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How To Help An Emotionally Distressed Friend

There’s something unsettling about seeing a friend’s behavior change.

Maybe they’ve stopped replying to your messages or they don’t seem themselves when you’re with them.

There are plenty of signs that show when your friend is having a hard time and it’s important to see them and acknowledge them.

Depression can leave a person feeling lonely and isolated, so as a friend it’s essential to do anything you can to lend a helping hand. In most cases, you won’t be the fix but instead, the needed help to get the recovery process started. It can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to do, so here we discuss a few things that will help when your friend is going through emotional distress.

How Can I Tell My Friend Is Struggling?

Firstly, before you can offer any help you need to be able to identify if your friend is going through a tough time. You would think a simple question would give you the answer you need but realistically, that’s not the case. Many people that struggle will keep everything to themselves so you’ll need to notice a few different signs.

Something that’s common amongst people that are suffering from depression is the lack of social interaction or participation. A friend struggling might stop answering your text messages or phone calls. They might also start canceling plans at the last minute or stop organizing things at all. Severe anxiety and stress will become obvious when seeing them, as will other signs such as increased alcohol consumption or even taking drugs.

Compulsive behaviors set in and rushed thoughts and bursts of energy become normality. If your friend is acting differently and you can’t seem to find out why then it might be time to have a talk and seek some help.

What Can I Do To Help My Friend?

Everyone is different so there isn’t a set way to approach a situation. You might also find the severity of your friend’s condition is different from something you may have experienced in the past so certain situations will require different approaches.

Listen

Something that’s more important than people realize is just to listen. Listen to your friend if they have chosen to talk to you and let them get everything out. When someone is allowed to talk without interruption they might start to feel as though they are making a breakthrough which will make it easier for them to get professional help. If you can be the catalyst for your friend to speak with qualified psychiatrists then you know you’ve done everything in your power to help them. Sometimes it takes more than one conversation, but all in all, listening is one of the best things you can do to help.

Be Reassuring

There’s nothing worse when you’re feeling low than having a friend dismiss it like it’s nothing. Seeking help can feel incredibly lonely and often scary. Being reassuring means supporting your friend and letting them know they aren’t alone. You are there to help and will do anything in your power to help their recovery.

Stay Calm and Patient

As difficult as it is to hear your friend is going through emotional turmoil, it’s imperative you stay calm. Remaining calm is going to show your friend that they’re around people that they can trust and talk to openly. This, in turn, will allow them to stay calmer and feel better about the situation.

Whilst remaining calm it’s best to be patient as well. Sometimes talking doesn’t come naturally or easily and as much as you want to find out about your friend, you should allow them to do it at their own pace. Letting them set the timeline and deciding when to seek help will allow them to feel in control. 

Stay Open-Minded

If you’ve never suffered from any mental illness then it might be quite difficult to impart your opinion. Your perspective can be helpful but try not to make any assumptions. Stay open-minded about the situation and have conversations instead of assuming you know the problems. 

Stay In Contact

One thing you should always do for your friend is to stay in contact. Even though they might not be replying or answering your phone calls, keep going. Feeling low is incredibly lonely and people often feel as though they don’t have anyone to talk to. Show that you’re there and are happy to talk by always being there for them. If someone feels as though they aren’t alone, they might be more willing to look for professional help. 

Seeing a friend distressed is never nice but you have the power to change that. Follow these tips and be as positive as you can without dismissing the feelings of negativity completely. You as a friend can be one of the most important aspects of their recovery. Stay in contact and sit and listen. Don’t let your friends suffer in silence. 

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    How To Help An Emoti…

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