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“Genie, You are Free": Ways to Help a Loved One Get Help

The recent mural to honor the Late Robin Williams in Chicago has made news, and of course, many emotions. This has been bringing back memories of  his cause of death, along with other celebrities who passed in 2018 due to suicide. Often, we have friends or family members who are going through a difficult time (or even ourselves), and this can lead to thoughts of suicide. It’s important to recognize the signs of someone who is struggling, how to get them support that is needed, and what questions to ask and what to avoid.

Understanding Depression

  • Depression is a serious condition. Being aware of a person’s energy and motivation can help you understand if they are feeling depressed. Loved ones cannot just stop feeling that way.
  • Symptoms aren’t personal. Everyone experiences symptoms that are different, and they also express them differently. Some people might express them with anger or some might shut down. Understand that this is not the real person you know, they are just struggling with some difficult times at the moment.
  • Hiding won’t help. Some people think that staying indoors and making excuses for not doing things can help. Helping your loved one get out of their normal routine and help them seek support that they need.
  • You can’t “fix” it. Do not try to “fix” how they are feeling. You are also not at fault. Just being there for them and understanding that it is up to the depressed individual to help themselves feel better.

Questions To Ask

  • I have noticed you have not been yourself lately and was wondering, how you have been feeling?
  • I wanted to check in and see how everything is going as you have not been yourself.
  • Are you able to identify what made you start feeling this way?
  • Have you been able to seek any help for your thoughts and emotions?
  • How can I help you at this moment?
  • I may not be able to fully understand how you are feeling, but I want to be able to help you.
  • You may not think you can feel better at this moment, but after some time, you will feel better.

Things To Avoid Saying

  • You are being overly dramatic and need to stop being all in your head.
  • We all have felt this way before, and it isn’t anything major.
  • Look on the bright side.
  • Just snap out of this attitude.
  • What is wrong with you? There is nothing that you can do.

What To Do If They Are Resisting Help

Often individuals will feel like they are okay and do not need help, or that their loved ones are nagging them to get help. There are things that, as a concerned individual, you can do to help your loved one get the support they need. Suggest that your loved one goes for a general check up at their primary physician, or offer to go see a doctor or therapist with your loved one. Go to their first appointment with them, as the first few appointments can cause high anxiety. Thirdly, encourage your loved one to make a note of their symptoms and discuss it with your doctor or their doctor. Having a list can be beneficial prior to seeing a professional in case symptoms have changed.

If you or your loved one feels like they are struggling, contact any of our wonderfully and skillfully trained therapists at Symmetry Counseling for an intake appointment.

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