My Name is Matthew, and I am a soldier. I have an interesting view that I share from time to time with the folks I encounter as I walk the road. Some of those people have encouraged me to seek out ways to help others or simply share my views or ideas with more people. I will blog on many subjects, from things that piss me off on a daily basis to more important issues such as dealing with chronic depression and the struggles that ensue as a result. I will be taking bits and pieces from emails and rants that I have verbalized as well, so if you see something we have talked about please, smile and nod...Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Trivial or Catastrophic?

         I have often marveled at how poeple trivialize the problems other people face. I knew a teenage girl who was the daughter of a friend of mine. She was going through a break up with her boyfriend. She was so distraught that she would lock herself in her room and cry for hours on end. I remember him telling me "I don't see what the big deal is". I knew a young woman who was going through a break up, and she was in her twenties. She couldn't go to work for a day or two because it hurt her so bad that her significant other was now gone and moved away. Poeple were confused as to how something so small could disable someone. I myself have had problems in the past and gone to therapy for my issues. When someone trivializes the trauma others face, they demoralize the person they are talking to. I understand the urge to tell someone "it's not all that bad". I understand the logic of saying "other people have been through worse than this, and you will make it out". That's encouraging, but only if you say that part at the end "you will make it out". To a teenage girl, a break up was her whole life falling down around her ears. To put things into perspective, at the age of 17 going through a break up would be the equivalent of going through a divorce. To a teenager, graduating high school is the equivalent of graduating college or getting a huge promotion at work.

          We should learn not to trivialize the pains of other people and not make them feel so small when they are going through hard times. Often when someone is depressed they just need someone to shut up and listen. Don't offer an opinion, don't offer feedback, don't offer words of encouragement unless you truly mean them and they come from the heart. No one needs to hear the crap out of a greeting card when they are feeling like the world is falling down around their ears. No one needs a kick in the ass when they are down. When a friend is going through some stuff, just being there is enough sometimes.

           When someone is going through a hard time, they may not realize that there are those around them who care. Often times people who are depressed fail to see the people who care. They don't reach out for help because they don't believe it is there. Even if you have told someone over and over again to call if they need help, they may think you were just being nice. The advice here, is to be agressive if you see someone acting withdrawln or strangely out of it. Know the signs and symptoms. Be a friend, if you notice your friend is acting weird, ask them direct questions. "Are you thinking about hurting yourself?" I know, it sounds like that would be the wrong thing to say. It's not, when I was in that position myself, someone asked me that question and I broke down. I got the help I needed and I am much better off now because of it. Try to stay away from words like "No, don't, won't or cant" when you talk to someone you think is depressed or hurting.

        The bottom line is that sometimes we are all we have. If you are a friend or you are someone who has been touched by something tragic in your life, you know how that feels. Don't let your friends and family experience the pain that comes with a loss like that. Reach out to those who you feel may be acting strange. Sometimes that's all it takes.



  1. So true to reach out to others and to be persistent in doing so if we realize they might be acting off or not themselves. You are right, the best thing to do is just to let them talk or just sit there quietly and let them know someone cares enough to do that. Great advice.


  2. Sometimes the best thing to do is shut the hell up. Thanks for the comment and GOOD LUCK ~!

  3. When I was a very young girl, many years ago my father comitted suicide. I remember my mom saying along that time that she has reached out for help for him and was told by so many people, "those who talk about suicide rarely commit it" One of those people was the sheriff who showed up at our door to tell my mom where they had found my dad. You are absolutely right in saying that people should ask if someone is considering hurting themselves. While I was in nurses' training we were taught to not only ask that but to ask if they had a plan. These people mean business. I wish someone had reached out to my dad! But I also have to interject, as the survivor of a father who committed suicide, I feel it is the ultimate selfish act. They are only thinking of ending their own pain. But they are leaving pain behind for their loved ones to suffer for years and years! Another good thought provoking post today!

    1. Thanks for the comment. I am deeply sorry to hear that you had someone so close to you commit suicide. I knew this was a touchy subject when I wrote it. Thank you for understanding.