The MHS Journals

Our blog archive of insights and intel


How to Cope Without Family Support

Nov 4, 2021

A young woman sits on a park bench at sunset struggling with depression and lack of family assistanceCoping with depression can be extremely difficult, especially when your friends and family members are unsupportive. When dealing with a mental illness such as depression, it is immensely important to surround yourself with individuals who understand and support you. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, and at times, you may find yourself having to navigate the dark waters of depression alone. If you are currently in such a situation, this article will show you how to:

  • Accept that some people around you may not understand your depression.
  • Cope with your depression in a healthy manner, even when friends and family members choose to remain detached or unsupportive.

As a person living with depression, mental health family support can soften the blow, but if you struggle with a lack of family support, you still have options and ways to support yourself and make self-care a priority.

When the Family Doesn’t Want to Help

If you suffer from depression in Apple Valley, MN, your first reaction may be to turn to loved ones for help and emotional support. Unfortunately, your loved ones may not respond in the way you expect them to. Some people simply don’t understand major depressive disorder, so they can’t extend empathy to someone suffering from the disorder. It is important to understand that such an unempathetic response has nothing to do with you, and there can be a myriad of reasons for your loved one’s lack of compassion. Often, responses to situations are automatic (ingrained) and a function of their life experiences.

Many individuals came of age during a period when depression was not discussed or considered taboo. Others grew up in environments that punished or repressed acts of vulnerability. There is also a pronounced stigma still surrounding mental illness, so many people simply can’t bring themselves to discuss the topic seriously. Whatever the reason behind your loved one’s response may be, it may help to reach out to others outside of your immediate social and familial circle for additional support.

In some cases, an unsupportive loved one may benefit from additional education. By educating themselves, they can better understand what you are experiencing on a regular basis. Education can also help break the stigma surrounding depression, so they may become more likely to discuss the topic with you in a non-judgmental and compassionate fashion. There are numerous resources and organizations, such as Mental Health America and NAMI, specializing in offering family education programs. Check out some of these organizations in Apple Valley, MN, if you think you or your loved one would benefit from learning more.

When You Don’t Want to Involve Your Family

Coping without mental health family support is possible, especially if you are intent on treating yourself well. Self-care is exceptionally important for people living with depression, and there are steps you can take alone to improve your mood. To do this, you must be willing to speak positively to yourself and act as your greatest supporter. You may want to pay particular attention to your self-talk, especially if it is negative. Negative self-talk can create additional stress and feed your depression. Try to keep your inner monologue positive and focus on cultivating positive, compassionate thoughts.

There are also other steps you can take to improve your mood. Distracting yourself with positive, healthy activities is one way to break the depression cycle. Such self-care activities are hugely important, even for those who don’t suffer from depression. Consider creating a list of pleasurable activities that can alleviate your depression, such as the following:

  • Exercising
  • Talking to a friend or family member (if they are supportive)
  • Writing in a journal
  • Reading an interesting book
  • Taking a warm bath
  • Enjoying your favorite meal

Such acts can be categorized as “self-care,” and you can do most of them with or without another person. Don’t feel guilty about indulging in acts of self-care now and then – they are a key component of your recovery.

There are many misconceptions about depression, and they can make recovery even more difficult for those struggling with the disorder. Contrary to what unsupportive friends or family members may think or say, depression is not a sign of laziness or weakness. It is a biologically-based disorder caused by imbalances in mood-stabilizing chemicals circulating in your brain. Asking a professional for help or confiding in someone else are not attention-seeking behaviors. Always remember these facts, no matter what someone else’s opinion of depression might be. Keep in mind that it takes a remarkable deal of courage and emotional strength to seek out help when one is suffering.

If you do not have access to a reasonable level of mental health family support, there are additional resources you can look into. It is important to remember that others can’t always provide us with the emotional support we need, but there are people who can. Support groups for individuals suffering from depression can provide you with a sense of belonging and surround you with sympathetic individuals who understand and are interested in hearing about your experiences. There is nothing wrong with seeking help outside your immediate social circle; as a matter of fact, an unbiased viewpoint may be helpful in your situation.

If you are currently struggling with depression in Apple Valley, MN, you may want to contact SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). The organization can help you learn more about treatment facilities and support services near you.

When a Spouse Leaves You Because You Are Seeking Mental Health Treatment

When a spouse leaves you during a depressive episode, the feelings you experience can be truly painful. Often, spouses function as our primary support systems, and when they cannot or will not provide emotional support, it can become difficult to deal with problems. If your spouse is unwilling to offer you the support you need during such a trying time, it is important to surround yourself with people who can. Remember, your spouse may simply not be emotionally equipped to handle such situations.

If you are finding your spouse to be increasingly toxic or unsupportive, it can be helpful to spend some time apart. There will always be people, who no matter what, will not have anything positive to say. Limiting contact with such individuals can be a radical act of self-care, and without such negativity to deal with, you may find it easier to manage your depression.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to positive and supportive friends and family members if you and your spouse are experiencing marital difficulties while you are suffering from depression. Finding the right therapist and support group can also be immensely helpful.

Take the First Step

Fighting depression while dealing with unsupportive friends or family members can be exhausting, but it can be done. Often, others are unable to lend us the emotional support needed to recover from depression successfully. Remain open-minded, and remember, help and support is available to you at all times. Contact Mental Health Systems in Apple Valley today to take the first step.


Image Source: AstroStar / Shutterstock