How To Support Someone Going Through a Difficult or Major Transitional Time

From a house fire survivor

From personal experience I can say watching someone you deeply care about go through something challenging is one of the most heartbreaking experiences a person can live. In these times, supporting them is key… but how? As someone who has been on both sides of this situation, as I’m sure many others have been, there is knowledge you acquire. On the cold, starry night of February 8th an electrical connector in the attic of my Mom’s rental house exploded, setting the house on fire. The night itself went by in slow motion and insanely quick simultaneously. The outpour of love and support was immediate and extensive. The whole situation left many around us wondering, “What can I do to support someone close to me going through a difficult hurdle in life or a tough transition?”

Here is a list of things one can try to support a loved one.

#1: Ask!

The first and hopefully most simple thing you can do is to ask what they need at the moment. Every situation is different so it’s important to know what the person would appreciate loved ones (that’s you!) to help with. Even the most stubborn of people (I just need to look in a mirror to find one of those) will probably accept some form of help in a difficult time.

#2: Don’t add any additional stress to a person or situation

This, in my opinion is the bare minimum, and sometimes all they may need from you! This person is going through/went through something crazy! They are probably processing a lot of feelings and/or now figuring out how to move forward with change. If it is not life or death, it most likely won’t find itself at the front of their mind for a little while, so probably best just to wait! Be sure to check in that your loved one is in a good headspace before unloading anything onto them, even if you don’t think they will be effected. Always good to make sure! This is probably one of the most helpful and allover respectful things you can do for your loved one.

#3: Kind words/words of encouragement are never unwelcome, especially when facing a challenging time of life

It is important to remind those you love that you care! When a time in life comes in which a person’s strength is tested, it’s important to remind them that they possess that strength to its fullest and always have. In a situation like my house’s, had we reacted differently it could have easily been fatal. After that the words from those around us had a whole new meaning.

#4: Establish what is triggering to them and what is not before discussing the topic

Everyone reacts to things differently. For me personally, I remember how grateful I am for the possessions we were able to save. At the same time, I am heartbroken about the loss of my home. Everyone reacts differently and every experience/coping technique is unique. My family is slowly starting to see the effects a traumatic situation. I will never be able to forget the sound of my mom screaming at our upstairs neighbours to get out of the house while I screamed louder at her to do the same from the street. Currently we are finding that my mom gets paranoid about flickering lights as that was the first sign of the attic fire and I get sick to my stomach seeing a picture of fire in nearly any setting other than a campfire. It is so important to ask nicely no matter what the situation.

#5: Offer things that are easily accessible to do

If you work together you could offer to cover their shift, if you go to school with them offer to share notes for missed classes, if you interact in a large group setting inform those around you as to what has happened to make your loves one’s return as smooth as possible. Often times the simplest things can make the biggest difference!

There are so many more but these are the first and most important things I can think of. I hope this helped anyone wondering how to be there for someone going through a challenging period.

Thank you for reading! Be sure to subscribe to this blog to get notified when I post! If you want to contact me directly you can do so by emailing me through the “Contact” page or messaging me on my Instagram @roseofvancouver or Facebook @greatervancouvergal. Have a great day!

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