7 Ways To Show Love To Someone With Anxiety/Depression

The hardest people to love are the ones who need it most.

In honour of Valentine’s Day, here are some ideas for showing love to friends and family members with anxiety/ depression:

1.) Give Compliments:

Chances are, someone who suffers from anxiety/depression also struggles with self esteem. Help her challenge her feelings of self loathing by giving her sincere, specific compliments. Being specific is really important, because it will make her more likely to remember what you said later. It will also make her more likely to believe you. For example, instead of saying, “You’re a good mom,” you could say something more meaningful: “You are so patient with your children. I love how you encourage them to keep trying. They are so lucky to have you.”
One thoughtful, genuine compliment has more power than 10 careless comments that feel like flattery. Put your heart into what you say.

2.) Offer Your Company:

Appointments, trips to the grocery store or mall can be very trying for someone with anxiety. If your friend has someone he trusts to come along with him, it can be quite helpful. It offers distraction, support, and ensures he won’t have to face unforeseen events, such as a panic attack, all alone.

3.) Send Texts or Email To Ask How They Are Doing….Really:

Text and email might be better for this than a phone call. It can be very hard for someone to open up if they are going through a tough time. Text or email gives her all the time she needs to respond honestly, and might help her be more comfortable. It also takes the pressure off to say she’s “good” or “okay” when that’s not actually the case. In the depths of depression, it is easy to feel like nobody cares. Ask how she is doing, and really listen. Make it all about her. Let her know you believe everything she is saying, and you are there for her whenever she needs. She is not alone.

4.) Take Care Of Him:

Depression can make even the most mundane tasks absolutely exhausting. Self care is often neglected, because the person just doesn’t have the energy, the ability to focus, or the desire to do things for himself. You could cook him a nutritious meal, pay for and send him for a massage or haircut, take care of his kids while he takes a bath. Remind him that he deserves TLC just as much as anyone. This just might help motivate him to start loving and caring for himself.

5.) Invite Her For A Walk Outside….And Keep On Inviting Her:

Being in nature is soothing to the soul, good medicine for anyone. Exercise increases the body’s production of serotonin, which helps reduce anxiety and depression. Exercising outside just makes sense for someone with mental illness, but the hard part is getting her out there. Invite her often, and if she declines, be sure to not make her feel guilty….she probably has plenty of guilt in her life already. Just shrug it off, and invite her again in a few days. Your persistence will let her know you care, and hopefully she will one day accept.

6.) Hug Him….The Longer The Hug, The Better:

We are all familiar with the healing power of a hug. What you may not know, is loving gestures like hugs cause the body to release oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.” Oxytocin causes relaxation, and aids sleep, perfect for someone with anxiety/depression. So hold him tight, for as long as you can, and you will be helping him feel better on an emotional and physiological level.

7.) Let Her Be

The hardest, most isolating part of mental illness is trying to live up to real, or imagined pressure from family and friends to be happy.

Accept that she is not happy today.
Offer no advice on how to change her mood.
Be with her when she is irritable, and don’t make her feel guilty for it.
Let her know that although you don’t fully understand what she is going through, you believe every complaint she has, and you respect her strength in living through it.

Let her be.
Don’t force her to pretend.
Love is unconditional, after all.

Thanks for reading!
Be Brave, and Talk
Please scroll down if you would like to follow me on facebook, or to read more from me. šŸ˜Š

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173 thoughts on “7 Ways To Show Love To Someone With Anxiety/Depression

  1. My boyfriend has anxiety so it’s a daily struggle to know what to do if/when he has a panic attack. Especially since I’ve never gone through something similar. So I’ve been trying to figure out the best ways to support him. I really appreciate this post, just what I needed.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I too have been battling with depression and initially with panic attacks but luckily I beat them, literally I mean as having had one or two and being really frightened as I had no idea what was happening to me and I felt myself sliding off the chair as if I hadn’t a bone in my body but was fortunate enough to be meeting my councillor the next day and told him what had happened he told me what they were and they were all in my mind and to fight them which I did and only ever had two partial ones since then so for all you who are having panic attacks , keep fighting as they are only in the mind so stay strong and be well stephen

