TW: Abuse, assault, rape
AD | If we’re not going through a difficult time ourselves, we probably know someone that is. Unfortunately, that’s life. And it’s not always Peggy Porschen’s and trips to Disney World. I like to be as real as possible on this blog. I just can’t bare the false positivity that some people omit so much online. But online is an amazing platform to talk about the nitty gritty, including ways to help a friend through difficult times.
If a friend or family member is going through a tough time for whatever reason, it’s so important to know how to help them in a safe, effective and sensitive way. If someone decided that booking me in to do a sky dive would help my severe anxiety, then I’d probably throw up over them.
Of course it depends on the situation and your relationship but today we’re going to talk about ways to help a friend through difficult times and a range of different situations they might find themselves in. I also took to Twitter, to find out what other people thought was the best way a friend can help you and you can find that thread here!
This is something I can definitely relate to on the “friend” side of the coin. When I was diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder which ruined my life, my “friends” left me. Every last one of them. Nobody sympathized. Or asked me how I was doing. Or even invited me anywhere anymore. As soon as I stopped being able to go anywhere because my crippling anxiety didn’t let me leave my bed let alone my house, they gave up on me.
Not trying to get your sympathy or anything here, just explaining how much I really do understand what it’s like to be the “friend” that doesn’t get the support they so desperately needed. So if you have a friend with mental illness, you can support them by:
- Make an effort to learn how their condition affects them e.g. do they isolate themselves sometimes when it’s bad? Or get angrier?
- Offer to do something for them you know they might be having trouble with. But be specific. Asking if someone wants any help in a general term could overwhelm them even more and they’ll end up saying no. So ask if they want you to pick up some milk from the shop if they’re running low or post something for them.
- Just be a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. Sometimes people don’t need answers, they just need someone who’ll listen to them without judgement and know there’s someone on the end of the phone.
This is one I don’t have much experience of personally but I had a lot of great responses on Twitter about how to support a friend who has a physical illness – either chronic or temporary.
- Do something practical for them if they’re struggling with energy or physical symptoms – such as clean a room in their house.
- Don’t question their illness and experiences, be judgmental or make comment such as “I could never live like that”. Because some people don’t have a choice.
- Make them a care package of things that might come in handy at that time or simply something that’ll make them smile. Fluffy socks, tea, a book, a candle, a notebook, their favourite film or something along those lines!
- Be careful of your words and understand what your friend reacts to.
Related: Simple Tips for Friends/Family When Supporting Someone Diagnosed With Cancer – The (Other) C Word
Something I think we can all relate to at some point or another! Relationships are haaaard and they’re a common result of an upset friend. So here we’re talking break-ups, cheating bastards and fuck boys.
- Again, be a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen to but also try and refrain from judgement. Your friends choice of partner is something you’ll likely have an opinion on. But airing that opinion in a “told you so!” kinda way isn’t going to help.
- Take them away from the situation. Plan something nice for you both to do together which has no relevance to the relationship that’s causing them pain.
Help a friend claim compensation for abuse and assault
Nobody wants their friend to go through something as traumatic as this – obviously. But sadly, a lot of us will know of someone that has. Making sure your friend knows you’re there to listen to them and support them when needed is so important, as well as not bringing anything up which might trigger them.
There are also companies like CICA Claims UK who specialize in claim compensation or abuse and assault throughout the UK on behalf of clients who are victims of crime. They handle their cases as sensitively as possible, so clients experience as little trauma as possible throughout the process. Other things you can do are:
- Don’t ever report anything without their consent
- Don’t pester them about reporting it – it’s their choice and it’s something they have to do when the time is right for them, not you
- Withhold your own emotions: Of course you’ll be angry and upset about what’s happened but it isn’t about you.
Do you have anything to add to any of these? What’s the best way a friend has helped you through a difficult time in your life?
* This is a sponsored post