And weeeeeee’re back...again, for another deep dive into the pursuit of re-discovering my “voice”. I tend to have these questions circulating in my mind, often. They come up, in my mind, even more frequently now that we have all this time on our hands. But first off...how are you? I hope you’re staying busy and entertained during these strange times. This is...entry six? Maybe? Let’s go with it being entry six.
A big thing has happened since we last spoke, ladies and gentlemen of the Diary: we launched #mytruestory. I had this idea to use thehidden as a platform to shed light on something that really has been kept in the dark: mental health. More specifically mental health among kids our age. Call us generation Z, college kids, or whatever. I’ve met too many people, have too many friends, who suffer in the dark. This is not only an attempt to bring their stories to light, with their permission, but create a conversation around mental illness in order to reduce the stigma.
So we launched yesterday, with Carter’s story. You should go give it a read. But reading his story really makes me think about how does someone help a friend or family member struggling with mental health?
I’m not a doctor, but I do have experience. I’ve had friends who’ve gone through things and I’ve tried to offer “help”. If I’m being honest, I’m not always the best help giver. However, I do know that I ask for help a lot; which has introduced me to ways I personally would like to be helped. In my opinion, the best way to help someone is by doing these four things:
If I ask for your help, it’s not about you. It’s about me. Let me tell you what’s going on and what’s wrong. We don’t necessarily want a solution. Instead, we really just want a listening ear. So listen and actively listen through eye contact. It can go a long way.
2. Don’t pretend to be Dr. Phil
If I wanted a therapist I would have gone to a therapist. I know you don’t have all of the answers, so don’t try to pretend like you do. In my personal experience it’s only led to worse problems. Appearing to have all the answers can make you actually come off as “a know it all”. Even worse, it can make the person, who you’re trying to help, feel inferior.
3. Offer a helping hand
I’m not sure why, but whenever someone asks me “what can I do to help?” or “what do you need?” I feel like they’re actually on my side you know? They’re not lecturing me or trying to solve my problems, but they’re giving me a sense of control in determining how they can help me you know?
4. Know your limits
You have to know your limits and respect the limits of the other person. When I’m offering help, it’s important that I know what I can and cannot hear. There are things that I don’t feel comfortable discussing or problems that make me feel uncomfortable to get in the middle of. Overall, you have to know when to put yourself first.
That’s really it for now ladies and gentlemen of the diary! I’ll be back soon.