When Will, 25, was struggling with anxiety and low mood, two friends supported him in different but equally important ways. Here he shares how it was to be on the receiving end.
I am very happy to have had a few close friends to rely on when I’ve struggled with low mood and anxiety during my lifetime and I want to share my experience of one specific episode where two friends helped me in unique ways.
The episode began when I had completed my A-levels and my relationship of over two years broke down. I felt lost, abandoned, and was experiencing acute low mood and anxiety. My closest friend lived in the same town and he was a huge help in finding my way through this episode. He helped me by taking me exploring and finding exciting activities for us to do. We were always doing things like going to the gym, playing video games, exploring the world, going out for meals, or spending time exercising in the garden. This really helped to keep me busy and my mind occupied as I really struggled with my own headspace at the time, and I felt very alone and sad.
We never really spoke of my troubles explicitly; he just knew that I was struggling and was always on hand to suggest fun activities and encourage me to do them with him.
We never really spoke of my troubles explicitly; he just knew that I was struggling and was always on hand to suggest fun activities and encourage me to do them with him. When I get low mood, I have learned that I lose all motivation and doing things always seems like a struggle. If it were not for my friend dragging me out and taking me places or keeping my mind occupied, I would have found this episode even more difficult and I certainly would not have had so many fond memories of exploring and enjoying myself, something which is particularly difficult when you feel low. He helped me find a source of enjoyment in life at a time when the activities I usually enjoyed were not working.
This was a huge help for me, and enjoying yourself is always important, not just when you are feeling low. However, enjoyment and distractions were only one side of the help I received from friends at this time.
He helped me find a source of enjoyment in life at a time when the activities I usually enjoyed were not working.
At the same time, another friend offered me more explicit psychological help by being there to talk to and share my feelings with. The best thing they did for me was to listen without judgement and show that they cared. This was hugely important (although I didn’t really know it at the time!) in processing my emotions and the situation that I found myself in.
She showed empathy, understanding, and (most importantly) provided a safe space for me to talk about my feelings. I had never really done this outwardly before and she provided a safe environment for me to share and express how I felt. She was incredibly supportive and empathetic, and I really don’t know where I would be without those talks and moments we shared.
She showed empathy, understanding, and (most importantly) provided a safe space for me to talk about my feelings.
It’s easy to feel as though you’re being a burden by telling someone when you’re struggling, but it’s important to remember that these are shared moments. It was not just a case of me venting without any input or interaction from her. She understood me more as a person, and sharing on such a personal level helped us become even closer as friends. The same goes for my other best friend who explored with me and motivated me to get out of bed in the morning – that connection only grew stronger because of the new experiences we shared, and these are connections that I cherish to this day.
Sharing on such a personal level helped us become even closer as friends.
More information and advice
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Where to get help
However you're feeling, there are people who can help you if you are struggling. Here are some services that can support you.
Text YM to 85258.
Provides free, 24/7 text support for young people across the UK experiencing a mental health crisis.
All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors.
Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.
Texts can be anonymous, but if the volunteer believes you are at immediate risk of harm, they may share your details with people who can provide support.
- Opening times:
If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.
Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.
Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.
- Opening times: