By Raquel Lyons
Can you really not help someone who does not want to be helped? How true is this statement? Or, do we just say it to ourselves to absolve any guilt we may have over not being enough to save someone that we love?
Hand in hand to this is the concept that you have to help yourself first before you can help someone else.
I don’t believe it is necessarily an entire truth that you can’t help someone unless you’ve helped yourself. I think being placed in that kind of position gives you the ability to act and respond with compassion and mutual solidarity that other people may not have the luxury of having.
And, at the same time, to be away, at arm’s length of the situation gains you much more insight and ability to help someone than only being able to relate to someone as you are both knee deep in quicksand.
So, like most things in life, the answer is both yes and no. It’s a shade of gray often unaccounted for.
I believe that thinking someone can only help themselves is a dangerous concept at its worst.
I don’t believe it to mean we shouldn’t try to look out for others. They may not take to our aid or even our words of advice, and that is something within their very own right to do, and I don’t think it means we should never try.
Because sometimes at some point in time our words and our actions could become the critical point to which another person chooses recovery or chooses to fall more unsteadily down a particularly dark path.
We just never know when one or the other–or to complicate matters, both–will occur.
I’ve heard it said before that the same information could be presented at both Point A and Point B and that within those two points the information could be differently encoded.
Basically, I could tell you the story of X and at two separate moments you have built up a series of life experiences that will cause you to react differently to the information that is provided to you.
No one moment can ever be truly replicated. We are all unique, complex individuals who can never really experience the same exact event twice.
I will never fully appreciate the setting sun in exactly the way that you do simply because I am not you.
Although I may never experience your life in the same way that you do, we both experience this life in some of the same, similar ways.
And so, that means that in this moment of my handwriting this, in the moment of my typing these words, and also in the moment of you reading these words, we *are* united.
We are *not* alone.
The next time you feel that no one will understand the darkness within your soul that you struggle to convey, think only of this word: empathy.
Empathy allows us humans to feel with each other, to imagine such horrors and to be understanding of them even when we have not undergone the tragedies ourselves.
Instead, we feel *with* you, and by feeling with you while being separate from you, gives us the perspective to aid you in ways you are unable to see right now.
Additionally, I think if we tell ourselves someone can only be helped when they themselves are ready, they don’t realize how *bad* mental illness can get.
I fear this is the same misguided logic behind the concept of having to hit rock bottom before you can get help.
Really, what is being said here in that statement is: “I’m not worthy of help,” “I don’t deserve help” and “my situation is not ‘that bad’”.
The problem with all of these negative thoughts is you or your loved ones may become so ingrained in denial that you are incapable of seeing how “bad” things have gotten.
And, by simply being human, for being someone who is struggling either publicly or privately, you inherently are someone who needs, deserves and is worthy of help.
Reaching out for help will always be a brave, courageous act; because you do not have to experience deep emotional pain as your last experience in this life.
Because it does get better, and it gets better as you put in the work and the effort for it to get better.
Pain is temporary. Our lives have guaranteed endings at an unknown period of time. We make the most of it, because without it, we’d be lost.
And you are no longer lost, but rather, you have been found.
Part of the inspiration for my writing this article came from Linkin Park’s song “One More Light” with the chorus: “If they say who cares if one more light goes out? In the sky of a million stars it flickers, flickers. Who cares when someone’s time runs out? If a moment is all we are. Who cares if one more light goes out? Well, I do.”
Legit crying over this song STILL.
I really want to pat my sleepy Mocha but I also wanted this sucker up tonight, too. I’d love to hear any of your feedback or thoughts on the matter or these issues!! 🙂
I made a heated Twitter thread today that is what inspired this article and then my reading “Before I Fall” realllllly kicked it up a few notches, adding in this song and BAM! We got this sucker out. I have a RAW version and an EDITED version, this is clearly the latter so that I could make it fit within an 850 word limit.
Any who, I will likely be adding a photograph to this piece in the future, maybe of which I will create tomorrow.
Thank you for reading and stumbling along!!
The title was difficult–got it inspired again in part from the novel! So many thoughts, gwah! Originally it was “Saving Someone from Themselves”
Written October 30.2017
PS You can be damn well sure I’m going to do another music mental health post with THIS song. ❤ I love it so much and also, RIP Chester Bennington. I’ve cried many times today, I’m thankful that your talent and marvelous voice have been captured in time by the art that you helped to produce. You were an amazing soul and even though I’m just a small voice in the crowd around you, I know that one voice has the power to inspire thousands of other voices and in that sense, we are never truly alone.
Please, if you are struggling tonight, or any night, call 1800 273 8255 if you’re in the US. You’re worthy of this life. Please, please be around to live it.
Okay, that’s enough outta me!