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    1. Hi Karen.
      Ive been struggling with anxiety and panic attacks for 5 years and its very hard. What has helped me the most, is the support my boyfriend has had with me. He is constantly reminding me how valuable i am and that everything is going to be ok. Every time i feel that the panic attack is about to come he just hugs me very very tight and say: relax, breath in, breath out, i am here with you and everything is going to be ok, i am protecting you.
      As going through this attacks you feel misunderstood, i feel that way and i guess your boyfriend feels it to. Its just the worse feeling in the world and you may not understand it till you live it so just try to support him and try to give him inner confidence. Try to talk to him and LISTEN to him.
      The therapy that has best worked for me is: biofeedback.
      I hope this helps. (sorry for my bad english)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. My other half has agoraphobia, he didn’t leave the house for years. I’ve become an expert over the last 16 years. Sometimes you comfort and just listen. Sometimes you need to tell him he’s being irrational. You find an even balance of doing the things he cannot and refusing to do the things he can. Baby steps, everyday over and over.
      Anxiety is in many ways self created or at least self fueled. Whatever the first trigger was the person will remember how they felt during the panic attack they don’t want to feel that way again and start feeling anxiouse think about it and then a full blown panick attack. It’s an awful cycle. Teach him how to challenge his thoughts. Like are people really looking at me?
      He needs to be on medication. He needs to stop the cycle anyway he can. He can take medication before a situation that causes anxiety or one everyday. If he’s tried many things and nothing works it’s time to see a new Dr who has a fresh perspective.
      For you, find someone who understands. Just like if this were battling cancer, it will be a struggle for the person doing the caring. This will impact your life. You will learn his triggers, you will learn how and what eases it. Stay strong and observe and then you will know to best respond for him.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Cognitive therapy does really help with anxiety. It is something you have to continuously work on though, and can get tiring. Your partner is lucky to have you. šŸ˜Š

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  2. These are all so on point. I wish my loved ones would actually do any of these. They tend toward the strategy of “act as if nothing is wrong” or, more commonly, “completely fail to notice that anything is wrong.” There are times when I would give anything just to have someone ask me if I’m okay.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ive had anxiety and depression issues my whole life I’m 21 now and I’ve felt like this since I was 6 and didn’t get my first hug till I went to college. It really helped but it’s an ongoing struggle for all of us there needs to be less stigma around the subject of mental stability so young people understand how to help others in need and this article does that. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for this article. A person can be surrounded by people, be married, have kids yet they are sometimes the most loneliest people on earth! Also they are the best actors as well. We can grin, laugh at times and look quite normal, but deep down we are dying…I would say yes, a touch, hug, a sigh, a smile with eyes of “I got you” and no words, are all we need. I know, I deal with this and accept I have it.
    Thank you, I would hug you all and especially you for writing this!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you. Really. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. The level of truth in this piece is such that I am crying now. I wish I had people who understood this. And now I have a tool with which to help them understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I don’t think anything can totally cure anxiety/depression….but feeling loved, believed, and supported sure goes a long way in helping. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

      Like

  6. I think these make a lot of sense – having both depression and anxiety, I think most of the things here are really true for me. Especially the last one. I wish more people would read this…it’s so easy to feel like a burden and a bad friend when people don’t do these things.

    The only one I question is number 5 (or maybe 2, in the same vein). In general, I think it’s good advice, don’t get me wrong. Knowing that someone is willing to be with me if I need it is nice to know. But I do wonder if there’s any way to avoid the guilt. I have a friend that I feel like really tries to do this for me, and he does this list pretty well…but no matter what, I can’t help but feel more and more guilt-ridden every time he asks to see me and I decline or, for that matter, ignore him because I don’t have the emotional energy to decline.

