“It means being there. It means listening. It means being present.” – Dr Evangelene Daniela-Wong
Distress can feel lonely. Sometimes just being there is the most significant support you can offer. Do things you both enjoy like cooking, walking or sharing music. Be flexible and understanding if they're not up for certain activities, and find simple ways to be present in their life.
As you suggest things, you might find that some of the ideas might be too much for them right now. Tough times can be exhausting, and things that used to be easy become much harder. When this happens, here are some things to try:
- Continue inviting them to things. Let them know that they’re always welcome, and that even though you’d love to have them there, it’s not a problem when they can’t come.
- Try to do other things to meet them where they’re at. This could be as simple as dropping off some food and sitting with them for a bit.
Encourage the person you're supporting to think of other people who can help. Help them connect or reconnect to other people, and offer to join them at appointments. This could include friends, family, colleagues and health professionals. Our people who can help page offers insights on building this network. Remember, it's okay to step back and let others step in.
Supporting someone is a journey with ups and downs. It's tough to see a loved one hurting, and it's important to acknowledge that we can't fix everything. All we can do is walk alongside them as they find their own way through. You don’t have to have the answers. Just being there and listening without judgement is enough.
If you’re finding it difficult or overwhelming to show up for the person you care about, seek help. Reach out to friends and family, do things that make you feel good and consider calling a helpline to talk through what you’re experiencing. You deserve support too.