Words prove useless. In the face of how it feels.

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Tim Robberts via Getty Images

 

In most of the responses to the horrifically sad news about Anthony Bourdain, people are posting links and phone numbers for suicide prevention services. They’re posting ‘you’re not alone’, and ‘you are loved’, and they’re urging those who are depressed or suicidal, to reach out.

That’s nice and all, but it’s completely useless for anyone who struggles with depression. Most people who are deeply depressed and/or suicidal, absolutely do not have the energy, the emotional strength, or even the will to ‘reach out.’ They just don’t. If they did, they wouldn’t be in such a low state in the first place.

Instead of putting the responsibility on those who are suffering, you need to take some action. If you haven’t heard from a loved one in a while, if you’re at all worried about them… PHONE THEM. Don’t text, don’t instant message, don’t email. Let them hear your voice. (If they don’t answer, keep calling until they do. Or go to their home if you can.)

Reading ‘you are loved’ and ‘you aren’t alone’ on a cold screen, is almost meaningless. Love and support aren’t nearly as much about telling, as they are about showing. Depressed or not, people need those words said warmly and directly to them. People need to be held, and seen, and heard. So speak to them. Visit them. Show them.

Taking the time to share a genuine human connection with someone, isn’t as easy or convenient as writing a few quick platitudes. Which is why it’s much more likely to actually make a difference. Even a small difference might be enough.

Don’t expect depressed people to have the ability to seek out support. Depression is crippling and isolating. If you truly want to help, stop typing empty words and instead, make a real effort to save someone you love from the dark.

 

Shine and Rise Coaching

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We Keep Going

Sympathize

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There are some of us who have been told for most of our lives that we’re weird, or different, or unique, or strange, or eccentric. Told this by unkind people, kind people, friends, family, romantic partners, co-workers, strangers. We’ve never been seen as ‘normal’. Which is hurtful at times, frustrating at times, and often isolating.

We don’t think or express ourselves in quite the same way that ‘regular’ people do. Which is something we can – and should – learn to really love about ourselves. But even if we do love and appreciate that element of who we are, it often makes us feel very alone, and feel that no matter where we are, we don’t quite belong there.

As well, for those of us who also live with constant, intense chronic pain, we not only feel isolated, we are regularly burdened by bouts of physical and mental depression.

Being ‘different’ and feeling alone because of it, is just a fact of our existence. Being in pain – and disheartened and drained by it when our inner reserves of strength and willpower run low, which they do frequently – is another fact of our existence.

These are not things we have the ability to change. They just are. What many of us have done and can do, is accept them as peacefully as we can, and then consciously choose to keep going… When we’re lonely, we keep going. When we’re deeply sad, we keep going. When our body hurts so much we can’t walk, or even stand up straight, we keep going.

It’s the only good choice we have. That doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly hard to do. Everyone who lives with mental and/or physical difficulties makes that same challenging choice about a thousand times a day.

What that means, is a lot of the time, it’s a struggle to do even the most basic, essential things involved in taking care of yourself. It’s very hard to describe this, but trust me, something as simple as making a meal, or cleaning the bathroom, or getting groceries, takes iron resolve to do, and it’s completely, blindingly exhausting. Some days are productive; some days are just grey nothing. Neither is optional, neither is predictable.

I can guarantee you that you know someone, or several someones who live this way. And you almost certainly find yourself feeling frustrated with them, or judging them for rarely socializing, for keeping unusual hours, for not being energetic, for hesitating to commit to plans, for taking too long to reply to messages, etc.

One of the most helpful things you can do, is to stop measuring those people by the standards and choices you have in your own life. Instead, remember that living with pain or illness of any kind, even living with loneliness, isn’t always a visibly obvious thing. Neither is the heroic amount of determination it takes to keep going anyway.

Shine and Rise Life Coaching