Depression and anxiety can present themselves in various obvious and not obvious manners. Seemingly on a wind, a loved one’s emotions can change. Saying hurtful things, expressing undue anger, losing all sense of passion or motivation, changing in their accountability and consideration- it is easy to convict before understanding. Family members of loved ones who became addicted to drugs and alcohol have been exhausted by disordered and compulsive behaviors. Treatment is the beginning of a journey of growth, not an entire growth cycle. Ongoing, there will be seasons of emotional difficulty full of emotional confrontations. Incorporating the practice of mindfulness which a loved one has worked hard to practice, try to notice what is going on, become aware of the symptoms, and pay attention to what a loved one is saying, even if they aren’t saying anything at all.
Writing about the difficulty of managing friendships during depression, one contributor to the UK’s Refinery29 explains, “You don’t have to fix someone with depression. That’s not your job.” Instead, act with empathy and compassion, by seeking to understand what they are going through. A “…simple gesture of acting with compassion can go a long way toward healing,” the author explains, “That means doing your best to understand the emotional state of this person you love and what they’re going through, even — especially — if it doesn’t make sense to you.” It is important not to take their behaviors personally, despite how personal some of their statements might become. The author suggests listening with compassion and empathetically offering support. Though you might not be able to “fix” their depression, you can ask them what they need to be supported. Rather than tell them they need fixing or act as thoughh you might know better than their emotions, the empathetic as well as empowering approach is to instigate introspection. Encouraging a loved one to look within and determine their own needs is an important practice for developing their independence in recovery. “The best you do is have empathy,” the author emphasizes, “and trust that they’ll come through the other side. Eventually, you’ll recognize them again, and you’ll remember that they’re a person– not an illness.”
Castle Craig has been committed to providing quality residential care to addicts and their families for over twenty years. Our high rates of long term success from addiction serve as testament to the efficacy of our compassionate care. For more information, call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 256 3732. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006 (normal charges apply).
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | January 28, 2020