How to help a friend with their mental health issues

Talking about mental health can be anxiety provoking. Especially when someone else’s mental health is in question.

You might feel like you should be there for them, but don’t know where to start or how to approach the subject.

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Discuss Your Mental Health

It can feel impossible to talk to a loved one when you’re feeling sad, upset or depressed.

When it comes to mental health you may feel that you should be able to cope by yourself. If you hurt your back, broke your arm or sprained your wrist, you wouldn’t hesitate to tell others that you had hurt yourself.

So, why should talking about your mental health be any different?

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Why Do I Feel Jealous?

Jealousy is a response to something that you want but don’t feel able to achieve.

Underlying that feeling of jealousy is frustration and anger for not having what others do have. It is seen within our society as wrong to act on these emotions, so we are taught to run from ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ feelings.

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Break Free From Loneliness

Feeling alone can be awful.

You can be surrounded by people but you can still feel like no one understands you or that you can’t be yourself.

Feeling lonely is just like feeling any number of negative emotions such as sadness, anger or frustration. It is a feeling telling you that something needs to change in your life.

Sometimes that feeling of loneliness can be so powerful that you find it impossible to think or feel anything else. You might feel stuck in a perpetual loop of sadness or self-hatred.

What is Loneliness Telling you?

Breaking free from that uncomfortable feeling is how you start to unshackle yourself from the loneliness. Begin to make that change and remember that these feelings are trying to tell you there is something wrong. So how can you start to change?

Why Should I Change?

At this point, you are probably thinking

‘why should I change?’

‘I don’t want to’ ‘Other people find it easy!’

‘Why can’t people just see me?’

I understand that it might feel unfair, but there are two important points I want to make:

  1. Realise that you only ever see others when they are having fun, you never see them when they feel sad and lonely, so you don’t have any idea about how they feel when others aren’t around.
  2. Stop comparing yourself to others and start concentrating on yourself.

You are the only one that can make yourself feel better. It is not up to anyone else if you can’t help yourself.

Make a start

1: Stop feeling validated by being lonely, it is telling you that something is wrong. Use it to push you forward rather than hold you back.

2: Start conversations with others. People will warm to you if you ask them about their day or what they are up to. Remember, people love talking about themselves so ask questions!

3: Try new things. It’s all about finding something that you will enjoy and that will allow you to meet new people. For example, a dance class or a sport. This allows common ground with new people, something to talk about and something for you to focus on.

4: Enjoy your own company. The reason you feel lonely is that you have nothing to do and are relying on others to fill your time and make you happy. If you start something new like a hobby, you won’t have time to feel lonely. That hobby or interest will allow you to have something to talk about and meet like-minded people.

Feeling lonely is a self-perpetuating cycle that can upset you, but also in a sense makes you feel comfortable and in control as something you are used to.

You have the power to break free from feeling lonely whilst also being able to enjoy your time alone, so take these small steps to stop you from ever feeling alone again.

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Start Taking Risks

How often do you take risks in life? When I say risk I don’t mean doing something dangerous but rather, simply trying something new. Anything from trying a new flavour of ice cream to applying for a new job.

Society teaches you to stay safe and be comfortable with what you know. Doing something different would mean taking a risk that might not work out, making you feel sad and dejected. Yet by not taking a risk you stay in the same position and never move forward in your life.

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