Be The Ears That Listen, Mind That Understands, Heart That Empathize, And Voice That Encourage (LoH100)
September 22, 2022
The sun couldn't seem to be found as I felt like it was all dark. Nothing else but sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness. Happy things around me were ignored, and sadness was allowed to submerge in me. I was demotivated to pursue things despite getting encouragement. The achievements of others were hated, and my mind became toxic. Life for me was nothing but useless and helpless.
I felt like I was a lost sheep that needed to pasture back to my fold. I could no longer think straight, but I was rather discouraged, disappointed, and frustrated. Anxiety took over my system. I was depressed that I even thought of ending my life. Burdens seemed heavier and heavier that I could no longer lift. The health aspect was compromised. I just want to end everything. In the darkness and emptiness, I might find peace. That's how I thought.
You wouldn't feel and understand it until you step in the same shoes. Until you become depressed and get lost in the dark.
However, I was also reminded of how I get through the dark, how I was able to get back to the surface after being drowned, how I found the light again, and how I strengthened myself so the next time I suffer the same thing, it would be easier for me to get through it.
Do you know how to be an effective advocate for your beloved one or friend when they're dealing with a mental health issue? Do you know how to respond, and whom to contact for help? Have you ever been faced such a challenge?
Given that I've been through suffering and pain, it made me capable of dealing with such challenges, thus, capable of being an effective advocate for those who suffer the same.
Things are subjective. What is effective to me might not be to others. People are good at keeping emotions. We don't know what others are struggling with, so a broad understanding and consideration are necessary to avoid triggering anxiety and depression that someone might be dealing with.
Be The Ears That Listen, Not That Ignore
During those days that I felt helpless, I didn't like talking with others or sharing my feelings as I was worried about being misunderstood. But the fact is, I wanted someone beside me with whom I could vent out my emotions.
People with depression need this the most as they feel alone in an empty world. However, some tend to ignore those who are trying to release their emotions.
"Don't mind her. She's out of her mind."
Oh, sure they are out of their minds. Their words and emotions are being ignored. But the more they are ignored, the more they get an imbalanced state of mind.
Those were the times when I needed the presence of others. Someone who would let me feel that I am not alone and that there are people out there who are willing to listen to me. Someone who could at least help ease the sadness I was feeling. The ears that listen, not those that ignore.
Be The Mind That Understands, Not That Judge
The problem with this society is that people whom they think are out of their minds, or those suffering from unstable mental health are being judged and called crazy. Back when my mental health became unstable, I even thought of consulting a physician. Not because I felt crazy, but because they are those who truly understand such situations, not those who judge.
However, as I faced the room and looked at the title of the physician pinned on the door, "Psychiatrist", I, myself judged myself and asked, "Am I crazy? Why do I need to do this?" I backed out but came back a week after. However, nothing progress happened. I was worried about what other people would think about me once they saw me entering that room. Because not all understand. Not all have the same perspectives.
I never went back to that place again, and just dealt with this monster in my mind alone. I withstood the pain and sadness until I could no longer feel them. Until I got back to my whole self again.
Do you know how tough it is to deal with this kind of situation alone? You wouldn't know until you suffer the same.
The reason why others literally go crazy or even tend to suicide when under depression, is because they feel like no one understands them. They tend to deal with it alone because they fear being judged by judgemental people in this judgemental society. Some can handle it, but some tend to get lost in the dark.
It's the same sense when judging someone who made a mistake in the past and wasn't given a second chance. The tendency is that the person will repeat the same mistake. So if someone is depressed, not given attention, and misunderstood, the person tends to suffer depression all over again. Until he/she could no longer stand it, and would just opt to end everything.
No one else can help them but only us inside the society. We shouldn't conclude or call someone crazy just because of what we see. Be the mind that understands, not that judge.
Be The Heart That Empathizes, Not Just Sympathizes
If there is one thing I learned in this medical field, showing empathy works well more than just showing sympathy. These two are different that one must understand. Dealing with a person with depression is the same as dealing with an old patient with agitation.
Of course, it's easy to say,
"I understand you. I know what you feel. Just be strong, you can get through it."
Yet, some tend to fake their feelings just to show sympathy. But at the back of their minds, they would say, "this lady is going crazy."
Have you done that? Be real when you are showing your sympathy to someone dealing with depression. It's a serious thing, not a joke. What they truly need is empathy and compassion.
I remembered back when I was dealing with my agitated patient, it stressed me out, and I felt like I would be out of my mind as well. One thing our instructor told us when dealing with such a situation is to "put ourselves into one's shoes and learn how to get out of it with reassurance."
Of course, understanding depression is important, but being in one's shoes and feeling what she/he truly feels matters more. This tweet illustration is a precise explanation of what I want to convey here.
Again, as I mentioned above, you wouldn't know until you suffer the same. So be the heart that empathizes, not just sympathizes.
Be The Voice That Encourages, Not That Discourages
It seems easy for others to judge those who seem crazy dealing with depression. Some even discourage them in this society. But people who suffer from depression need encouragement and more support, not discouragement. In fact, I didn't want to be pitied back when I was depressed, because I felt helpless and weak if people looked down on me or sympathized with me.
If there's a good thing that helped me defeat the monster in my mind and get through the dark, it was releasing my emotions and frustrations. Not just to anyone, God listens more.
Yes, I did feel like a crazy one shedding tears while talking to myself alone in the dark, asking God why I needed to suffer this. But when I learned to let go of those emotions and found people who are willing to listen, I was relieved and felt lighter. And that's when I realized that, we are not alone in this world, there will always be someone who will understand and listen to us. Someone whom we can lean on. And to get through the dark, we have to seek the light.
Due to my fear of Him, I failed to end my life, rather, value it more. I mustered my strength to step into the light again, for the sake of my loved ones and dreams.
Blogging was my way of releasing my frustrations and emotions. I was grateful for having some people who listened to me and gave encouragement to keep going. Although I was judged by others for being honest with my emotions and feelings, that's inevitable. My determination to get back on track helped me get through it, and I didn't give a d*mn to those thinking negatively about my situation.
So, being a person who suffered from depression and was able to get through it, I am encouraging not just the Ladies of Hive, but also those who are struggling to deal with it not to hesitate to speak out. Stop holding your emotions as they might eat you. Stop saying you are okay when deep inside you are struggling. Remember, never allow the monster in your mind to take over your life. And don't hesitate to seek help, because you are not alone. He is always there. He knows better than us.