There are so many people drowning out there, some know it and take steps to improve their situation. Others know it but convince themselves they are ok and don’t need help. Then there are those that have no idea they are even in the water. These are the ones that need a life raft the most.
Think about it. We all know people that fit into this last category……they are struggling with family and close relationships. They are constantly flitting from one thought to another without truly completing anything. They are the ones that are surrounded by clutter or have OCD on steroids. They eat too much, they eat too little. They appear to have it altogether but underneath the surface they are kicking like mad just to keep their head up. They sleep too much or not enough. They abuse money and let it go out without the thought of any consequences. They come across as have a big ego full of bravado or are as unnoticeable as a fleck of dust. They mean well but end up doing what they perceive is only in their best interests. They think they are always wrong or the think their way is the only way. They want to hide in a corner or they wish to be praised. For the most part the never want or perceive they need help in anything.
As I said we all know someone that fits into this pattern……not everyone above is drowning. Some people are just made that way, it’s their natural personality. When this is the case, they usually have family, close friends, they are successful in their field. Driven and focused. When they do need help, they have the ability to ask for and receive it gratefully.
So when do you know they are drowning?
You’ll notice people shutting them out and gravitating away from them. They may be struggling to function at work, they lose trust of people around them, they live in clutter, they tend to look disheveled, unkempt……. These people are more often than not drowning and going down fast. Quite often they don’t realise it until they hit the bottom and the weight of that deep, dark ocean descends on them.
What can we do about it?
It’s very difficult to help someone who doesn’t think there is something wrong, but here’s the thing…….they know there is something wrong, they either won’t admit or don’t know what it is. So many think it’s a weakness to say ‘hey, I’m struggling here and need your help’. I’m here to tell you and as mentioned to a friend of mine today……it’s not weakness, it takes incredible strength to recognise that there is an issue and to reach out to someone for help. Sometimes things will be going along and something happens to cause a break and from there it’s a fast spiral down.
How do I know? This was me. This is my oldest son. We live and breathe it. This is why it’s quite easy to recognise it in others. My first instinct is to reach out and hold on tight……..unless someone sees it in themselves then they will only see me as a very scary woman. An intruder and annoying.
So how do we help?
Gently, quietly. Observe but don’t bombard. Be on standby with the life raft and be prepared to let them rise from the bottom slow and steady. It will take sustained effort from them and from you. There will be step backs along the way, expect them…..start again.
This being said, if it wasn’t for the people that hung on tight to me I would not be where I am now. For that I’m forever grateful. I still have step back moments, certainly not as many as in the past. I am stronger than ever and able to willingly ask for help. But it has taken a lot of time and effort to get here.
Keep your eyes, ears and mind open. Look at those people that instantly came to mind on reading this, listen to the things you know they don’t say, put in a bit of time. Reconnect if you think it will help.
Be gentle with everyone, you never know how harsh they are being on themselves.