug person. If the person extending the hug is in my inner circle of love, I appreciate it. Even close friends that sort of know I struggle with depression (I am very open now and talk about my dark days 15 years ago), I don’t really want the pressure of “forced” intimacy. So for me, point 6, needs to be judged on the person. I’m not a hugger….

  5. Great article… Thank you …I would love a hug, but alas, none. I crave human touch but recoil, cause it feels foreign .
    I feel anxiety when entering a room with people I do not really know.
    Personal compliments are foreign .
    I have learned to live with it but I do not like it
    That’s life.
    That’s me.

  6. Reblogged this on Reluctant Mysticism and commented:
    #7. Dear God, #7.
    A huge wound that’s easily infected when speaking of mental illness is the competing needs demanding fulfillment at the same time. I might be desperate for company, a hug, a compliment or a text. But when I am given any or all of those things, my spirit is so incapable of receiving them that I need to shut down and back away. Part of my spirit is relieved through doing so, but the rest of my spirit is grieving for the loss.

  7. After living with depression and anxiety most of my adult life; I am now facing living with my 16 yo daughter who is dealing with the same illness, and she also tried to end her own life. Your list helps me, although I have strived to obtain what is on your list from my own husband, it will help me to better cope with my daughter and hopefully leaving your list on my computer screen, just maybe, and I mean maybe hubby will read it and change his attitude toward what it is that I am struggling with. I thank you so much for putting your list out there. I will be sharing it as well as living it. Again, Thank you and God Bless.

  8. As someone who has and continues to struggle with depression, I have to say for me the most meaningful thing on this list is the last one. Just being there and letting me know I am loved makes a huge difference.

  9. Thank you so much! This is spot on and hopefully will help those who are fortunate enough to not suffer will depression/anxiety to understand what we deal with daily.

  10. God has used you to minister to many. It’s not easy to say I need this or that much less I don’t want whatever the case maybe. Thank you and praying for God to continue to use you to help other’s and in turn yourself.

  11. I completely agree with your list. I dont suffer from depression or anxiety but I have been with someone for 7 years that does…yes grocery store trips are hard and even if shes excited to go to the mall to shop for a beautiful outfit, there is still anxiety an of course the self esteem issues.. hugs are absolutely amazing and we hug SEVERAL times a day. I hope not only those with depression and anxiety read this but also those that have love ones do.

  12. what about when you have been dealing with a depressed person for over FIVE YEARS? I have nothing positive left in me to say, or to pretend to care. What about me? I’m sorry this sounds so selfish but honestly, it’s been about him for 5 years. It’s time to think about me.

    1. It is extremely difficult living with someone who suffers mental illness. I did not mean to exclude that very real truth. It is something I will likely write about later. I do not know your situation, but perhaps counselling for the both of you could save the relationship. I wish all the best for you and your partner.

    2. Someone who is living with depression is often dealing w/ other issues as well. One thing effects another, that effects another, and before you know it each problem is exacerbating the other.

      You think it’s hard to live w/ someone suffering from depression for 5 years? Try BEING the person afflicted with depression for 5yrs, or a decade, or longer! e don’t enjoy being in this place. I’m not saying any of the responsibility is on you. No. In fact, all of the responsibility is on the person who is depressed. However, the person suffering can ONLY focus on their problems and cannot focus on yours. So you have to focus on your own.

      If you cannot or don’t want to do both, then you really need to move on. I’ve lost friends one after the other, I’ve lost relationships one after the other. It used to make me mad at them for ‘abandoning’ me but I finally realized… it’s nobody’s job to take care of me. I need to take care of myself And since I’m not very good at that, then I need to understand that if people leave, it’s OK because they’re allowed to set their own limits and boundaries. That said… it’s an extremely lonely existence to be so afflicted by something that is so difficulty to fix. And that’s *ass*uming it’s fixable! If we could just take a pill, we’d all be happy, now wouldn’t we? Of course. If a little therapy would wrap it up so we could move on, then I supposed we’d all have done that already. Dontcha think?! YES. It just doesn’t work that way.

