Updated: May 27, 2020
As Mental Health Awareness month wraps up, I want to remind you to check on your strong friends. Check on anyone who crosses your mind. Most importantly, check in with yourself.
Everyone has their way of coping with their struggles and their trauma. Please don't mistake someone's coldness for rudeness. Just have heart and be kind. You never know what someone is experiencing.
This pandemic is unlike what anyone has ever experienced. Not only do people struggle by being trapped in their mental settings, now we've been "trapped" in physical settings.
Although we may not know how to comfort someone through whatever they may actually admit to you. Be a confidant. Be patient. Be the friend you would need.
Assuming someone is fine because they look fine is a huge misconception. Know that the brightest smiles often hide the deepest pains. Ask a friend how they're doing. Not just a "how are you" ask them how they are mentally, how is their energy, what's going right in life and what's going wrong. Open up to the next layer of their personality. Dive in deep.
Below are some tips I've personally wanted to share with you if you know someone who's confessing their struggles of being in a hostile, abusive, or toxic environment.
Don’t tell them they’re stupid or they deserve it. They’re not and no one - NO ONE - deserves it.
DO remind them that they’re loved and worthy. Tell them that you love their brilliance and that they deserve the best. Remind them of their smile and how happy it makes you to see them happy.
Don’t just tell them to get out. If it was that easy, well, we wouldn’t be here.
DO Be there until and when they get out, then hug the hell out of them and remind them that better days are ahead. Offer them the resources they need.
Don’t ask why. They don’t know why. Or sometimes they think they do. Often, it sounds like “it’s love” “I have to” “but my kids” or 47237 other things that are masked acceptance.
DO Be their reason ‘why.’ Show them why not. Remind them that for the thousand reasons to stay there are a thousand more reasons to go.
Don’t speak negatively. Avoid the “you can’t,” “you’ll never,” “it’s your fault,” they hear it enough, trust me.
DO speak strength and patience and demonstrate those attributes. A simple “I’m here for you” and showing that goes a long way.
Don’t make it about the abuser. It already is. Hello narcissism.
DO focus on your friend/loved one. Instead of “you’ll never succeed with him/her in your life.” Try something like “I believe in your potential and the power you have within you to succeed.”
Don’t judge them. Avoid referring to their past mistakes and shortcomings and maintain a neutral or positive body language.
DO be accepting. Say aloud that it’s a judgement free zone and make sure you’re doing everything to keep it that way.
Don’t be discouraged by them closing off on you, being distant, ignoring you or even being aggressive in their tone.
DO offer support in help in any way. Whether it’s dropping off groceries, babysitting for an hour, or sharing some funny memes. The offer won’t go unnoticed, I promise.
Don’t ever, ever give up on them. They’ve likely given up on themselves. They need a hero. They need you.
DO remind them that you’re just a phone call, text, DM, or short drive away. Remind them that they’re loved and what they mean to you. Remind them that hugs are priceless and that you can’t wait for your next girls’ night and laughing until you can’t breathe.
Thank you for reading this.
Thank you for caring enough to be a better loved one, a better you.