Seeking Support from Friends and Family

This blog post is an article originally written for the Sunday Business Post on behalf of ReachOut.com

When you feel it is time to reach out for some help, deciding who to reach out to can be difficult. It is important to talk to someone who will take you seriously, and who you trust. Sometimes that person for you can be a close family member or friend.

Benefits of seeking support

If there is something on your mind, talking to someone about it can be very helpful and lead you to feeling better. When you keep things inside, it does not take long for your thoughts to turn into something bigger and become overwhelming. Talking out loud about what is on your mind, even if it does not completely make sense, can help you clarify what is bothering you, and make it feel less daunting. Once you have a clear sense of what exactly is troubling you, there is a better idea of what you are dealing with, and possibly how to deal with it. When thoughts continue to spin around in your mind, you can easily lose sight of the original issue.

Knowing who to turn to

Sometimes deciding who to talk to can be a difficult decision; however, there are some questions to keep in mind that can help you pick the right person to turn to.

  • Can I trust them?
  • Will they give me a hard time?
  • Will they make me more upset?
  • Will they tell other people?
  • Will they be able to help me, or give me the support I need?
  • Do I want to talk to someone who’s not involved in the situation?

Turning to a friend

Friends can be good people to open up to when you are going through a tough time. You may find that they have been through a similar situation as you. If they have not been through a similar situation, that does not mean that cannot provide support either. If after talking to them, you still feel you need more support, friends can be a good person to help you find the support you need.

Turning to family

Depending on what is on your mind, turning to a close family member can also be a good source of support. It could be anyone in your family from parents, to cousins, or aunts and uncles. On the other hand, every now and then family can also cause distress. Even if your family is fairly understanding, you may not feel comfortable talking to them about it.

Finding the right time to open up

It can be tricky finding the right time to open up to someone else. The idea of telling someone about something that is bothering you can cause anxiety and discomfort. You may find that meeting over tea or coffee would make you more comfortable, or even inviting the person over to chat. Take time to think about which setting would help you feel most comfortable. If it is a really tough topic, you may even find it helpful to write down the things you would like to say, or think about how you would like to bring it up. Just remember that whatever you feel beforehand, whether relieved, nervous, or frustrated, it is okay.

There are others to turn to

At times you may come to the conclusion that there is not a friend or family member you feel comfortable turning to, and that is okay. When this is the case, turning to someone such as The Samaritans or a therapist can be helpful.

Nicole Paulie is a Counselling Psychologist, and co-author of “How to be Happy and Healthy – The seven natural elements of mental health.” She provides therapy in the Dublin city area. Contact us to learn more or to book an appointment.

Seeking Support from Friends and Family
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