      The loneliness of living with depression runs very deep. I need a hug so badly that even thinking about it makes me sad… I haven’t had a *real* hug, or a loving kiss, or an intimate touch in so long that it feels like a lifetime ago. I’ve been alone for a very long time. I have friends…. very few friends, but they’re golden. The few that have learned to let me deal w/ this dark cloud over my head on my own and please don’t give up on me, keep inviting em to stuff, sometimes I’ll actually show up and enjoy my time with them. I can accept an invite or even initiate a meeting with someone for a little human contact, that’s not so hard. I can call a friend to help move a (whatever) or build (whatever) or accomplish a task I need help with… but I can’t call a friend and ask, “Would you come over and just hold me for a while?”

      To you, the person living with someone with depression, it’s all on the outside. You can’t possibly relate to what’s going on inside the depressed person if you have never felt it yourself. With every failure, with every loss, with every negative action or reaction, the depression drive deeper and deeper. Lack of love, lack of support, lack of encouragement, lack of contact — those things all make the situation inside the depressed person — worse. You’re not expected to fix it. Hell, you’re not even expected to understand it. But you can still react to them with compassion.

      Suffering from severe depression is no different that suffering from any other serious disease or illness. This isn’t just a bad day or a grumpy mood. We’ll never ever just “snap out of it”. It’s OUR affliction and our battle to fight. We want you to stick around and help.But if you can’t, then you need to move on.

      1. Rosie…your comments are so very important and your explanations are helpful….but when you say “…you think it’s hard to live w/ someone suffering from depression for 5 years? Try BEING the person afflicted with depression for 5yrs, or a decade, or longer!” you are minimizing the experience of those of us trying to love a person with depression in much the same way you are asking us not to minimize your experience. The “trying BEING the person” argument is much the same as the “snap out of it” argument – neither are ok or helpful. Showing empathy and respect for both sides of this topic (the person suffering from depression as well as those of us who are relationship with such a person) is the way we get through this with grace and love.

        My husband suffers from depression and I am doing my best to love him through this with compassion and integrity and patience. With his permission, I even blog about it. And it is difficult for both of us.

  13. With a family member or a friend they just need to know we are always there for them with love a d understanding to help them over come anxiety depression xx

  14. Wow the strength in all these messages is enough to get anyone through anything. All of you are so BRAVE! I was diagnosed with depression at 35 and was told “its not my fault” its hereditary and will need to be on medication for the rest of my life. At first it was tough to swallow as I had always been in control of my life, then with some hardwork positive self talk and tons of support I am much better. Keep talking about Mental Health! Thanks for the great article YOU ROCK GIRL!!!!

  15. All piratical ways of how to help someone with a mental illness, nice I like it. Its something more people should be open about, you never know the person next to you might be suffering in silence. Point that stood out for me was email and text them and don’t give up if they don’t respond.

  16. Only one thing I disagree with here, as a person with a history of walking depression and recently returning anxiety, a massage is the last thing I would ever want. I don’t know about anyone else, but the touchy touchy grabby thing with massages gives me the creeps

  17. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder by the time I was 14… honestly some of these points explained things I’ve wished for but didn’t know how to say because I get so uptight and caught up in my mind when I get emotional. But this is exactly how I feel, thank you. Really, thank you

  18. Thank you so much for this post. I am currently very depressed, and I found myself in every single word from this article. It is a great way for your loved ones to be helpful indeed. I don`t know what to say more than thank you so much !

  19. I needed this today. It has not been a good day. It is so hard to communicate to my husband that sometimes im just having a bad day, and I can’t even explain why without crying and getting upset. Im going to have him read this and hopefully it will enlighten him about what I need and am going through on a daily basis. Thank you.

    1. When I started writing this, that is exactly what I was doing. When writing report cards as a teacher, when stating curriculum expectations, using “they, them,” is edited to “he or she.”I thought about this, and realized using he and she, but taking turns with it, made it sound a bit more personal….which was what I was going for. Thanks for the comment….hope the pronouns didn’t ruin it for you.

  20. I been diagnosed and fighting with depression and anxiety since 9 and now I’m turning 20 . This article is very good for people that doesn’t actually understand someone that is suffering with it . A lot of articles say:” don’t worry they will just grow out of it”. But more than one opinion to help is perfect great article!

