Jason Schweitzer LLC Counseling Services Ph: (507) 722-0753 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
People who are struggling to overcome the problems in their life often say things like, "No one understands". They often believe in this statement so much and have said it to themselves over and over so often that they now come to know it as a fact. My friends, a fact is an observable (to others also) provable action or thing. Just because you tell yourself something repeatedly does not make it a fact. To the person going through the struggle, every time they have tried to confront their problem by using their own devices or talking about it and it didn't go away, they chalk it up to more evidence that "no one understands because they don't know what I've been through". When you hear it as a friend, it's easy to tell them "it will get better" or "you just need to get out of the house more". However, when you are going through the struggle and others say these things to you, it's often interpreted as an empty encouragement, even insulting, and ultimately meaningless. So what do you say to them? "Tough love" or the "suck it up buttercup" approach will not work; giving "advice" (you're not Siggy Freud or Dr. Phil) will not work; comparing your experience (You are totally different than your loved one or friend) will not work. Instead, tell them you are here for them, you believe in them, ask what you can do to help them feel better, ask them what they think will make them feel better. Ask them about their feelings. Ask if they are thinking about wanting to die. Ask if they have been playing "Russian Roulette". What can you do with them? Remember this isn't about you. They aren't being selfish. Do not commiserate with them. Do not make ultimatums or make demands of them. Instead, offer to spend time with them and do it. Offer to drive them to their therapy appointment and do it. Cook them a meal to store in their fridge or freezer. Share the National Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-8255) number with them. Take them to the Emergency Room if they are actively suicidal. If they are gun owners, offer to store their guns and do it. For historical and cultural perspective on Depression, see Dr. Neel Burton's Tedx Talk.