    Maybe it’s unavoidable, but perhaps those implementing these tips should make sure to keep these things in mind. In the end, I guess I agree with the advice, since I think it might be worse if they didn’t extend the invitation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, guilt. I’m not sure if you have ever tried cognitive therapy….but you can try to battle it by trying to change the way you think…it is tiring, and hard, but possible. Your friend(s) would not be doing anything for you that they didn’t want to. šŸ˜Š as far as declining invites…..I think as long as you are honest, you have no reason to feel guilty!

      Like

    2. Sending you a virtual hug, Rich.

      I get it. I *am* that friend and I know there’s a very fine line between helping and pestering. It’s hard, and I try to stress fairly often that while I am always available I am not by any means pushing. I know that if or when my BFF feels guilty about “ignoring” me it works best for us if we just talk about that guilt outright. It happens every once in a while.

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    1. I know how you feel….maybe journal about all the positives in your life and focus on that rather than the negatives…fight the negatives they are destroying your self esteem etc. and focus on the positives….’What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

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      1. I recognized that after I posted the comment. It still seemed less becoming then a gender neutral article. Though I’ll admit I don’t know where the right venue to talk about hetero-normative versus homosexual relationships is.

        Like

  7. I suffer with anxiety, panic disorder and depression (besides other things) and I have to say, this is true. When I met my boyfriend, he immediately related to me, having struggled with anxiety issues many years ago. Because he overcame his issues, he thought he could cure mine. We bumped heads for awhile because I tried to show him we are all different, and what works for some might not work for others. Over time, with patience, love and understanding he actually is helping me…slowly. By letting me, just be, and also giving me attention, love and kindness and most importantly NOT JUDGING…he has given me so much help. This is a great article for those who suffer and for those who want to help the one suffering…remember, patience is key and love is essential.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I struggle daily with depression (as in, diagnosed, not just the “I am grouchy because it’s February and I haven’t seen the sun in a week” blues), and I am grateful for this article. Pretty much dead on. Thank you, so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t disagree with you on this article…. I don’t suffer from depression /anxiety.. so I don’t know how that exactly feels..

    I could be severely depressed with what has happened in my life…. being obese since childhood, not being able to have children for a very long time, having a huge debit due to that, having my spouse go through motorcyle accident, cancer, and losing a parent..but I have been a person that has always had the understanding that this is life and we have to live it.. regardless…

    I have tried these most of these things with a sibling that is always up and down.. and hugging them, .. they have to be wiling to be hugged.. being open to people loving them.. period.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment. The thing I do disagree with, is you seem to be thinking that having depression or anxiety is a choice. Life circumstances surely can make it worse, or be a cause if it is PTSD, but, being depressed is not a “feeling” that someone chooses to have. It is far more than being sad. You are very fortunate that the hormones and receptors are all balanced in your brain and body. Otherwise you would have had a far more difficult time dealing with your very challenging life circumstances.

      Like

  10. All the advice sounds good, but what happens when you have no one? I’d also like to know how many of the people who have left comments obtained husbands, wives, boy friends, girl friends, etc. I’ve suffered with Anxiety/Depression for close to 50 years. I’m pretty much a hermit. I can’t go on a date, join any groups, I rarely leave my house because of anxiety. I’ve been through every type of therapy one can imagine, nothing helps. I guess my point is, try to be positive about being fortunate enough to have someone in your life!

    Like

    1. Maybe you could start with joining online support groups? It doesn’t compare to face to face interaction, I know. But perhaps it might help you feel a little less alone? I have a facebook page that I am trying to build into more of a support group. You could follow it if you want. Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting too. šŸ˜Š

      Like

      1. I think that everyone with depression should start with supporting group. Supporting partner is one thing but therapy is necessary to change the way of thinking. In example, most of depressed and or anxious people does not notice compliments from his patrner and will deny it. Love should be unconditional but how for long can partner stand giving more than he gets?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Support groups do make a huge difference. You raise an excellent point, and a few others have as well. Depression, or any mental illness, is very difficult for the partner, and family. There are support groups for you too, perhaps you could look into that. Counselling for both of you might also help. I have had a relationship with someone suffering bipolar disorder, so I know exactly what you mean, it sucks the life right out of you. I’m not sure I have a good answer to your question.