  21. A wonderful, wonderful post. You are clearly giving voice to many of us in it. It resonates for me around both my depression and anxiety and I am learning to ask for these things when I need them, but not always able. I will be sharing. <3

  22. I’ve been diagnosed with these horrible disease when I lost my parents. My dad heart attack, and recently it got worst coz of my moms brain cancer. We lost her June 4,2012. Still mourning till now. We all know what Cancer is but, we don’t really know how painful until we are in that situation. We feel the pain likes its just yesterday.

  23. I’ve struggled with Anxiety and Depression for around 7 years. I’m finally in a place where the depression is subsiding. But i honestly cannot say enough about the second to last point here, when I was at university one of my flatmates would give me a big long hug every single day. She didn’t care if i didn’t want to, she would always make me. At the time I didn’t understand, but I am so thankful.

    It helped me so much, I cannot thank her enough. While I’m still learning to live with Anxiety, I feel like I can do it. Knowing that there is someone in your life who really, genuinely cares is such a huge part of recovery.

    I hope one day I will gain the confidence to let her know how she changed my life, and to give her the thanks she deserves.

  24. What a thought-provoking post! I say all the same things, it just never occurred to me to explain them! And you’ve done such a calm, clear job! Very nice work. Sharing and coming back for more. Thank you!

  25. Thank you for such helpful advice! I have just come out of a major depressive episode and kept berating myself but I know that does not help. I like your comment about being in nature, I find it relaxing.

  26. We have a 30 yr old daughter who has been married to a great guy for about two yrs now but He is very outspoken, and knows everything about everything. Our daughter used to be very caring and extremely close to her mother… Over the last year or so, she has changed so very much !
    She will not allow any other points of view, no opinion other than her own and seems unhappy and very volatile most of the time. We know she truly loves her husband and us, she is also struggling with trying to conceive without any luck for almost a year. We feel that this is a big part of her problem and deppression, as she is convinced that there is something wrong with her – even though all medical testing etc says everything is alright.she is seeing a councillor but what can we do ( other than offer assurance and love) to get back the happy, wonderful daughter we used to have ?

    1. Thinking something is wrong health wise has certainly been a symptom of anxiety for me throughout my life. I hope in time things improve fr your daughter. It took well overa year for my hubby and I to conceive our first child. She is still young, and really has nothing to worry about…..but not worrying is easier said than done. I wish you and your family all the best. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and for reading.

  27. I have read your advice and all I could do is cry. I have fought depression/anxiety for 30 years. It all made sense to me. For those who have never dealt with someone with mental health issues usually don’t understand. Well I do and thank you for the well written advice. God bless you. It truly did make my day.

  28. This is so insightful. I’ve been married to my wife for 14 years. She has always fought depression and even attempted suicide in her late teens. Almost a year ago she made another attempt and the depression has gotten worse. Thank you for this. My advise to those living with some one depressed is get a strong support group. Mine is my family and our church. Then set your mind your married in sickness and in health.

  29. My boyfriend has anxiety so it’s a daily struggle to know what to do if/when he has a panic attack. Especially since I’ve never gone through something similar. So I’ve been trying to figure out the best ways to support him. I really appreciate this post, just what I needed.

      1. I too have been battling with depression and initially with panic attacks but luckily I beat them, literally I mean as having had one or two and being really frightened as I had no idea what was happening to me and I felt myself sliding off the chair as if I hadn’t a bone in my body but was fortunate enough to be meeting my councillor the next day and told him what had happened he told me what they were and they were all in my mind and to fight them which I did and only ever had two partial ones since then so for all you who are having panic attacks , keep fighting as they are only in the mind so stay strong and be well stephen

    1. Hi Karen.
      Ive been struggling with anxiety and panic attacks for 5 years and its very hard. What has helped me the most, is the support my boyfriend has had with me. He is constantly reminding me how valuable i am and that everything is going to be ok. Every time i feel that the panic attack is about to come he just hugs me very very tight and say: relax, breath in, breath out, i am here with you and everything is going to be ok, i am protecting you.
      As going through this attacks you feel misunderstood, i feel that way and i guess your boyfriend feels it to. Its just the worse feeling in the world and you may not understand it till you live it so just try to support him and try to give him inner confidence. Try to talk to him and LISTEN to him.
      The therapy that has best worked for me is: biofeedback.
      I hope this helps. (sorry for my bad english)

