I remember an episode of House from several years ago, the one where Kutner died. Only 25% of people who try to commit suicide exhibit symptoms.
And House retorted, saying that only 25% of suicidal persons have friends who notice the symptoms.
Several days ago, a friend told me that sometimes, the happiest people have the worst problems.
People deal with pain in different ways. While others are quick to move on and let go, others cannot as easily forget. People deal with different kinds of pain, and they can only hold so much for so long before they eventually feel like giving up. The longer you can hold on, the stronger you are, but even the strong have their weak moments.
When you’re at your weakest, that’s when you start to think that you want it all to end, but it’s not the end. Not yet.
So how can you help a friend when you don’t even know the troubles that come their way? A lot of people can hide sadness well, and you may never notice if you’re not looking.
So what can you do?
1. Treat every day like it’s the last. Make sure your family and friends know that you care, either by telling them, or by showing them. Knowing that someone cares about your existence can make a world of difference.
2. Make yourself available. When you’re busy with work or with school, it is easy to forget that there are other people who need you, too. Days, weeks, months, even years go by before you can make time for people who care about you. A lot of things can happen during this time, and trouble does not go away if there’s nothing or no one to intervene. Making time for people you care for will help them feel like they’re not alone. Being alone is a sad thing, and knowing that you’re going to be there for them will help lessen their sadness.
3. Listen. People talk too much , but in most cases, they hear, but fail to listen. Listening, after all, is quite a skill, and very few are able to master it. Sometimes, people need to vent to feel better, and if you can’t let them do that, they’re going to be taking more in, instead of letting things out. Most of all, watch and listen to the things that they are not saying. Does her smile reach her eyes? Does his words show in his actions? Is there a deeper pain than the superficial laugh or shallow problem they’re telling you? Listen and look deeper. Some answers hide in plain sight.
4. Empathize. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is a good way to learn how to understand that person. Just as you can relate to characters in a book or movie, relate to your loved ones, and empathize. Ask yourself how you’d handle things if you’re in someone else’s place. Having someone understand can help someone feel less alone. The sense of belonging make people feel less helpless about their situations.
5. Offer a hug. Not the one-armed, awkward, half-hearted kind of hug, but a real, affectionate, caring embrace. Hugs can say the things that words fail to express, and nobody can feel saddened by a genuine “I’m here and I care” touch. Fact. That kind of comfort can’t be found just anywhere, and it can make people feel safe, even for a time being. That kind of relief and release can make a difference.
It is easy to be immersed in your own little world. But you have to remember, that there are people you need to live your life, and there are those who might need you to live theirs.