I was reading a book recently called 1929 by M.L. Gardner. While it is a fictional book, one of the characters had faced enormous upheaval and change along with feelings of great failure and disappointment. Just before the stock market crash of 1929, he was riding high on the top of the world and had more money and people working for him than he could keep up with. In a matter of a few hours, he went from his mighty empire to being completely broke and trying to figure out how to exist with the basics in life.
Through this time, he felt like he had failed so many people including himself. Growing up with a father who expected and demanded so much out of him, he thought he was worthless. Even though he tried to put on a good face and tried to do what everyone expected of him, he felt so lonely and worthless inside. On the eve of Christmas, his best friend found him moments before he pulled the razor blade across his wrist. At that moment of severe depression, his only thought was committing suicide.
In that experience, his best friend was there to talk and listen to him, holding out support to him without passing judgement. By listening and being there in that moment, he helped his friend realize that he was not making it any easier for the loved ones he would leave behind. In fact, if anything were true, he would be making it more difficult for them. He helped him to see that these people were all there for him and they cared greatly. Another main character of the story also saw through what had happened and helped him focus his life on what he did have, not on what he had lost.
Suicide and depression is a lonely state of mind. It is a hopeless state of mind void of logic and regular brain functioning. It isn't a place where an individual aspires to or wishes to be, but when they are there, it is a hell they have to live with. While sometimes it is difficult to get these people who are ready to commit suicide to listen to you, a good friend must not give up. They must not stop being there for them and listening to them. They must not stop letting them know and verbally communicating to them all that they have to live for.
Someone who is going through depression and suicide needs to know that they have people who truly care for them and by taking the easy way out, it would make it difficult on those they leave behind. The little things that you do, the moments you spend listening and the few words you may give them out of love and compassion, could very likely make the difference for them.
Listening is so therapeutic, but all too often we feel as if we have to solve someone's problem for them that we fail to listen. We're more interested in telling them what we see in life and what we think they should do, that we miss the pain they are asking someone to share with them. Listening is so powerful and for someone suffering from depression and suicide, it may just be the life saving force they need to pick themselves up and move forward.
Blog Post And Images (c) 7/12/12 by Don Shetterly
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