What drives a person to commit suicide and how many do so who have shown no outer sign to anyone that anything was wrong? Depression is something so few people understand unless they have been in the same situation themselves. This can be said for those meant to be in the professions that are there to counsel and help. They go by text books only and what they ‘think’ they know from other cases.

Yes, other cases, for ‘cases’ is what each person is to them. Another name, in another file that can be put away with all the rest in a filing cabinet and forgotten about until they next come in for their appointment. That’s if they come back, for one day some won’t, because they are no longer part of this world.

Those who talk about suicide most, are often the ones who don’t carry it through. Obviously it can be said of some, but how many people have you heard or read about where no note was left and no one has any idea why they did it? Quite a lot aren’t there?

The other day, I bumped into an old schoolfriend. Like me, we’re both getting on in age now and have ailments that come with increasing years. Some have always been with us, but as a youngster they weren’t so bad and obvious, age though has a habit of changing things.

She was telling me of complications connected to one big problem she’s had all her life and how people really aren’t interested. She is so right, the majority aren’t interested, as life is all about them and what’s happening in their own life rather than other people’s.

Think about it. How many people you bump into say, “Hello, how lovely to see you. How are you?” How many of those people asking this question actually care and want to hear an honest answer? Very few. What they really expect and want is for you to reply. “Good to see you also. Yes, I’m great thanks and you?”

This is the reality and is why so few actually know when anything is truly wrong deep inside. People suffering a deep depression hide away on worst days and only come out when they know they can put a brave face on for the world and pretend all is well, that there’s hope ahead and something worth living for.

One thing we do know is that many cannot ever be helped no matter how kind, supportive or understanding those around them are. It’s just something no one can do anything about sadly. For others, they can be helped and all they need is for people to really care. For them to have an actual life where they are seen and appreciated as real people with something worth living for.

It is you who could make their life worth living for – but only if you really wanted to. It’s no good being like the people my friend was speaking about the other day. Don’t ask someone how they are if you don’t want to hear an honest answer and aren’t prepared to help them if you think they need it. If you call yourself a friend, be a real one. Real friends are there in bad times, because that’s when true friendship shows itself. Anyone can be a fair-weather friend, there only when times are good and a laugh is to be had.

Look behind the smile. Look in the eyes and see if they are smiling too. Look and listen. What are their words telling you that are left unspoken? What is their body language or deeds (or lack of deeds) telling you about their daily lives in reality? Are they filled with tales like yours of where they’ve been, who they’ve seen and what they’ve done, or are they words that say none of those things have been in their life?

Do they talk of what lies ahead and events, trips or outings they’re looking forward to; events planned with friends, family or even alone? Or is there nothing mentioned about future plans? If they have nothing to say about what they’ve been doing or who they’ve seen and if they have nothing to say about anything ahead either maybe, just maybe, they need someone to care that bit more. Someone to be a true friend.

Remember, true depression is often hidden from the world and what they try and tell you is things they’ve done or plan to do are not as exciting or interesting as they try and make them sound. They say things to put you off the scent. People suffering from depression can be very embarrassed that they are and feel they should be able to ‘get grip’ as far too many people tell them to do.

People can’t get a grip. Why do people making such crass comments do so? Do they really think people want to live like they are depressed, unable to go out, mix of have a life such as they and others are? No one chooses to be this way, it can happen to any of us at any given time when we least expect.

If you think what someone you know says about their lack of activities sounds boring and not very eventful, they probably weren’t and that’s when you need to look a bit closer and wonder why. They usually won’t tell you why truthfully and will try to hide the real reason from you. No one wants to admit no one cares about them, isn’t interested in them, doesn’t call or make an effort to plan outings with them do they? Would you admit those things to anyone or would you pretend all was well?

Put yourself in their life and try to make an effort, maybe take them out more, make their life interesting in ways you’d like to think someone would care enough to do for you. Ask about them and be really interested in who they are and what they’re about. How easy to make it all about us, our families, our wonderful lives and how simple to not recognise not all have the same things.
People always want to be around happy people and don’t like moaners.

Depression isn’t moaning though. If someone tells you they are lonely, no one bothers with them, that no one calls and they never go anywhere unless alone and they are depressed, that is a cry for help. That is totally different from negative people who only ever see the bad side to life.

Don’t be selfish, don’t ignore such clues all isn’t well. Make a difference in today’s world and make a difference in someone’s life. Most important, do it because you care, because you want to help and be with them and make their life better, not because you feel duty bound to ‘do a good deed’ you can later tell others about to show how good you are.

Being kind, genuinely caring, loving people and what happens to them costs nothing, but your time. Giving time to others is the most valuable thing we can give in life – and it’s free. That one kind gesture, that time you spent really listening and caring and not just pretending to, just might be all it takes to save someone’s life – for that day at least.

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