Mental Health: Listen Up!

This post is a little more serious than normal. Call it a “mindfulness” post if you will. A thought occurred to me today as I walked through the streets of my local town with my friends. We laughed, we confided, we advised, we cared. I realised in that given moment how lucky I was to have friends who listen to me mope, who listen to my problems, or listen to my ridiculous stories. It then occurred to me that not everyone is as lucky as I am. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have anyone. Sometimes I want to reach to those who don’t have the patience or time to listen. Those who are too busy, too caught up in their world to ask how I’m feeling. But at least I’m not alone. Scarily enough, there are hundreds and thousands out there who are.

The ‘Mental Health’ topic has grown phenomenally over the last few years. Maybe the topic already existed, but it didn’t cease to exist in my life until recent years. As Monday blue’s began to occur and friends came and left my life, my mental health took a toll. I grew empathy for my peers who suffered in school from bullying. I witnessed intolerable behaviour, I saw a cruel side to the world we live in. As I’ve matured into a young woman, I’ve witnessed the various types of mental health issues. Bullying, Eating Disorders, Depression, Anxiety, you name it. An issue that lives amongst people of all ages, is the ability to omit compassion. As I said earlier, I feel truly lucky that I’ve had friends I can confide in. Sometimes it’s not your friends you want to talk to though. It’s your parents, your siblings, your partner. Every single person is privately coping with insecurities, confidence or mental battles. Taking that leap to confide in someone you trust is not only the scariest thing you can do, but it is the bravest.

Now, getting back to those who feel like they have no one. If you’re reading this and you may know someone who battles from depression, seems a little unhappy or perhaps isn’t making many appearances on the school grounds, ask yourself this. Should I reach out?Sometimes we make so many attempts to reach out to the people who we thought cared, and are completely shunned. They’re too busy or don’t have the time or love to take a moment to listen. When this happens, more often than not, we isolate ourselves. We isolate our emotions. We tell ourselves they don’t care. These negative feelings multiply as the days go on, leaving us feeling hopeless and afraid to open up to someone new. If you’re reading this and you’ve felt you have tried to open up to someone and have completely lost yourself in the midst of it, remember that there’s someone out there who will listen.

To those who refuse to listen, who have told their sibling they’ll talk later or to those who’ve ignored their best friend when he or she tried to tell you how unhappy they were, please try and remember one thing. There’s no time like the present, and time is of the essence. Negligence is a form of disrespect. Ignorance is a form of pain. Selfishness is a form of carelessness. As human beings, we should find the time to embrace compassion to those who look for it. It’s rather flattering to have someone turn to you to confide, as it shows they have put their trust in you. They have looked to you as someone in their life that they can share their problems with. That’s an enormous role to be given as a friend. This role isn’t to be tampered with though. Be mindful. This person has looked to you for guidance and support because they respect you. It’s very easy to get caught up in our own world, but ideally we should respect those who look to us for support. They chose YOU.

We only have one life, so we should continue to make the world a positive place. Sure, we have our own issues, but by making a positive change or helping someone in need, you’ll not only help them, but you’ll feel great about yourself too. Next time you see someone sitting alone at lunch, invite them to sit with you. Next time your sister is crying to you for advice, turn off your phone and really be there for her. Tell your family what they mean to you. Spend some time with those who give up their world for you. All it takes is one act of selfishness a day to grow as a person. Positive behaviour results with positive outcomes. Those who show they care will be granted with love and admiration. Those who really listen will be heard in return. There are 7 billion people on this planet who want to be heard. If you’ve been chosen to listen, don’t take it for granted. Don’t take the people who respect you for granted. Be mindful. One day you’ll need them in return.