This is not a challenge exclusive to people with depression or some form of mental illness. It is not just about people being physically alone for extended periods of time. A person can feel isolated even in a room mixed with strangers and familiar faces.
When I think of isolation, I think of the absence of deep human connection. It is about not having more to talk about then just the weather. It’s not knowing someone who genuinely cares for you. I’m not necessarily referring to a significant other, but it also may be not having a friend or family members who express they care about how you are doing.
For those who are isolated, the thought of not having a support system sucks – for lack of a better word. It’s scary to think about how few people would care if something bad happened to you. Reaching out when you have this ‘nobody cares’ mindset, is difficult. Other barriers outside of just mentality are geographical distance, cultural or religious differences, and having other ‘priorities’.
The last thing I think anyone wants is pity. If that is ever your intention, do not even bother. Otherwise, liking and commenting a one liner on someone’s social media is not the kind of effort that is going to cut it. If you are trying to show genuine compassion towards someone who you believe needs it, there are three actions to strive for in your interaction with them.
Listen. Value. Support.
You want to give them the opportunity to express how they feel if they want to. Do not push them. However, if they are willing to share anything, be present while they let it all out.
Feel honoured to be with them when they are most vulnerable. It is one thing for a person to say they are not okay and leave it at that. It is another for them to openly express what is on their mind. Acknowledge what they are telling you and emphasize how important it is for them to reach out when needed.
Here are some things you can say to support someone you care for:
Listen (The goal is to get them to explore how they are feeling)
- How have your days/nights been?
- What have you been up to recently?
- Tell me more about …
- What do you regret?
- What happened next?
Value (The goal is to validate their feelings)
- Thank you for telling me.
- That must have been difficult.
- I can’t imagine what that was like.
- That reminds me of…
- I don’t know how I would have responded if I was in that situation.
Support (The goal is to encourage them to reach out again)
- I am always a phone call/text message away if you ever need someone to talk to.
- Would you like to hang out/talk again?
- The good thing is that…
- What is something you would like to do right now?
- Who has been your support through this?
Remember that they are not necessarily looking for you to be their problem solver or give an opinion on the situation. It’s usually just having someone who they feel comfortable enough to confide in outside of their own bubble. Whatever words you end up using to support someone feeling isolated, as long as there are good intentions, it will come across.
MeetRhey is a personal growth blogger advocating for individuality and potential. Please visit her blog for morehttps://meetrhey.wordpress.com/