    2. My other half has agoraphobia, he didn’t leave the house for years. I’ve become an expert over the last 16 years. Sometimes you comfort and just listen. Sometimes you need to tell him he’s being irrational. You find an even balance of doing the things he cannot and refusing to do the things he can. Baby steps, everyday over and over.
      Anxiety is in many ways self created or at least self fueled. Whatever the first trigger was the person will remember how they felt during the panic attack they don’t want to feel that way again and start feeling anxiouse think about it and then a full blown panick attack. It’s an awful cycle. Teach him how to challenge his thoughts. Like are people really looking at me?
      He needs to be on medication. He needs to stop the cycle anyway he can. He can take medication before a situation that causes anxiety or one everyday. If he’s tried many things and nothing works it’s time to see a new Dr who has a fresh perspective.
      For you, find someone who understands. Just like if this were battling cancer, it will be a struggle for the person doing the caring. This will impact your life. You will learn his triggers, you will learn how and what eases it. Stay strong and observe and then you will know to best respond for him.

  30. These are all so on point. I wish my loved ones would actually do any of these. They tend toward the strategy of “act as if nothing is wrong” or, more commonly, “completely fail to notice that anything is wrong.” There are times when I would give anything just to have someone ask me if I’m okay.

      1. Then I believe to will pull yourself up and out of it. It’s hard but not at all impossible. People need you.. People you haven’t met yet..You got to be there when they cry out, metaphoricaly
        speaking.. Take good care cuz your what it’s all about..

  31. ive had anxiety and depression issues my whole life I’m 21 now and I’ve felt like this since I was 6 and didn’t get my first hug till I went to college. It really helped but it’s an ongoing struggle for all of us there needs to be less stigma around the subject of mental stability so young people understand how to help others in need and this article does that. Thank you.

  32. Thank you for this article. A person can be surrounded by people, be married, have kids yet they are sometimes the most loneliest people on earth! Also they are the best actors as well. We can grin, laugh at times and look quite normal, but deep down we are dying…I would say yes, a touch, hug, a sigh, a smile with eyes of “I got you” and no words, are all we need. I know, I deal with this and accept I have it.
    Thank you, I would hug you all and especially you for writing this!

  33. My 16 year old daughter has just recently been diagnosed with depression. This article is a really good guide on how to help gently. Yesterday was the first day we didn’t exercise together, and last night was one of our worst nights ever.

  34. Thank you. Really. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. The level of truth in this piece is such that I am crying now. I wish I had people who understood this. And now I have a tool with which to help them understand.

    1. Thank you. I don’t think anything can totally cure anxiety/depression….but feeling loved, believed, and supported sure goes a long way in helping. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

  35. thanks for the article. I suffer from anxiety and depression and really don’t think people understand me. And if I show your site to them they would think I’m feeling sorry for myself or that I think they are doing something wrong. Kind of a catch 22. You know what I mean? Thanks again for the article.

  36. Thanks for the read, I will pass it on to my husband. For the most part he does most of the suggestions but its nice for him to read it, because he then knows he cares enough to try different things in making my anxiety livable

  37. I think these make a lot of sense – having both depression and anxiety, I think most of the things here are really true for me. Especially the last one. I wish more people would read this…it’s so easy to feel like a burden and a bad friend when people don’t do these things.

    The only one I question is number 5 (or maybe 2, in the same vein). In general, I think it’s good advice, don’t get me wrong. Knowing that someone is willing to be with me if I need it is nice to know. But I do wonder if there’s any way to avoid the guilt. I have a friend that I feel like really tries to do this for me, and he does this list pretty well…but no matter what, I can’t help but feel more and more guilt-ridden every time he asks to see me and I decline or, for that matter, ignore him because I don’t have the emotional energy to decline.

    Maybe it’s unavoidable, but perhaps those implementing these tips should make sure to keep these things in mind. In the end, I guess I agree with the advice, since I think it might be worse if they didn’t extend the invitation.

