Half way through a suicide prevention workshop, it hit me hard. An immense sadness, that in this age of digital convenience, people can still feel so alone. We are but one call, one text, one message away from talking to someone; yet we don’t reach out. These actions seem so simple, yet the mental energy needed and the emotional preparation involved can be so overwhelming that we end up feeling there’s no one to turn to.
We may go as far as putting out cryptic messages that are disguised cries for help… In the hopes that someone would notice. Someone would answer. What then, if no one comments. What then, if no one asks? Will that escalate the emotions, the loneliness, the hopeless helplessness?
An alarming, confrontational afternoon of self-reflection. How can I help? What can we do to prevent someone from falling through the cracks?
It may be as simple as asking someone if they are alright. Yet in our oh-so-busy lives, how can we become more aware, more sensitive to the signs? And when we notice, how then, do we muster the courage to be the person who asks the direct questions? Are we too presumptuous or intrusive? After today, I think, it is worth risking someone thinking I should mind my own business. Having the courage to be too nosey is better than regretting a lack of action.
It may also be, that there aren’t noticeable signs. What can we do then? How are we presenting ourselves in our every day lives? Do people feel that we are approachable? Do they think we will understand and listen without judgement?
So much to learn. So much more to critically reflect and improve on.
Yet I wonder: what if we all throw out the intention that “I WANT TO LISTEN”? It doesn’t matter if we are close, estranged, acquaintances or related. If someone needs a sounding board, if they need a listening ear, they should be able to find one.
Just so you know – there’s one right here, my friends. You can always talk to me.