Often times as we get older we are told “don’t be so emotional”, “grow up”, “stop stressing”, “you’ll be fine”. If you have ever said this to a friend, sibling or colleague, I want to be the one to tell you the honest truth…your words didn’t help. I know in the moment you might think, “well let me just give them a reality check”, but sadly, you were wrong. And I am going to explain why.
I grew up with OCD and generalized anxiety, so before I ever did anything, I had to overthink it. Sometimes, I would have to think the same thoughts 3 times. I would even think about thinking to see if it would help me stop. It didn’t. I only was recently given some advise for these thinking patterns, “don’t think or react to thoughts, simply become aware of them and let them pass” (shout out to the app Headspace). This piece of advice helped me to pinpoint the root of my anxieties and work on healing and calming my mind.
You want to know the difference between Headspace‘s advice and your longtime colleague Jimmy’s? Headspace‘s advice actually makes sense. You can’t say to someone in a moment of panic, “oh you’ll be fine” because you don’t know that! You have no idea what is going on in their mind! So instead of just waving the situation off like nothing is happening by making a statement, ask a question.
“Is there something I can do?”
“Would you like some water?”
“Do you want me to get someone to help? Someone you trust?”
These questions will help further not only your understand of the situation, but it might just give that person the check they need. Rather than making it seem like you have the answers, ask the questions you need to ask. If you don’t think you can do it, try and find someone who can. Call someone for help if need be.
BUT if you ask that person what is wrong and they don’t want the help, DO NOT PRESSURE THEM. If you didn’t get a straight answer asking once or twice for clarity, you won’t get it after 10 or 15 times.
And don’t judge those people who are trying to cope with any mental illnesses, stress or a personal issues. You are human too, and don’t you forget it! We all go through struggles, some, unfortunately, more than others. But it’s people who ask the questions and try to help that could make all the difference in the world. Cause when you show someone you care, it could really change a whole day for that person.
It might even save them.