It is not uncommon for families and friends of those affected by anxiety and depression disorders to spend months, or even years trying to find out exactly what is wrong with their loved one. This inevitably results in a strain being placed on relationships and can, in extreme cases, result in caregivers themselves developing anxiety or depression problems.
Family and friends often want to help, but are unsure as to how to do this and may wonder if they are actually making the problem worse. It is therefore really important for anyone supporting a sufferer to seek appropriate help and support for themselves and also to gain as much information as possible about anxiety and depression and that is where Anxious minds can support you by providing carers and partners group sessions on how to support your loved ones better and look after yourself.
Living with anyone who has an anxiety disorder or depression can take its toll on the entire family; household routines become disrupted, forward planning of events becomes impossible, engagement in social activities is affected and the sufferers problems start to spill over into all aspects of everyday life.
Helping a family/friend suffering with anxiety or depression
Below is a list of things that we recommend you do if you are a caregiver, and supporting a family member/friend with anxiety or depression:
- Learn as much as possible about the sufferer’s specific problem. Our website and groups can help you do this.
- Be flexible with the sufferer, whilst maintaining a normal routine.
- Be sure to praise achievements irrespective of how small they seem.
- Let the sufferer set the pace for recovery – but always encourage them to try and move forward.
- Reassure your friend or family member that setbacks do occur, and that they shouldn’t be disheartened if they have a bad day its all about small steps with achievable goals.
- Try not to assume you know what the sufferer needs – it is always best to ask.
- Be predictable – don’t surprise the sufferer. If you agree to be at a certain place at a specific time, be there.
- And importantly ensure that you have a strong support network.
- If you don’t look after yourself you will be less effective at supporting others.