    1. Ah, guilt. I’m not sure if you have ever tried cognitive therapy….but you can try to battle it by trying to change the way you think…it is tiring, and hard, but possible. Your friend(s) would not be doing anything for you that they didn’t want to.

    2. It takes a while to recondition the brain to think positively. We’re so use to thinking negative and feeling bad. It’s good your friend values you! He sees all the good like a white sheet. But if it has a speck on it, we feel we are only that speck and forget the white…the goodness we have. I know it’s hard sometimes but dwell a little on how positively he sees you! You deserve it!! Hugs

    3. Sending you a virtual hug, Rich.

      I get it. I *am* that friend and I know there’s a very fine line between helping and pestering. It’s hard, and I try to stress fairly often that while I am always available I am not by any means pushing. I know that if or when my BFF feels guilty about “ignoring” me it works best for us if we just talk about that guilt outright. It happens every once in a while.

  38. I like how the title of this refers to showing love to “someone” with depression/anxiety, yet the entire article uses “she” as the depressed person.

  39. It’s nice to know that some people “Get us”. I’ve suffered from bi-polar disorder for 20 yrs. now and am married to someone who suffers from paranoia schizophrenia/depression, so I’m on both sides! I give and get! This could be lifelong so thanks for the reminders!

  40. Thank you so much. Having such a person in my life is what I really need at the moment. Sometime it really makes difficult when there is no one around to care of me.. Thanks once again.

  41. All sounds good and true. most people who suffer
    depression/anxiety need to be loved held and hugged but some just dont have the love to give. This can cause more anxiety and depression than the sickness itself!

  42. Being a sufferer in silence of depression/anxiety I struggle everyday wish I could explain like this to my friends and family

    1. I know how you feel….maybe journal about all the positives in your life and focus on that rather than the negatives…fight the negatives they are destroying your self esteem etc. and focus on the positives….’What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

  43. I suffer with anxiety, panic disorder and depression (besides other things) and I have to say, this is true. When I met my boyfriend, he immediately related to me, having struggled with anxiety issues many years ago. Because he overcame his issues, he thought he could cure mine. We bumped heads for awhile because I tried to show him we are all different, and what works for some might not work for others. Over time, with patience, love and understanding he actually is helping me…slowly. By letting me, just be, and also giving me attention, love and kindness and most importantly NOT JUDGING…he has given me so much help. This is a great article for those who suffer and for those who want to help the one suffering…remember, patience is key and love is essential.

  44. I struggle daily with depression (as in, diagnosed, not just the “I am grouchy because it’s February and I haven’t seen the sun in a week” blues), and I am grateful for this article. Pretty much dead on. Thank you, so much.

  45. I don’t disagree with you on this article…. I don’t suffer from depression /anxiety.. so I don’t know how that exactly feels..

    I could be severely depressed with what has happened in my life…. being obese since childhood, not being able to have children for a very long time, having a huge debit due to that, having my spouse go through motorcyle accident, cancer, and losing a parent..but I have been a person that has always had the understanding that this is life and we have to live it.. regardless…

    I have tried these most of these things with a sibling that is always up and down.. and hugging them, .. they have to be wiling to be hugged.. being open to people loving them.. period.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment. The thing I do disagree with, is you seem to be thinking that having depression or anxiety is a choice. Life circumstances surely can make it worse, or be a cause if it is PTSD, but, being depressed is not a “feeling” that someone chooses to have. It is far more than being sad. You are very fortunate that the hormones and receptors are all balanced in your brain and body. Otherwise you would have had a far more difficult time dealing with your very challenging life circumstances.