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  11. Errr, as someone with social anxiety, #2 would stress me out so much more. It takes me a long time to build up enough courage to get out of the house and perform the most basic of errands. If someone offered to come with me, I’d feel obligated to accept and then my whole mental scheme of directions of the errands changes. Do I have to wear makeup? An outfit my friend won’t judge me on? Take a shot beforehand to feel more confident and be funny and on point? So, I don’t know…know if the person in question would truly appreciate this

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    1. That’s a great point. For me, I think it would depend on who was offering to come with me….my mom, my husband, my siblings…..that would definitely help. A more distant friend though….you are right, it could make things worse. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Great ideas and insights. However, I take issue with #6. Not everyone likes to be hugged/touched. ESPECIALLY during an anxiety attack. Take the time to learn their triggers. Be mindful of their body language. And don’t take it personally if they flinch or pull away.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I totally love this! My best friend has suffered from anxiety and depression since she was a young girl. She has only, within the last few years, really opened up and let me ‘in’ ….. And I mean really opening up and explaining things, letting me know what she truly feels like. I even witnessed and helped her through an anxiety attack for the first time. I know it’s difficult to let people in if you are a sufferer…. You’re embarrassed and ashamed. But if you can find a friend who you can totally trust ‘with your junk’ (as my friend and I call it), that may be a tremendous help to you. Don’t be afraid to let people in. After helping her through her attack, I got home and was completely exhausted. But then I got to thinking how exhausted her (and her husband, who is totally supportive) must be. I found her the next day and gave her a huge hug and just told her that I thought she was amazing. I could not imagine having to go through all that and still be able to function in every day life. She has been there for me during some of the darkest hours of my life and I just want to do the same for her..

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I commend you for your advice for these people with depression and anxiety.You make them feel important in their lives, which they are.also. If they need someone other than us human beings to talk to, pray about it to God and he will always be your friend and he’ll always listen to you and help you overcome depression and anxiety.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve been dealing with severe depression, anxiety, and a mood disorder for a very long time. I remember my first suicide attempt was when I was 8; I am now almost 26. This article is good and I wish more people would read and act on this. My only disagreement is with the hugging. While it does work under a normal situation, physical contact for me causes a panic attack. I believe that stems from lack of it during my childhood and when my mother realized my disorders were just that and not “a phase” she tried to go hug crazy and it made things worse. To verbally offer a hug is nice and rarely I’ll even take you up on it. I have been doing better, took me a good while but I have no problem with my husband. Working on forcing myself to hug others first, makes it much easier but still oh so awkward. Thank you again for the amazing article.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I was diagnosed with depression before. I suffered for years. Late teens upto my early 20s. I had to go to a psychiatrist that time. It got better as time passed by. But now after giving birth I have noticed that my emotions are hard to control. I have temper, I get irritated fast, i stress out about small things, I’ve become extremely moody than before and I sometimes feel sad for no reason. Can someone tell me what this is? Or is anyone experiencing same thing?

    Like

    1. Because you have a history of dexpression, you are at a greater risk for postpartum depression. This happened to me after my second baby, and everything you describe sounds similar. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about it. I hope you do, for your sake, and your baby’s. I wish you strength in seeking help.

      Like

      1. Hi again. PPD can last a long time, from what I have been told/read. Even years after having the baby. I didn’t cope, to be honest. It got very bad, and started affecting my physical health. (One of my other blog posts is about this.) When I went to the dr for the health concerns, he eventually figured out it was anxiety/depression, made worse bc I was post partum. I got medication and took counselling, and attended groups. I think you should visit a doctor, and tell them everything.

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  17. i have suffered with aniexty and panic attacks for 5 years now it has effected my whole life including my children and husband..It is so bad i havent drove a car by myself or go to a store alone!! I wish i would wake one day and have my life back….

