How to Cope with a Lack of Support
Family and friends are an important part of everyday life, offering comfort, companionship and perspective. How to cope if they are unsupportive or dismissive of your problems is a tricky issue to navigate; with your mental health paramount, it’s important not to add negative stress and pressure to your emotional load.
Firstly, it’s important to recognise that you can’t change how other people behave, however, you can change the way you react to that behaviour. For example, it’s easy to feel angered by someone who makes thoughtless remarks, but if you look at it from the perspective that they do not understand, then your anger could be turned into a more positive reaction: recognition of the need to educate. By calmly talking to your friend or family member about how your mental health affects you on a day-to-day basis, they are more likely to make an effort to understand you, becoming more supportive in the future. It is entirely possible that this person may not be open to being educated, in which case it may be more valuable for you to stop for a while, approaching them again when you feel stronger.
When looking for support, start with yourself. Look inwards to how you are treating and supporting yourself. Be kind and treat yourself with respect. Try to keep inner monologues positive to override more negative self-talk; positive daily mantras can help with this, becoming a daily habit; forcing change.
If you do become stuck in rumination or a negative thought cycle, try to distract yourself by finding ways to flip the thought process. A list of things you would like to do can feel like a positive flip, such as trips out, self-care, DIY jobs, or podcasts you would like to listen to. Allocate time for these activities, one small step at a time. The feeling of ticking things off a list can kickstart a positive mood cycle.
Find a local support network of people who may also be feeling isolated. There are many local resources and social media groups that can be helpful when you’re feeling unsupported and anxious. Don’t hesitate to seek the help of your GP if you feel you are struggling.