• Kristina Cherep

5 Attributes To Have When Caring For Someone With Anxiety or Depression

Hey Readers! Kris thought it might be a good idea if I offer advise on caring for those with Anxiety/Depression. I, being the great husband that I am, have decided to keep my wife happy and do exactly what she tells me (mostly because I love her). Below is a list of attributes it helps to have when in this sort of relationship. To be fair, these attributes would be great for any relationship, but I’ll explain why they’re especially important and how they come in to play in our case. It should be noted that I’m not an expert on the subject, but I have had a lot of experience in the matter from my many years being with Kristina.

1. Understanding

  • First thing’s first, you must understand that a mental illness is like any other illness or disability of the body. Although a mental illness may not be as visible, the symptoms and limitations are just as real. Think of it this way, when we see someone in a wheel chair we easily realize their needs and limitations since their disability is right there in the open. We don’t find it strange that it’s difficult for them to reach things or climb stairs, because that’s just the nature of the disability. Someone with a mental illness may not be able to handle a certain situation or feel a certain way, not because they don’t want to, but because their brain won’t allow them.

2. Sacrifice

  • Sometimes you’ll have to give up things that aren’t important. I’m talking about the plans you make and the things you’re doing. They’ll seem important at the time, but in the long run you’ll find it’s best to push these aside when your loved one needs you. Throughout my time with her, I’ve learned that Anxiety can hit at any time and for whatever reason. Yes, there are reoccurring triggers you can come to expect and avoid, but there will be many more you never see coming. When it does hit, you can be sure it’ll disrupt something. Anxiety doesn’t play second fiddle. So whether you’ve got big plans with family/friends or you’re playing a live online game (that can’t pause), you might have to set it aside to help them through their anxiety attack.

3. Comfort

  • You should be able to offer comfort both physically and emotionally. By physically I mean hugging, holding, or even scratching their back (“Back Scratchies” are her favorite). Emotionally could be words of encouragement and just being someone for them to talk to. Some people are better than others at getting through an anxiety or depression episode, but many people will need help with it. You need to be there as their help. With anxiety, I’ve found that it helps to remind them that it doesn’t last forever and that it will pass. Depression is a tricky one. I don’t know the best thing to say when they’re down other than reminiscing about good memories or encouraging them to try doing something other than staying in bed all day. Those are a couple of things I’ve found to help in my case.

4. Patience

  • With anxiety it’s about being patient through an episode. You can’t try to rush them through it. Help them understand that it’s going to happen and they just have to ride the wave. You must be patient and be there for them. Some can last only a few minutes, while others can take hours. The important thing is to not rush it or to make them think it’s wrong to feel that way and that they need to suppress it.

  • With depression patience can be about letting them come to you. Encourage them as much as you can and let them know you’re there when they need you. Ultimately, it has to come from within them, though. You can’t force your loved one to do things or feel happy. You just have to be there and let them know that you are there. All you can do is all you can do. Sometimes it’s just going to be that way for awhile, but they will get through it. It might take a week; it might take a year. But that shouldn’t matter because I’m sure you already know that they’re worth it.

5. Communication

  • Give them ample time to process change. Change no matter if it’s small or significant can be a big trigger for someone with anxiety. So I’ve learned. Most of the time their anxiety will trigger regardless of if you give them a minute notice or a year notice. That being the case, it’s best to give them the most amount of time to process it. This is one of those cases where it’s not a good idea to procrastinate. Trust me.