      1. I have had anxiety and Depression for many many years…Although I was kind of like in “remission” from my first major Depressive disorder I recently and am currently going through my 2nd major Depression. Just remember people, always keep fighting your emotions, get help, Meditate, ask for help until you get the right help. It may take a few tries of different meds but there is one or two that will get you through this “HELL”. Love yourself, exercise, Yoga, rest, eat well, cry if you need to. (I cried constantly) This will pass I promise. But you will always have that feeling of a little Depression and anxiety. Use your “Toolbox” for getting you through your day’s. Spirituality is helpful. Love to all who suffer like I do. We must stick together and get rid of the stigma. Blessing to all!!! <3

  46. All the advice sounds good, but what happens when you have no one? I’d also like to know how many of the people who have left comments obtained husbands, wives, boy friends, girl friends, etc. I’ve suffered with Anxiety/Depression for close to 50 years. I’m pretty much a hermit. I can’t go on a date, join any groups, I rarely leave my house because of anxiety. I’ve been through every type of therapy one can imagine, nothing helps. I guess my point is, try to be positive about being fortunate enough to have someone in your life!

    1. Maybe you could start with joining online support groups? It doesn’t compare to face to face interaction, I know. But perhaps it might help you feel a little less alone? I have a facebook page that I am trying to build into more of a support group. You could follow it if you want. Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting too.

      1. I think that everyone with depression should start with supporting group. Supporting partner is one thing but therapy is necessary to change the way of thinking. In example, most of depressed and or anxious people does not notice compliments from his patrner and will deny it. Love should be unconditional but how for long can partner stand giving more than he gets?

        1. Support groups do make a huge difference. You raise an excellent point, and a few others have as well. Depression, or any mental illness, is very difficult for the partner, and family. There are support groups for you too, perhaps you could look into that. Counselling for both of you might also help. I have had a relationship with someone suffering bipolar disorder, so I know exactly what you mean, it sucks the life right out of you. I’m not sure I have a good answer to your question.

      2. Hi! My name is Jeff. I suffer from Anxiety, and panic attacks. I been dealing with them for 22 years now. May I Join your Facebook support group.

  47. Errr, as someone with social anxiety, #2 would stress me out so much more. It takes me a long time to build up enough courage to get out of the house and perform the most basic of errands. If someone offered to come with me, I’d feel obligated to accept and then my whole mental scheme of directions of the errands changes. Do I have to wear makeup? An outfit my friend won’t judge me on? Take a shot beforehand to feel more confident and be funny and on point? So, I don’t know…know if the person in question would truly appreciate this

    1. That’s a great point. For me, I think it would depend on who was offering to come with me….my mom, my husband, my siblings…..that would definitely help. A more distant friend though….you are right, it could make things worse. Thanks for the comment!

  48. Great ideas and insights. However, I take issue with #6. Not everyone likes to be hugged/touched. ESPECIALLY during an anxiety attack. Take the time to learn their triggers. Be mindful of their body language. And don’t take it personally if they flinch or pull away.

  49. I totally love this! My best friend has suffered from anxiety and depression since she was a young girl. She has only, within the last few years, really opened up and let me ‘in’ ….. And I mean really opening up and explaining things, letting me know what she truly feels like. I even witnessed and helped her through an anxiety attack for the first time. I know it’s difficult to let people in if you are a sufferer…. You’re embarrassed and ashamed. But if you can find a friend who you can totally trust ‘with your junk’ (as my friend and I call it), that may be a tremendous help to you. Don’t be afraid to let people in. After helping her through her attack, I got home and was completely exhausted. But then I got to thinking how exhausted her (and her husband, who is totally supportive) must be. I found her the next day and gave her a huge hug and just told her that I thought she was amazing. I could not imagine having to go through all that and still be able to function in every day life. She has been there for me during some of the darkest hours of my life and I just want to do the same for her..

  50. I commend you for your advice for these people with depression and anxiety.You make them feel important in their lives, which they are.also. If they need someone other than us human beings to talk to, pray about it to God and he will always be your friend and he’ll always listen to you and help you overcome depression and anxiety.

  51. I’ve been dealing with severe depression, anxiety, and a mood disorder for a very long time. I remember my first suicide attempt was when I was 8; I am now almost 26. This article is good and I wish more people would read and act on this. My only disagreement is with the hugging. While it does work under a normal situation, physical contact for me causes a panic attack. I believe that stems from lack of it during my childhood and when my mother realized my disorders were just that and not “a phase” she tried to go hug crazy and it made things worse. To verbally offer a hug is nice and rarely I’ll even take you up on it. I have been doing better, took me a good while but I have no problem with my husband. Working on forcing myself to hug others first, makes it much easier but still oh so awkward. Thank you again for the amazing article.

