Feel better.

We've all been in that position when we've lost our cool and someone has told us to calm down. This post isn't about that situation. If you're angry then that kind of advice/approach of help its exactly what you need, you have to calm and stop. It's difficult, but you can do it. This post is about those situations when you can't just calm down, you can't think on positives and it'll be fixed, you can't just start smiling, you can't turn it around by making yourself feel better. 

Feelings are fickle things and we can control them to a great degree, but there are conditions which run far deeper than simple sadness, worry, or disappointment. The bad feeling is a symptom of the condition and not the main problem. Ultimately that is why this kind of advice won't work; it's throwing a blanket over the issue, hiding it away. If someone feels no purpose in life because of their depression you can't open the curtains, say what a beautiful day, and expect that to be that - they don't see it the same way as you. Your worlds are different. 

I don't want to discourage anyone from supporting a loved one, in fact, opening those curtains for the sun, getting that fresh air, bringing in flowers, playing music they enjoy, etc. will help them, but you must understand that it won't be an immediate cure. This is a long road, and one of the biggest struggles with a mental illness is that the road for each person is different. There are helpful resources and advice that works for everyone, but it has to be tailored.

Personally, I feel it best to be entirely open about things; to talk to the psychiatrist, wife/husband, and take absolutely all of it to God in prayer. I say this because that's how others start to understand what you're going through, how they begin to see that these feelings go deeper; and I mention the latter because we need that support - what can we do without Him? 

So, if you're facing a problem and people offer the advice meant for fighting the emotion and not the issue, try and let them know how you feel (easier said than done in many cases). And if you're supporting someone with a mental illness, remain patient, full of love, prayerful - leaning on your saviour in all matters, and do encourage them to fight their bad feelings but make it clear to them that you're there to listen and do what you can for them.

Published by Andrew Davies