Everyone goes through life with a support system. These support systems include family, friends, romantic partners, co-workers, and others. Next to blood relations, friendships are the second most valuable relationships any person will have in his or her entire life. It is an attachment between two or more people built on mutual concern and interest in each other.
Forging Friendships And Its Benefits
Friends are there for you not only in your successes but also in tough times. Having friends is an incredible thing for your mental, emotional, and physical health.
Having great friends makes your life better. It is beneficial to have someone you can trust and carry you in times of trouble. Studies have shown that building friendships increases your serotonin levels, making you happier and less lonely and stressed.
The companionship provided by your friends can also give you a sense of belongingness, as you are now part of a social circle. The benefits of having friends may also manifest in your physical health because you have people with whom you can do healthy activities.
It is gratifying to find a tribe formed by connection and not just forced by blood relations. However, it is also best to be wary. Friends play a vital role in shaping you as an individual. They influence your personality, behavior, and interests more than you think. So be careful whom you’re making friends with.
Mental Illness: Challenging Friendships
Like many things in life, friendships go through rough patches. Some friendships that began early in your life have to end at one point. Some experience a falling out because of irreconcilable differences. Others fail to survive the drastic changes that happen over the years, so they move forward with their lives separately.
Our friends may be fighting secret battles we know nothing about. One good example of this is having a friend with mental health problems. The thought of having someone close to you diagnosed with something so serious can be grueling and worrisome.
Mental disorders affect many functions in an individual, including behavioral and personality changes. Be prepared since there will be moments when your friend may shut you out, which can make communication tricky. Also, expect that your friend may turn down invitations to go out and socialize.
Showing Support To Your Friends With Mental Health Problems
Life is not easy. But life is twice as hard for people troubled with mental disabilities. There is still a strong stigma clouding the subject that many who suffer from disorders refuse professional help.
Here are a few ways on what you need to do when your friend is struggling with a psychological disorder and how you can show your support in his/her battle:
- Accept That Your Friend Will Have Limitations
Individuals with mental health problems, having their capacities severely affected and limited, often get restricted. As mentioned before, there will be days when your friend may feel sad and down. Driving someone to do something when they are having a dreary day will only further push them away from you.
- Avoid Spreading Speculations
While it’s hard to have a mental illness, opening up about it is another challenge. Avoid telling other people the condition of your friend as it is a sensitive topic for them. It is not an easy journey for your friend and it will be helpful that it remains confidential between you.
- Listen Attentively
Everyone faces difficulties in life. There are times when you may feel exhausted as you also have burdens to carry. However, it is critical for people with mental illnesses to have someone who pays close attention to them and what they have to say.
They need outlets and vents for what they are feeling. It doesn’t have to be every day; they juts have to know that you are with them, and you are more than willing to lend your ear when needed.
- Do Not Judge
The last thing a mentally-challenged friend needs is someone who judges their choices or condition. They need someone who can be beside them and someone to reassure them that they will get better.
- Learn More About Mental Health
This might be the most essential thing you need to do when you have a friend with a psychological disorder. Familiarize yourself with the condition so you can help your friend get better and to take better care of them. It is also helpful in nurturing your friendship.
Friends For Life
Being a friend doesn’t just mean being there during prosperity. It also means holding on to them even when the road is rough. If you have a friend who struggles with a mental health illness, just knowing that you are there for them is enough. Amid taking care of them, do not forget to take care of yourself too.