To loosely quote some twittering idiot I came across this afternoon:
Don’t try to help those who don’t want help
Here’s where I am with this: Although I myself have often recognised that trying to offer help to someone who is stubbornly set in their ways, and seemingly incapable of shifting their beliefs to something a little more conducive to their mental and physical wellbeing can be frustrating, it does not however, give me the right to assume that they do not require help – even if it is just in the capacity of having someone listen to them. Making sweeping statements such as the above is not only presumptive, but potentially harmful as it serves to make ordinary folk like most of us feel even more ostracised and isolated, and as though the world really doesn’t care. Just because someone doesn’t openly accept your help does not give you the right to go off in a selfish huff, because you feel inadequate.
Mental health is a tricky enough issue as it is, and it is further exacerbated by those who genuinely believe that others are broken and therefore need fixing. Sometimes the healing required is having someone listen and genuinely care for their personal wellbeing. Much damage is caused in believing that someone is anything but whole. We people are complex beings living complex lives, so to assume that any of us would have better answers than another is down to a poor lack of judgement. The act of living and being human is a collaborative endeavour, hard as it is to believe at times. We could not exist without one another.
More compassion, understanding and flexibility in general would probably go a lot further than either prescribed beliefs or medicines.
Everyone needs a little help at one time or another. Therefore it bodes well to put your ego and your pseudo-psychology bullshit aside, and actually listen for once. People who actually need help don’t need you to make it about you.
Feeling helpless when you see someone you love going through a painful time in their lives is quite normal, but learning to be there for them in the way that they need you to be there for them is worth everything in the world, and may possibly stop them doing something everyone will regret. We need to learn as a culture to choose our words and our actions more carefully, not only when interacting with others, but also with ourselves. Kindness goes a long, long way.