Ask Amy: Friend who is reeling needs soft place to land
Dear Amy: I have a friend who is going through a really rough patch in her life; she's facing possible divorce.
She's in therapy and marriage counseling, but she's experiencing sadness and mental anguish, and is worried about the future.
She claims she's not suffering from depression, but I'm not so sure.
As her friend I'm trying to be supportive and understanding; I listen to her, try not to give advice, but instead just be supportive and remind her that she has friends and family who love her and will stand by her no matter what.
I try and remind her of the joys in life and encourage her to take a mental break now and then. I also offer to hang out with her (the lockdown has added to her stress) to take a breather from her home situation, but she almost always declines.
Is there anything else I can do to support her through this dark time?
— Worried Friend
Dear Worried Friend: I shared your letter with poet Maggie Smith, whose wonderful new book: “Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change” (2020, Atria/One Signal) would be a good gift for your friend.
Here’s Maggie’s response: “You’re already doing the most important thing: showing up. You’re listening, offering support, not imposing your own solutions.
“What made the biggest difference for me during my divorce was stability from others when I felt the ground shifting beneath me. This unwavering support took many forms: phone calls, supportive texts, regular dinners that were on the calendar the same day each month (and therefore harder for me to cancel), spontaneous walks when I was feeling frazzled. I didn’t need anyone to “fix” it for me; I just needed people to be with me through it.