When you’re in a dark place

Someone emailed me about my fifty forth reason – You’re okay
She was wondering if it would help me to listen to it when I’m in a dark place, or would be trite and annoying. That made me laugh, for I was thinking when I read that, about the blue sky and birds chirping, which sometimes are uplifting, and sometimes d*** frustrating. That they’re at odds with me.

She asked me what would be helpful for her as a friend to say to people who are there. What would be helpful for my friends to say – and do – when I am there.

What would help you? What would you want others to say and do? How would you want others to be there for you?

I know the responses will be varied… for everyone is different.

I’ll try add my response later once I’ve had the time to think about it.


4 thoughts on “When you’re in a dark place

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  1. When I asked a friend what helps when they’re really depressed, they responded (and gave me permission to share it):

    For me, there are lots of different things that help [when I’m in a dark place] and I get them from different people. Often I just want someone to listen and hold the space for me to talk and feel heard. If they relate, that’s great. If not, then knowing someone cares is good. A lot of people may not relate to the details of my experience but may relate to the painful feelings, and validating those helps. For people who are local, it’s nice sometimes to just have companionship or a hug. Or company while washing dishes or getting groceries. Sometimes it helps to laugh and have silly conversations. Sometimes it helps to cry. So maybe the best thing is to just ask me what would help. And the worst things are to give unsolicited advice or tell me to think happy thoughts.

    They asked if that was helpful for me, and I said, “Wow! Yes. I don’t usually think to ask THE PERSON what would help them because in the past, the response has been, ‘I don’t know…’ (which is not too helpful)… But I’m thinking that if I first express empathy for where they’re at right in the dark moment, that might help them start to move to a place where they WANT to examine what might help them feel better.”

    They responded with more helpful insights:
    Empathy definitely helps. And you’re making an assumption about wanting to ‘feel better.’ With depression, sometimes my goal is just to get through until medication changes kick in or until the current wave of feeling awful passes. Or I want to feel better but I’m too hopeless for that to be my conscious goal. Just a caution about being overly solution-oriented. About people not knowing what they want… offer a couple choices. ‘Would it be more helpful for me to just listen right now or do you want me to share my experience (or ideas)?’ If I am wanting to look towards the future, sometimes just focusing on the next right thing is all I can do. If I trust someone or know they relate, I’m more open to hearing other things.

    My friend also shared these songs about getting through depression: https://youtu.be/IBcLUnzZiOA. This one is religious but it’s a great concept that God/Higher Power/Energy of Love can calm the inner storm. https://youtu.be/RQkSkBgX5cc

    Thanks for sharing, friend, and for allowing me to share your share!

  2. When I’m in a dark place it helps me to reach out, as in my own head everything spirals, and however much I know that I’m not looking at anything logically, at that moment, it is the logic I believe to be true.

    How can others help me?
    I sent someone a link to this blog recently. I wasn’t thinking about it when I sent it, wasn’t thinking about just how much anyone who reads this blog can see about my life. How much I think about suicide (or even that I think of it at all) isn’t something that I really share with anyone. Or, it isn’t something I talk about. Full stop. Her comment to me (if you’re reading this and think I mean you, I do) explained to me why people could worry. I hadn’t realized it previously. She told me that she’s been there and if I ever want to talk, I can. I have to say that however much I don’t understand why someone would care or offer that, however much I doubt I’ll be able to take it up, I appreciate it. The offer to just be there.

    I wouldn’t want others to say anything unless I specifically ask for advice. There are many times I’ve mentioned things to people just to share, and get advice instead. I called someone up once, as I was frustrated about a friend and wanted to share it. She began giving me advice and was helpfully telling me that this person obviously had relationship issues. Well yeah, this person did and does but that didn’t make what may have happened hurt any less. I told her repeatedly that I didn’t want advice and just wanted to share it. She continued trying to make it right. Eventually I gave up on sharing with her. Some people do want advice or comments. I think every person is different. And if you’re unsure, ask.

    I think that I might not mind so much what they do or say, but rather how they act. That, someone could say the ‘wrong’ thing but if it comes from a good place, I rather that then someone saying the ‘right’ thing. I was speaking to someone once who told me that people who self harm are crazy. I would rather speak to someone who’ll put their foot in their mouth but genuinely care than someone who thinks I’m crazy, for either spiraling, freaking, thinking about suicide/self harm/using. Don’t think or act like I’m weird, for then you make it unsafe for me to reach out to anyone. Treat me like I’m normal, ask me what I want at the moment, and be yourself and do whatever you are comfortable with. Even if I’m freaking, don’t walk on eggshells. If someone does/says something that bothers me I’ll tell them and tell them what I’d rather they do/say. I’m extremely straight. Too straight. I’m happy to tell people what I want if they just ask. I, personally, also need space. If people want to be there went I’m in that dark space, I’m happy to know that they’re there, but need them to give me space, space to just be.

    I feel like I’m not answering the question, I’ve stopped and started a few times, so really not sure what I have/haven’t written, but, hope this helps….. this is just me. Everyone is different. (which is why I appreciate people replying – thanks!)

  3. That’s a really great question, and I hope you get some responses! I know for me, one of the most powerful responses to a texted plea for prayers/positive energy when I was struggling was, “I’m here.” It didn’t change my circumstances, but it warmed my heart to know I wasn’t alone and that someone was “there” for me energetically, emotionally…. even though not physically.

    1. When I am in a dark place, the best thing anyone could say to me is that they may not completely understand what I am going through, but they care. This reminds me that I am not alone and that I am loved. When someone cares or loves me, I know that I will be okay, eventually.

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