You can take back control of your life, but you don't have to do it alone. Friends, family, and trained professionals can help you as you heal.
Healing isn't something you're supposed to figure out on your own. Finding the right support system is a tremendous part of the journey to get your life back. God is someone you can always count on, and it's important to have a human support system, too. Even when you're feeling comfortable with your next steps to recovery, a little accountability or encouragement can do wonders. And that's especially true if you can find someone safe to talk with. Reaching out can take a lot of strength. Choose a friend who will make it easier for you.
Friends and family can be huge parts of your healing process, and the tips in this article apply to them as much as to professional help. A family member or someone in your friend group who passes the safe person test is a great choice to tell about the weight you've been carrying. But don't stop at family and friends. You want to learn about your illness, what it does, and how to take control of your life. You need to talk to someone with experience treating depression and anxiety.
Your doctor or health care provider can provide a lot of support, as can your church pastor, or a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. But keep in mind that professionals aren't all the same, and not every counselor will be the right fit for you. Your situation and symptoms are unique to you. Find a place and a person that makes you feel comfortable, safe, and understood.
…listens to understand
Find someone who truly wants to hear what you are saying, and who'll ask questions as needed to make sure they understand. If someone only listens because they're waiting for the next chance to continue with their speech, they aren't really listening at all.
…sees a better version of you
Depression and anxiety can feed the negative voices in your head and make you feel worse and worse about yourself. A safe person will remind you of the good they see in you, and inspire you to grow into the person God created you to be.
…asks questions before sharing information
Look for a person who listens carefully, waits for you to finish, and then asks follow-up questions to see if they understood you. A good listener will hear you out, and then check to see if they followed, before they even consider giving advice.
…doesn't downplay your experience
If someone tells you that they know how you feel, or that you should feel differently, they may not be the safe person you need as you heal. Watch out especially for anyone who says it's wrong to feel the way that you do.
…and validates you as you are
A safe person will tell you that your feelings are valid and that you get to choose what to do with those feelings. They may encourage you to build healthier and more positive thought processes, but they aren't going to get angry with you if you're still feeling down as you tackle the next step. Depression will hang around for a while as you start your healing process, and that's OK. Anxiety will probably still pop up at times, but you'll learn to manage it. A safe person will know that. Remember to seek out safe people as your guides on the journey to wholeness.