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  18. Thank you for writing this piece I have suffered from both anxiety/Depression for more years than I would like to admit. I have lost friends due to my depression and almost my life. Your article hits home on all the right points,I feel comfortable with someone I trust, someone that I feel will not let anything happen to me and it helps. To all you who suffer from this terrible illness keep fighting and never give up.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thank you for this advice. I have a 15 year old daughter who suffers from ASD, OCD, and right now it’s her anxiety disorder that is very high. It’s at the point that I’m looking into a type of home schooling cause I just can’t get her out the door at home to get her to school. She has alot of worries with the social part at school. So again thank you for the tips (some of which I was already doing, so the reassurance that I was on the right path helps me)

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Some of these human acts are so easy to give to a sufferer and could make such a huge difference to their self esteem and life in general.
    They are well thought out and above all, humane and warm hearted.
    I wish that I had received more of this when I was suffering these damaging conditions.

    Like

  21. Excellent advice. My mom is depressed and she lives with me. Sometimes I feel I can’t take any more of her negativity and I get very impatient, so we fight a lot.
    Reading your words as they are, made me realize she’s in a big need of love and understanding.
    Thank you for putting into words the feelings she might have and that I couldn’t understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. What should I do if the person I love will not leave the house at all. I’ve done all those things you wrote about for the last year and half and there has been no progress. I feel likenn nothing is ever going to change and it scares me. I’m really lost it hasn’t always been this way.

    Like

    1. It sounds to me like they really need a doctor. Do you know any medical professionals? Or people who,work in mental health? Maybe you could try to get someone to come to your house.?? I feel for you and your partner. I hope you manage to convince them that never leaving the house definitely means medical help is needed. Good luck to you.

      Like

  23. Great article; it demonstrates the power of human kindness, but I’m really worried by the number of comments suggesting that anxiety and panic attacks are permanent in your lives. Anxiety and panic attacks can be very effectively treated with hypnotherapy using a technique called The Rewind. Good luck and best wishes to all. There honestly is light and hope at the end of the tunnel. xx

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  24. Thanks for info. Some things I knew already. Some things are new. I suffer from anxiety and depression and take meds Sometime they don’t always work. God Bless you!

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  25. After 7 years my ex, who had depression, broke it off. He was always going on about how much he appreciated everything I did for him and that I was always there for him. We gamed together a lot and he would always say that I was the healer he had always been looking for: in game and out. But then, out of the blue, he flipped. Just started reaming me out about things that didn’t make sense. He got mad just ’cause I said I only ever wanted to be there for him and support him. I’m not sure what I did wrong. :-/

    Like

    1. This is just a guess, obviously I have no idea about your situation. But, perhaps his depression got so bad that he was having delusional thoughts, hallucinations, paranoid thoughts? This happened to a friend of mine, who cut me out of her life abruptly. She started accusing me of things that didn’t make sense as well. My heart goes out to you. He was lucky to have you, and hopefully he will realize it again.

      Like

  26. Hello,
    My 18 year old daughter struggles with depression and recently had a traumatic event so she’s been spiraling and picking up old self destructive habits. Up until November she was doing wonderfully. It’s hard as a mom not to be able to fix everything and I’m struggling with how to cope with her not being happy. I look forward to reading more from you.

    Like

    1. I can tell you that I totally understand that it is so tough to see your child suffer. I feel for you. Has she been seen or treated for post traumatic stress disorder? I hope in time, with support and proper treatment, she can start feeling better again.

      Like

  27. i am suffering from severe anxiety and depression in silence. I have no friends and my family has no idea how bad I really am. I put up a good front. I am on meds but think they need to be adjusted. I tried therapy twice but I don’t think it helped me. I have severe trust issues so it’s hard for me to talk to anyone. I am truly alone in life. My husband is not supportive, often telling me to get over it. This article is so true. I have read it more than once.

    Like

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