  52. I was diagnosed with depression before. I suffered for years. Late teens upto my early 20s. I had to go to a psychiatrist that time. It got better as time passed by. But now after giving birth I have noticed that my emotions are hard to control. I have temper, I get irritated fast, i stress out about small things, I’ve become extremely moody than before and I sometimes feel sad for no reason. Can someone tell me what this is? Or is anyone experiencing same thing?

    1. Because you have a history of dexpression, you are at a greater risk for postpartum depression. This happened to me after my second baby, and everything you describe sounds similar. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about it. I hope you do, for your sake, and your baby’s. I wish you strength in seeking help.

        1. Hi again. PPD can last a long time, from what I have been told/read. Even years after having the baby. I didn’t cope, to be honest. It got very bad, and started affecting my physical health. (One of my other blog posts is about this.) When I went to the dr for the health concerns, he eventually figured out it was anxiety/depression, made worse bc I was post partum. I got medication and took counselling, and attended groups. I think you should visit a doctor, and tell them everything.

  53. i have suffered with aniexty and panic attacks for 5 years now it has effected my whole life including my children and husband..It is so bad i havent drove a car by myself or go to a store alone!! I wish i would wake one day and have my life back….

  54. Thank you for writing this piece I have suffered from both anxiety/Depression for more years than I would like to admit. I have lost friends due to my depression and almost my life. Your article hits home on all the right points,I feel comfortable with someone I trust, someone that I feel will not let anything happen to me and it helps. To all you who suffer from this terrible illness keep fighting and never give up.

  55. Thank you for this advice. I have a 15 year old daughter who suffers from ASD, OCD, and right now it’s her anxiety disorder that is very high. It’s at the point that I’m looking into a type of home schooling cause I just can’t get her out the door at home to get her to school. She has alot of worries with the social part at school. So again thank you for the tips (some of which I was already doing, so the reassurance that I was on the right path helps me)

  56. Some of these human acts are so easy to give to a sufferer and could make such a huge difference to their self esteem and life in general.
    They are well thought out and above all, humane and warm hearted.
    I wish that I had received more of this when I was suffering these damaging conditions.

  57. Excellent advice. My mom is depressed and she lives with me. Sometimes I feel I can’t take any more of her negativity and I get very impatient, so we fight a lot.
    Reading your words as they are, made me realize she’s in a big need of love and understanding.
    Thank you for putting into words the feelings she might have and that I couldn’t understand.

  58. What should I do if the person I love will not leave the house at all. I’ve done all those things you wrote about for the last year and half and there has been no progress. I feel likenn nothing is ever going to change and it scares me. I’m really lost it hasn’t always been this way.

    1. It sounds to me like they really need a doctor. Do you know any medical professionals? Or people who,work in mental health? Maybe you could try to get someone to come to your house.?? I feel for you and your partner. I hope you manage to convince them that never leaving the house definitely means medical help is needed. Good luck to you.

  59. Great article; it demonstrates the power of human kindness, but I’m really worried by the number of comments suggesting that anxiety and panic attacks are permanent in your lives. Anxiety and panic attacks can be very effectively treated with hypnotherapy using a technique called The Rewind. Good luck and best wishes to all. There honestly is light and hope at the end of the tunnel. xx

  60. Thanks for info. Some things I knew already. Some things are new. I suffer from anxiety and depression and take meds Sometime they don’t always work. God Bless you!

  61. After 7 years my ex, who had depression, broke it off. He was always going on about how much he appreciated everything I did for him and that I was always there for him. We gamed together a lot and he would always say that I was the healer he had always been looking for: in game and out. But then, out of the blue, he flipped. Just started reaming me out about things that didn’t make sense. He got mad just ’cause I said I only ever wanted to be there for him and support him. I’m not sure what I did wrong. :-/

    1. This is just a guess, obviously I have no idea about your situation. But, perhaps his depression got so bad that he was having delusional thoughts, hallucinations, paranoid thoughts? This happened to a friend of mine, who cut me out of her life abruptly. She started accusing me of things that didn’t make sense as well. My heart goes out to you. He was lucky to have you, and hopefully he will realize it again.

