For those out there suffering in silence. You don’t need to. It is never too late for #Timetotalk.
I saw the hashtag #Timetotalk trending on Twitter today. This is something I hugely welcome. Over the years various people have crossed my path and for one reason or another felt comfortable enough to share their ‘stuff’ with me, usually over a cup of tea in my kitchen. Sometimes the floodgates open and things that have never been said to another soul come pouring out, things that are causing, and have historically caused, a great deal of mental anxiety and depression. I listen. It is what I do.
Over the years that kettle has been put to good use! I have found that usually women want to share and when they know they will be listened to without any prejudice or judgement, then they feel comfortable to open up. For men it seems harder, and that is why I have chosen these stories to share. Moments in time when two souls interacted-when one spoke, one listened and a bridge of trust was built….A bridge that hopefully lead someone who was in a dark place towards the Light and a way back to being happy being them.
The #Timetotalk posts got me thinking about just how important it is to know someone will listen to you…to know someone actually cares…you are NOT alone prisoner to your thoughts and emotions and there is light at the top of that deep dark well you may have fallen into…Each and every one of us has a story to tell. Not everyone has someone who will listen…
None of the following Shares were in my kitchen. The names have been changed. The stories are true. These people and their hurts could be anyone of us…
I met Bradley through his wife, Madge an alternative therapist I was friendly with at that time. She had a successful business and a wide circle of admiring acquaintances. He worked in a community based job and I got the idea that somehow his job did not match her expectations. Anyway, Madge let it be widely known that things were not good at home, he was depressive, he was introverted, he was not supportive of her…
One day I called to visit, they were mid refurbishing the house. I spent some time admiring his work and complimenting him. Then I asked him “Bradley, how are you feeling?” And he told me. Right there in their downstairs bathroom, with the wife beside me. It all came pouring out as to WHY he felt depressed. WHAT had happened to cause it and exactly how he FELT… He talked and talked and he cried and I stood and listened and she stood there horrified. When he was done and said all he needed to then I hugged them both, offered some kind words and left. Afterwards Madge phoned me to apologise for him and to rant that she had no idea he felt that way and why had he spoken to me???
‘Did you ever ask him how he felt?’ I asked.
My question was met by pointed silence…There was no happy end to that story, but it is not mine to tell.
Spencer had always been a loner who loved nature. He was hugely shy and sensitive and didn’t find it easy to connect with girls. He did odd jobs for me and I’d make tea and sandwiches and listen to the bits and bobs that were happening in his life, and he’d talk to me like a favourite Auntie.One day I was in town and bumped into Spencer.
‘How are you?’ I asked.
He was looking distressed. He had a big bump on his forehead. We were near a coffee house so I bought him a Cappuccino and we sat and chatted. The upshot was he had been rejected by yet another young lady. This one had been quite unkind, had led the lad on for attention and then brutally cut him dead.
‘What happened to your head, Spencer?’ I made enquiries.
What he told me was quite shocking …
‘…I went to casualty and told them I’d taken a tumble off a ladder. I hadn’t. I hit myself repeatedly with a mallet until I made my head bleed.I hurt myself until the pain stopped.’
I sat listening and tried to give him a ‘safe space’ of quiet understanding so he could unburden himself. He continued…
‘Am I crazy?’
‘I get you were in a lot of emotional pain, Spencer.’
‘I’ve never told anyone this…but I hurt myself so I don’t hurt someone else.’
When Spencer was done sharing we had a long chat and I acknowledged his feelings and how brave he’d been sharing and it was OK. I asked if he would consider some counselling. He said he would. I hope he did…
Kyle was a married, middle aged man, kids almost grown up. He was a friend of my husband, who told me he was worried Kyle was depressed. I spoke with him quite a bit and gave him some meditation CD’s which he found really useful. We socialised with him, his wife and teenagers a few times and it was clear Tabby the wife was VERY angry with him over something he had no control over relating to his job. Our paths did not cross for a few months. We were invited to one of his family gatherings that Christmas. The house was huge and full of people. They had been eating and drinking all day. I recall sitting on a rug in a plush living room, his wife and his sister were sat next to him on a couch. The room was full of general chit chat and various conversations were flowing. Kyle got up and came and sat on the floor opposite me. And he talked.
He said I had helped him before.
He said how much he had gained from various meditation techniques.
He said he was feeling suicidal….
The silence in the room was deafening. The wife and sister sat in stunned disbelief and the wave of animosity coming my way was palpable. I tuned them out and listened for as long as he needed to speak. When we left, the oddest thing, I felt as if part of him left his body and wanted to come home with us. I never found out what happened, she cut her husband’s friendship with us dead.
Kyle and his wife divorced, maybe she should have listened?
There are many Bradley, Spencer and Kyle’s out there suffering in silence. They don’t need to. It is never too late for #Timetotalk.
Thank you to those who trusted me to talk.
Thank YOU for reading.