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10 Things Your Loved Ones Want You to Know about Depression and Anxiety

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

If you’re in college, then you know that it is probably one of the greatest mental, emotional, physical, social and environmental challenges you’ll ever face. For students that struggle with anxiety and/or depression, those challenges could be much more difficult to overcome. If you can’t relate, then you’re lucky, but please be mindful of people that can. Here are 10 things to keep in mind when you have a loved one struggling with depression and/or anxiety in college (or ever).

1. Sometimes, they’ll want their space.

Being alone can be very therapeutic for some people. Don’t take it personally when they cancel plans or don’t return texts. Check on your loved one and then give them the time that they need to cope or heal.

2. Telling them to “just be happy” won’t cure their depression or anxiety.

If “just being happy” was as easy to say as it was to do, then no one would be struggling with depression or anxiety. You may think that you’re helping, but you’re actually being dismissive. Think before you speak.

3. They may not seem as interested in things that they used to be interested in.

You may notice that your loved one is smiling and laughing less or just seems underwhelmed in general. You may feel like you’re losing them, but letting them know that you’re there for them no matter what is a way that you can help.

4. Their appearance may change.

Depression and anxiety can make you feel like you have no reason to try anything. Be careful not to judge your loved ones. Let them know that you’re always available to help, to talk or even just listen. Having someone there for you at all times is more helpful than you would think.

5. ANYONE can deal with depression and/or anxiety.

When a loved one opens up to you and tells you that they are struggling, listing all of the “good” things about their life won’t cure their depression or anxiety. It doesn’t matter what kind of life you live. This isn’t a choice.

6. Don’t pry.

It may be difficult to accept, but you can’t force someone to open up to you. Seeing loved ones struggling should automatically make you want to help them, but not everyone can talk about how they feel. Let your loved one know that you’re there whenever they’re ready.

7. They may be easily irritated.

Depression and anxiety have the power to take over a person’s body and mind. You may notice that their mood seems to change drastically within short periods of time. Try to keep in mind that your loved one is fighting a battle that takes time to win.

8. They may be sick and/or tired often.

Depression and anxiety can do awful things to the immune system and cause its victims to become ill easily or be fatigued after activities that may have never been tiring before. Check on your loved ones by making sure they are getting enough vitamins and drinking enough fluids.

9. Healing takes time.

No one wants to struggle with depression or anxiety, but unfortunately, it exists. It could take months for your loved ones to truly feel like themselves again. Some people may choose to seek outside help and some may decide against it. However, the decision is theirs to make.

10. There are ways you can help.

Be there for people – not just your loved ones, but for anyone. You can’t look at a person and know what they’re going through, so be a friend to any and everyone. You don’t know the impact you could make in that person’s life.



Erica Dabney is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University. Some of her favorite activities include discovering new music, tearing down the patriarchy and dining out at black-owned restaurants in Richmond. She plans to graduate with her bachelors in journalism in 2019.
Keziah is a writer for Her Campus. She is majoring in Fashion Design with a minor in Fashion Merchandising. HCXO!