Today I’d like to share Megan Devine’s new You Tube video ‘How do you help a grieving friend’. A lot of this also works for anxiety and depression too.
SO much of this also applies to mental health issues too. People judge you, correct you (which they show by telling you what you SHOULD do) and shame you by saying ‘why don’t you just…’. It hurts so bad and it makes you stop talking, they skip off feeling great, while you are left hurting even more. Abandoned in your pain, alone and they are now someone else for the ‘keep you mouth shut n don’t tell the truth’ when they ask ‘how are you’ list, which is so long you can’t remember who is safe anymore so you pretty much stay silent.
Please don’t ask ‘How are you?’ its right up there as one of the most hurtful things to say, and here is why.
- You know I’m struggling, to you this is a throw away comment, something people just say. To me its a time bomb. By asking that question, I face the dilemma of; do I lie so you might stay, and it makes YOU feel better, or tell the truth and watch you shuffle your feet, look at your watch n leave at the speed of light. If you don’t wanna know, please don’t ask me that question.
- I don’t have the energy or strength to make up some dismissive line. I don’t want to lie and you don’t like it when I tell the truth.
- This one is also very important so I’m going to underline it. If I make sentences after your question, this isn’t a to do list, you don’t need to take action unless I ASK you too.
Look at me before you ask something, do I meet your eyes, do I look like I’ve slept in the last week? If not, don’t ask me how I am, ask me if I’d like company, would I like a hug, would I like YOU to make a cup of tea and just sit silent in the same room, so that just for a while, I don’t have to do this alone.
You can’t fix this, you can’t change this, and right now I can’t handle it. If you have to you can ask me if I want to talk about it but don’t EXPECT me to have the words.
I can’t handle hearing your ‘here’s how perfect my life is going’ stories, you tell me to ‘cheer me up’ because they are hitting me like; ‘here is what you HAD and don’t have now’. They make me feel more lonely, and depressed.
What would I like to hear?
What would I like? Company on the page I’m on. Meet me on the page I’m on, be there, hold my hand if I ask, give me a hug if I ask, hear the crack in my voice that says ‘today is WAY too heavy and I can’t process’. Make me a cup of tea coz I don’t have the strength, maybe run me a bath coz for me to do that feels like climbing a mountain, even tho it would feel nice.
Please don’t bring your expectations and think I will embrace them with open arms, I don’t have the strength to explain, to defend or to process.
Please don’t give me advice, unless I ask for it. The irony of people who will pummel you with every ‘you should, why don’t you’ in the book but go silent when you actually ask them for advice or worse still give you the ‘I can’t get that involved’ line which makes me feel like pond mud.
Lets keep this simple, what I most would like is, a cuppa, some company and someone to hold my hand, without feeling the need to fill the silence. That costs nothing, can you do that for me? If you can’t, if you can’t let me be on the page I’m on without judging me correcting me or shaming me, then please, do us both a favor and just DON’T ASK.
Say Hello and leave it at that.
Because for some of us gravity is a whole lot heavier than it is for you. We know you can’t can’t handle this, its written all over your face, just know, NEITHER CAN WE BUT WE DON’T HAVE THE LUXURY OF CHOICE.
Megan Devine is a wonderful person, she has a website and online journalling course and a fantastic book. Many thanks for telling it like it is Megan and for helping the rest of us gradually find our voices and say ‘This is not ok’ how grieving and (people with mental health issues) is treated right now is not ok.
Sending you all peace, love light and hope in the darkness. I wrote this after being repeatedly treated badly and not having the voice to let that person know. If this is happening to you and you want a post you can point them at to say; ‘This is how I feel and this is how you make me feel when you do this’.
Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing this post if it helped you.