Sunday, December 14, 2014. The weather is so drab, gray and damp, but fortunately much warmer than usual. I had to set off 6 bed bug bombs in this small apartment yesterday and I sprayed again, as well. Then I vacated and spent the night at my daughter’s. I took care of my two young grandsons so my daughter and her hubby could go out on a date. This morning I am back here again trying to make some kind of sense of the horrific tangled disarrangement this bug battle is causing in my life.
No, it’s not the end of the world to have these awful pests visiting me. I am cleaning and cleaning, sorting and throwing, hoping in my frantic efforts SOMETHING I do helps these critters DIE. Just DIE! Nobody on earth needs this crazy bunch of bugs to show up anywhere else.
So…. That’s an ongoing misery-creating process. But this is not what brought me to my computer to write this post.
Firstly I will include this link to a December 2009 post I wrote on a topic that I doubt I will ever write about again directly:
Next I will say that I have no idea if my daughter and her husband’s very good friend’s 29-year-old brother’s suicide last week was in any way connected to the holidays. This young man had attempted suicide two years ago, received “help” and everyone who knew him seemed to have believed that he was alright.
It is the ALRIGHT that I am thinking about here.
Who really knew?
Evidently nobody in his life from what my daughter is finding out in conversations with her friend and his family.
There does not seem to have been addiction, abuse or overt trauma in the family, my daughter says. However, there IS depression among many family members. Yes, many factors influence both depression and suicide. But this is not even what I want to write about today.
I want to write about LISTENING to people — those we care about as well as strangers. What is LISTENING?
1: to pay attention to someone or something in order to hear what is being said, sung, played, etc. —used to tell a person to listen to what you are saying
2: to hear what someone has said and understand that it is serious, important, or true
I cannot say that this young man wasn’t listened to or heard. I just have a very strong sense that he was not able to speak his truth, not allowed to speak it, because nobody wanted to hear what he had to say.
Oh, this would be SUCH a tragedy if true!
I have mentioned in earlier posts that this North Dakota area is, to me, an extremely unhealthy and unnatural emotional landscape. People insist on NEVER showing an emotion, talking about an emotion or even knowing that they or anyone else ever HAS an emotion. I HATE this about this region, which feels “dead” to me or at least “non-living” in so many ways. Yet I will never know if this emotional-void local culture affected this young man the way I imagine it may have.
His medication was being changed. To me this is a very high-risk action for anyone to go through alone — and for the many who do need to be hospitalized. If there were no direct warning signs that suicide was a choice made or about to be made, nobody could have done anything to prevent it.
My point simply is that we must LISTEN to people talk about feelings and states of mind that are less than “positive” if we want to hear the reality of that person. If all anyone wants to hear is the up-beat “Gee things are going so great for me” kind of language a stage is set where nothing that NEEDS to be said WILL be said.
In other words, people can feel completely unsafe even with those who love them to show their more complicated self in any way. I think people can make choices to listen in better ways. Why is it so tempting to be so afraid of people’s descriptions about their less than “perfect” experiences in and with life? Why do we shut one another off and shut one another up when something “unhappy” might appear in a conversation?
If interested, readers can do an online search for the terms “deep brain magnetic stimulation” which will bring up pages about a treatment for depression that can be highly effective. I have a friend whose partner suffered for many years with severe medication-resistant depression who was treated with this method during its experimental stages and is FINE now! A true miracle.
Another informative online search term combination is this one: “link between genes depression suicide.”
I am especially encouraging people to open their minds, hearts and EARS during this holiday season to allow for people who ARE struggling at this time of year (at ANY time of year!) can feel encouraged to speak the truth about how they are feeling. Listening, truly LISTENING to one another is one of the greatest gifts humans have been given to use to share our experiences of life. This is not one HALF of a gift so that we choose to listen only to “the positive” and shun and shame people for speaking about anything other than what we might judge as negative.
Give me a break! Give one another a break! I completely understand why people who NEED to speak do NOT speak. We have an instinctive ability to know when it is safe or not safe to expose our inner “vulnerabilities” with other people. We know in our gut, in our body — when speaking our truth will be negatively received in such a way that we then become PREY to someone else who — quite frankly — is acting like they are somehow better than we are.
I am NOT judging this family my daughter knows. I don’t even know them! I am writing from an inward place of resonance with deep and seemingly unbounded despair. I told my daughter bluntly last evening that if I did not have children I do not believe I would still be on this planet.
I don’t know that, of course. I have been a mother all of my adult life. I also recognize that BEING a mother is a great gift to me because it HAS enabled me to — stay here — especially at times when I hurt so much I did not believe I could take another breath or survive another second.
This is not a chipper kind of post!! It is a testament to exactly what I am trying to convey. There are UPS in life and there are DOWNS — because life is an ongoing, creative, organic process we FEEL our way through, whether or not we have words for our feelings or not. Whether or not anyone will truly listen to us when we most need to be heard.
Don’t give up! Yes, if at all possible do not give up! But also do not wait too long until it is too late to encourage EVERYONE in your life, especially those you care about, to feel COMPLETELY and absolutely safe in sharing anything of their truest, deepest feelings with you when they want and need to.
We need to be truly heard and we need to truly hear. This is one of the most powerful antidotes to feeling completely isolated an all, all alone.
But even then, there are people who will choose to leave this world earlier than seems best. There are part of ourselves and certainly depths to others that we will never know. There are mysteries. And suffering beyond the point of ability to bear it can also be very, very real.
I am just suggesting that perhaps nobody can really know if they did all they could have done to help someone avoid that precipice of suicide if they cannot truly say they were willing to listen and truly hear what that other person NEEDED to share with them.
While we cannot make someone talk to us we can make ourselves able to listen and to hear.
Comments are welcome on this blog. Please consider changing your name to something that is not identifiable to others if that might make you feel safer to speak. I can only respond directly to comments I publish/post (you do need to watch for and put a check mark in the little box that lets you receive follow-up replies). Thank you for reading and please have a safe holiday season and find SOMEONE you can talk to and be open to finding someone who needs you to listen to them.
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