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What Do You Do When Those Around You Are Suffering?

Published on February 9, 2021

A number of my friends and family members are struggling. No, not the run-of-the-mill Covid malaise so many of us are experiencing. I’m talking about protracted mental health issues—including anxiety and depression.

To be honest, I feel helpless. As a recovering perfectionist and all-around fix-it gal, I believe there’s nothing that can’t be solved by finding the right resources. I’m the queen of research and reading, a big fan of therapy, and always open to exploring new treatments. But when it comes to other adults around me, and their mental health issues, the truth is there’s only so much I can DO.

I should know better. As someone with a long history of GAD (General Anxiety Disorder), I’m no stranger to mental health issues. And I know that while I can listen and validate, support and share resources with loved ones who are suffering, I cannot take their pain away, and I cannot make them take action or take action for them. The work is theirs to do, whether it’s digging into family-of-origin issues in therapy, testing out various treatment modalities, or finding the most effective medication.

Of course I realize that my need to DO is related to my own anxiety and that I (as always) need to learn to BE in this uncomfortable place where I sit with my feelings, where I relinquish control. I am learning to let go.

YOUR TURN: Where are you spinning your wheels in an attempt to control a situation that is out of your control? When have you done enough? When do you let go and how can you simply BE?

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Hélène Stelian, the Midlife Empowerment Coach

I’m Hélène, the Midlife Empowerment Coach. I help women who are struggling in midlife—who wonder if their best years are behind them and what’s next for them. I show them how to put themselves first, reclaim their identity, figure out what’s next, and feel excited about their future.


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