Why can’t someone with a gripping familiarity with an affliction find words to guide another suffering the same? To help a brother or sister in arms, aching with a familiar pain? It makes me uncomfortable. Not another’s pain, that part I understand intellectually and emotionally. The discomfort comes from my perceived inability to offer succor and relief.
While I have real empathy and an affinity born of traveling the same shadowed passages, my responses or advice never feel helpful. Not completely.
This must be what family and friends feel when I’ve stumbles to the precipice.
My responses to someone with suicidal ideation aren’t flippant, but after uttering or writing the words, they seem hollow.
How can this be when I know the ropes? And pills? And a closed garage? It feels like a book written by someone who has never experienced the hopeless unending agony themselves. Ever read or been subject to the fitness guru who has never had a weight problem? How about the jackasses who write, or tell you, that if you just tapered off, or didn’t drink so much, you’d be fine.
Don’t believe it’s a coincidence that all of these disorders manifest in the physical.
Unless you’re a very good actor, the people closest to you will notice the despair. If you’re not used to hiding your feelings then ALL of these illnesses are immediately glaring to anyone.
I can’t hide the weight, but dress and hold myself like a beautiful sexy woman. I can’t hide being an alcoholic, but I don’t pick up a drink even when my ass is falling off.
I can and do hide my depression. Most of the time. The tears can’t always be stopped at will. The mental anguish induces a physical reflex that cannot be hidden 24 hours a day.
There is nowhere to go at this point. No option seems worthwhile or helpful. We’re broken and when someone offers to help fix us they don’t know what to do.
So I’ve come to the conclusion that the best thing in the world is the simplest.
Listen to another’s pain, their specific problems, the reasoning which brings them to thoughts of suicide.
Listen without comment. Without advice. Without condemnation of any kind. Especially without inane cheerful platitudes.
I think this is something everyone requires. Another human being who takes the time to hear us. Allowing the words and tears and snot and pain to flood from mind and body. Those of us already walking on glass need this something more than an average individual.
We need someone who cares. Especially when we are afraid to let the sickness have a voice. We need someone who takes the time to listen.
By: The Lumineers
Album: The Lumineers