    2. Hi! You did nothing wrong. He sounds like he has undiagnosed bipolar.. This behavior is typical of a bipolar patient. They are up and down and make irrational decisions .. Im sorry that u had to go through that and hope that you find comfort in that you are not the one who has the issues ..

  62. Hello,
    My 18 year old daughter struggles with depression and recently had a traumatic event so she’s been spiraling and picking up old self destructive habits. Up until November she was doing wonderfully. It’s hard as a mom not to be able to fix everything and I’m struggling with how to cope with her not being happy. I look forward to reading more from you.

    1. I can tell you that I totally understand that it is so tough to see your child suffer. I feel for you. Has she been seen or treated for post traumatic stress disorder? I hope in time, with support and proper treatment, she can start feeling better again.

  63. This is a handy reminder list for me. As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, it’s difficult for me sometimes to find ways to support my friends. I do most of these things for them, but when I’m having a really bad day (when I feel like nothing can help me), I forget. Nice to see it written down somewhere.

  64. Wow! This article could not come at a better time in my life. I battled my own depression/anxiety with being in a emotionally and verbally abusive marriage. I then almost became paralyzed after an accident that broke my back and arm. I am much better now but I just needed people to listen and not try to fix it. I battled my own demons for a long time because of how close I was to having my life completely changed forever. It was a lot to handle and most people could not understand why I was feeling the way I did. I bottled up most of it and because people just wanted to “fix me” with more pills.. Now that I am better and ending my marriage of 14 year , things are finally turning around, but I still battle those demons because I am not 100% myself yet. I have physical and mental limitations due to the accident . Thank you again for this article .. PS.. Hugs definitely help more than people realize …

  65. I would like to continue hearing more of your thoughts regarding loving someone dealing with anxiety and/or depression. I have a story to share. Not in a format ready to post at this time, however, I do believe what you have written is dead on as it relates to helping speak to the heart of those who know and love someone struggling with depression and/or anxiety.

    Thank you for writing something that resonates with many and gives people something they can use to help them in their journey. Whether they are a friend or family member associated with someone struggling or they are the one actually struggling with these symptoms it is a helpful launching pad into improving their lives.

    I would love to know if you have a website or blog related to these subjects. I read that you have a Facebook support group. How do I join?

  66. This is a wonderfully simple list. My boyfriend is incredibly patient with me, and does a lot of these things already. My parents on the other hand try really hard to be helpful, but I think sometimes they forget that less can usually mean more. I have a great relationship with them, but they are almost too much at times. I am excited to share this list with them in order to help create a better understand of what I need. Thank you!

  67. This list perfectly explains how to help someone through depression and what not to do. I only wish that this list existed when I was with my ex so he could understand that just telling me that I need to stop being unhappy actually made the problem worse.

  68. Thank you, this is such a great article! I loved reading it and you are spot on. Anxiety and depression makes life rough and it means a lot to see someone understand.

  69. What a wonderful thing to read, as someone who suffers with anxiety it’s really soothing to hear it talked about. To know that others not only understand just how you feel but want to help, is a big help in itself. There is nothing I find more effective than compassion, patience, love and understanding. To those of you feeling like your kind words, thoughts and gestures aren’t breaking the barriers….. They truly are!! Please don’t give up on those you love, some walls are just tougher to break than others but they truly are more penetrable than you think! And never underestimate the power of a hug!! Xxx

  70. i don’t know if it’s just me but when I am on the down side of my bipolar disorder It would be nice to have someone to be there for me but at the same time I don’t want to have someone go out of their way for me. Is this different than most?

  71. This article is very well written and provides me alot of insight as a parent of a child with anxiety. My daughter will not even talk about the anxiety; I believe she is in denial. It is an elephant in the room. I don’t know how to broach the topic…to get to the point where we can have a conversation about it. I worry that if I say anything at all it will set off a shutdown. I am frozen. I understand all 7 of your points but I struggle with how to address issues such as moving towards living independently, speaking openly with family, etc.,

  72. Thanks! That means a lot. And that may be possible. I never knew that could happen. It does certainly put things in a different light.

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