Thursday, 11 October 2018

10 Things to say to People with Depression and Anxiety

Unless you've been living under goosegog bush you may be aware it was World Mental Health Day yesterday. A time for us to celebrate our unusual, quirky and at times derailing traits that are all part and parcel of being a warm, complex, intelligent human being.

As someone who's had clinical depression and anxiety on and off my entire adult life, I salute you my mental health compadres and healers. From the people who need to switch off a light switch 10 times before they leave the house, to the depressed, gentle souls contemplating walking into the English Channel to be subsumed (I have a friend who did this, he clung to a buoy for an hour and is still with us fortunately), your mental health issues are part of you, they are you. Though they may make you want to turn the light out one last time, they are also part of your story and your strength.

I've had panic attacks at work - to the point my hands went numb and the Financial Director walked into to find me bashing at a phone keypad like Flipper - at home, at other people's homes, on planes and on a National Express coach from Leeds to London. I've huffed into paper bags in Sainsbury's car park and in my kitchen at 2am. It's ok. My weird and wonderful brain is a bag of stuff, imagination, memories, thoughts, fears - real and unreal.

If you share a world with someone with severe anxiety or depression, or have a friend or colleague that is struggling, it can be hard to know what to say.

I've put together 10 things people with anxiety and depression might like to hear to help them roll with the punches.

  • Why don’t you go and curl up in bed for a while?
  • Fancy a cuppa?
  • Your points were really valuable in that meeting
  • You’re a really good friend
  • I was thinking about you earlier and...
  • We’re only going to stay for a few minutes (and then we can go)
  • Do you want to go to the cinema? (Dark, no eye contact, no talking, yes please!)
  • There’s the toilet (Toilets are our friends)
  • Do you want to talk?
  • I understand.
 I know, it's been ages right? How's it going? Please leave your message below.


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