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Want to Do More Than #ThoughtsAndPrayers? Here are Some Practical Tips For Action and Change.

From as far back as I can remember, when you presented Mother with a problem, she listened,expressed sympathy, maybe offered advice and then left to think on it some more.She would return with her version of support.

Not thriving in a certain environment? Here are the alternative ones to go toYou need comfortable means to travel someplace far, I’ll switch my schedule, use the car.And countless other examples to date.

Subconsciously, I was picking up this character along the way. You are unemployed and I know, I’ll flood you with job links and bring you up in conversations, send groceries or upkeep where possible, same for most situations when I’m able to do more than just promises of better days.

I remember a time after quitting my job when savings ran out and a friend visited. My hair was unkempt and I didn’t love myself much. As she left, she gave me money and advised that I do my hair. It was a seemingly small act but it was something I desperately needed. She probably doesn’t even remember.Ironically, the people you bail out are most likely not the ones who (will) do the same for you. It’s the circle of life.

I’d like to share a few things from experiencing both sides of the situation(s), that might come in handy one day.When someone is feeling vulnerable, the fact that they even share their pain with you is already huge.You’re probably one of a handful of people who know. If the cause of pain is ‘public knowledge,’ best believe they’re feeling even worse that so many people know their story.It can be anything from losing a job to losing a loved one.Try not to put them in positions where they feel even more vulnerable. “How can I help?” is an important question but many times, someone who is depressed, in pain or mourning is incapable of answering it, for many reasons.

Lisa’s dad needed three surgeries and by the third one she told me “My friends have already done enough, I can’t ask for help anymore.” I assured her that friends would do whatever it took to ensure his medical bills were covered but I understood what she meant. We needed to continue supporting without expecting her to keep asking/reminding us.

There are practical ways to help; some don’t cost too much.Please note that sometimes people will want to keep to themselves. Don’t hold it against them, just support them from where you/they are the best way you can. They will appreciate it whether or not they can articulate it.

Check in. Check in on your people who are going through the most. Send silly videos and memes, if they’re into those. Don’t tire of their delayed responses or one sentence replies if those come through (although you should also understand when they simply need space)Sit together and talk about whatever they have on their mind, or sit in silence. Let them cry. Let them imagine another reality. Let them be.

Send pick me ups. Ask them what they feel like eating/drinking or be creative and choose. Send them movies/series to pass the time.Do they love flowers? Do they have a sweet tooth? Do they like reading? Send a care package that says ” I’m thinking of you and rooting for you.”

Professional/Emotional support beyond your capability : Your person is suffering from Postpartum depression. You don’t have the first clue about motherhood. Link her up with someone who had the same experience, offer to drive her to places hosting these conversations (See Netya spaces for these and other mental health dialogues)Visit and take care of the baby while she sleeps or goes to the salon/spa.When your person loses a close loved one or is suffering from depression, clean their house, make meals to last a week, let them know they are not alone.

Money: This one can be tricky. Both the giver and receiver (may) feel some type of way but you need to see past it. If the problem requires money to (help) fix it and you are willing/able to spare that money, do it.

Don’t hurt people who are hurting any further by bringing up their inadequacies; reminding them that it is their fault; trying to explain to them what THEY are feeling; telling them how to grieve or for how long; Expressing how neglected you feel by their absence…

They know all this, it is already pretty magnified in their mind. They feel lonely, frustrated and helpless and your words/actions are going to play a big role in their healing, or lack thereof.Don’t be the reason their condition worsens, at the very least, just let them be.

So yes, thoughts and prayers are nice, but you can do more.

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Written by Esther Kalenzi

Celebrating life and humour; attempting to make a difference in deed and through my first love, writing.

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Be kind, for everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. A personal story.

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