“Its good to talk. Just speak to someone.”
Seems to be the message sent out by everyone these days after reading about mental health problems online, and more recently, after a celebrity or public figure has committed the act of suicide.
This message comes from mainly those who haven’t gone through such feelings or have never been in such dark places. They’re the kind of people who tweet “thoughts and prayers” when a massive tragedy happens, but have never once expressed that they have belief in God. You know, its all good, because it’s just the given thing right? Just pop a comment on social media, next to an encouraging meme or add a filter to your profile picture. Done. You’re officially in auto-caring mode in under a minute. Thanks. It really means a lot.
I wanted to write something about the dangers of this and how its probably not the best way to deal with such a sensitive issue. First of all, its great that you’re having an open door policy for all and sundry to come and have a chat anytime they need, and your caring nature is appreciated, honestly, truly, but be real, how many people have actually took you up on the offer and slid into your DMs with all their woes and stories of struggle? I’m guessing none or very little.
If you’ve never suffered from depression, or have never felt like the heavy feeling in your head is making you want to end it all just to have that sense of relief, then you won’t know how asking for help or just talking to someone off the cuff about your issues is one of the hardest things ever to even just imagine. There is not only a stigma of shame and embarrassment attached to mental health problems, but a true sense of that feeling too. When you feel so low, you sort of get used to the idea that you’re alone and that no one has time for your bullshit and the woe is me act. You sort of forget who posted a status after that episode of Coronation Street and you can’t remember who said to speak to them anytime. You just sit there, waiting for the storm to pass, going through your day, fake smiling and hoping no one will notice the absolute horror that is going on in your head.
It’s time to pay attention to your friends and the people you love guys. It’s time to put some work in. It’s time to show how much of a good of a friend you really are.
Be brave and take risks with those closest to you. They might be good at saying they’re ok and they have most definitely had years of practice acting fine and that everything is wonderful, but look out for changes in behaviour and character switches. Are they really ok? Instead of waiting for them to ask you for help, swoop in and be the hero. It doesn’t take a lot, I promise you. It’s that cup of tea and a chat about anything other than how we’re feeling. It’s that invite to do something which involves minimal effort and its the popping round with snacks and a movie not giving a shit about the messy house and unkept hair. Take over. Be there. Don’t ask. Make positive memories and change without the pressure of it being because of the dark cloud hovering around.
People who go through mental health problems have enough to worry about. Most of the time they’re probably worrying and talking themselves out of ending it all. Trust me, they don’t have the time, energy or confidence to pop in to have a chat because you said it was ok for them not to be ok.
Swoop in and take charge. Be a friend, save a life.