Sometimes those dealing with a mental illness do not want to be a burden to those they love, but most often they do not know how to articulate what they are walking through. It can become increasingly difficult to explain over and over to someone the way you feel. Most of the time it is simply easier to ignore and isolate.
Friendships can be really hard to maintain, especially for someone with anxiety and depression. In harder seasons, one friend will carry most of the weight of the relationship, and we have to be willing to carry that weight. A good friend will help carry the weight of another’s burdens.
There are many ways a friend can support an individual walking through a tough season of anxiety and depression. Good friends don’t just appear when things are going well, they stick close when hard times come as well.
“A faithful friend loves at all times, and a brother is born of adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).
1. A Friend Must Have Realistic Expectations
When dealing with a friend who is struggling with anxiety we have to have realistic expectations of them and their responses. There is a strong chance they will not respond during harder seasons. They may also not want visitors or know how to rightly respond to you. We have to be friends who are willing to give grace and not expect more from our friends than they can give in the season they are in. Setting expectations too high can lead to hurt feelings on both sides and cause undue stress.