I understand now. Anxiety and depression have always been a bit of a bear for me but now I understand why. It is because when I am suffering and finally build the courage to talk to the one I love about it, it seems like it means nothing to them.
If you ask a depressed or anxious person to share with you why they are feeling that way they may not have an answer at that moment. Sometimes it may take days for them to find the courage and words to express their pain to you. For someone who is already feeling weak this is a monumental task. The enormity of it loads more anxiety on their already heavy load so give them time to gather their thoughts and then ask again! Don’t just ask once then expect them to come to you. Show you care. I’m not saying hammer them with questions but show them you are interested in them and their feelings and what it will take to help them.
When someone finally builds the courage to talk to you, DO NOT BLOW THEM OFF. They are already in so much pain that when they talk to you and you don’t listen they shut down. The walls that have been built over time get reinforced where they had allowed you to chip out a window. The bricks and mortar are always at the ready so when you hesitate for mere seconds they start throwing bricks back into the window and closing back off. They took a chance by opening up to you and explaining their feelings hoping that you would understand and you left them hurt again.
I do understand that people are busy. Yes, I’m busy and you are busy and you and you too. When you send that text say something such as, “I have you on my mind and I want us to talk about your day. I’ll call after I get off work.” or “You are so important to me and I know we are both busy so pick a good time for us to talk. I will make the time for you.” Do not send a text that opens a line of conversation you cannot carry on. If you leave them hanging after they have written a paragraph or more, guess what. You just threw their anxiety through the roof. Their immediate thought is, “I’m too much. I overwhelmed them and now I’ve run them off.” There is no middle ground because they overthink and have already thought about how unworthy they are before the contact was established.
Also, keep in mind that having anxiety will make a person physically hurt. They are so tense all night and day that their muscles feel like they have been beat up. No matter how many times a day I unclench my teeth or force my shoulders back out of my ears, they will climb back into a completely tense state. My legs ache from holding tense at night to be ready to run. My back stays in knots continually because of the stress.
On the other side is being sore from depression. When you are depressed you sleep. A lot. Many would rather sleep than deal with their emotions. Laying in the bed absolutely makes your body sore after you have been there for too long. You get stiff and ache. How do you think this makes the person feel? Grumpy and sad because now not only do they have anxiety or depression but they are in pain as well.
The good news is that “most” of us do not feel like this every single day. It is not something I suffer with daily. It is waves of emotion that crash down on me at times while other times the sun is shining and the birds are singing. Please be gentle with people who are suffering. We don’t want to live in our own heads and you making us feel like we aren’t worthy of your time only makes it worse. Be kind. Be soft. Love them they way they need loved even if that means doing a little research on what makes them feel loved.
Realize these are the people who will overcome their anxiety for you if you need them. Even in suffering they can come out fighting a grizzly bear for you because that is how strong their love is for others. Being able to help their self is beyond comprehension, but they won’t give a second thought while helping the one they love.
Some days I am a princess, some days I am a warrior. Choose Wisely.
If you know someone clinically depressed or having a hard time with a mental illness it is necessary for them to get medical help. Support them as much as you can during this time.