The importance of people

“I feel like my life is so scattered right now. Like it’s all the small pieces of paper and someone’s turned on the fan. But, talking to you makes me feel like the fan’s been turned off for a little bit. Like things could actually make sense. You completely unscatter me, and I appreciate that so much.”

Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green and David Levithan

People are important. Reaching out is important. A text can save a life. Today I am grateful for my friends.

For years, I was convinced I needed to deal with everything on my own. That my problems were mine alone, and that letting people in was the worst possible thing I could do, for them, and for me. Depression convinces you that you are worthless. Worth less than everybody else. So what right do you have to inflict yourself on other people? Who are you to ask for anything from anyone?

I personally find it very difficult to ask for help, with anything. I think this is true for a lot of people. We live in a world where admitting weakness very often results in a loss of respect from those around us. People take advantage. Survival of the fittest has created a culture of fear. Fear of honesty. Fear of judgement. Fear of being seen a less than. In some cases, even physical illness is seen as a personal weakness. But there is a particular feeling of superiority when it comes mental health problems. Borne out of a lack of understanding, perhaps. Well, I’d like to think.

To a large extent, mental illness is invisible. People suffer in silence, develop coping mechanisms, some healthy, some not. So unless someone reaches crisis point, the people around them are very unlikely to know there is a problem. And if your only experience of mental health problems is seeing someone in crisis, it all becomes a bit Big and Scary. But what if we were all more honest about our daily struggles? What if admitting to anxiety was no more remarkable than telling people you had a headache? Are we ready for that? Do we even have the language necessary to have these discussions? It’s hard to say things, articulate things, that people have a limited understanding of.

But it is important. To talk. Whether it’s sending a text, messaging on social media sites, leaving a comment on a blog, meeting up for a coffee and a chat, or sending a good old fashioned letter. These are things that can help. It’s important to reach out, to let people in. It may seem scary. You may stare at that send button for ages before working up the courage to press it. But believe me, it’s amazing the weight that lifts afterwards. Just knowing that someone else knows can make a huge difference to how much strength you have to cope with difficult situations.

So, I guess what I’m saying is, if you know someone who’s having a hard time, contact them. Let them know they’re not alone. And if you’re suffering, I know it’s hard sometimes to see anything outside yourself. But people are there. And want to help. A text could be the first step.

a text can save a life

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8 thoughts on “The importance of people

  1. This is BRILLIANT and spot on how I feel. I’ve suffered in silence from anxiety and depression since high school and I’m now 46. I parent two boys who suffer anxiety… and I’m their biggest advocate. I am learning to be my own advocate too. Thank you for sharing your mind with us!

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  2. As someone who is currently being managed out of a job for having the audacity to request part-time hours to care for an elderly and recently bereaved relative, this couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you for reminding me how kind the human race can be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your job situation, that is really really awful. I’m a firm believer in the kindness of people. Occasionally I am disappointed, but more often than not, my faith is rewarded. I hope you can reach out for support with your burden. Take lots of care of you x

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  3. This is wonderful except for when you do reach out for help and you pick the wrong people. I did this recently and got the worst response I could possibly get and it broke me. My two closest friend have literally “given up on me” becuase they can’t fix me. I know rationally that this says more about them than me but god it hurts. I try to be understanding of their perspective but I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a special place in hell for people who kick others when they are down…..and no – ignorance is not a decent excuse.

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  4. When I have reached out to others, I have ended up hurt. People like to use a person who is willing to do things for them and listen to their problems.
    I have also had family turn on me like I am a bad person.
    I have given up on making friends. My heart cannot take any more so I keep my distance. However, it is lonely and hard when you feel that you can’t, or won’t trust others.
    I wonder if others have reached this point in their lives.
    I have casual friends but no close friends.

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    1. I so sorry to hear you’ve had such a hard time with family and friends. All I can say is to keep trying (though I understand how tough that is). For example, do you have any professionals who you can trust? Or any ‘casual friends’ who have had similar experiences to you? Take lots of care of yourself xx

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