For so much of my life, I’ve felt like I couldn’t reach out to people unless I had something specific to talk to them about. If I called a friend or family member and just asked them how they were, I would get a response along the lines of, “Why are you calling me?” or “Did you have a reason for messaging?”
I thought it was normal to only contact someone with a very direct reason.
This, unfortunately, has made it harder for me living with mental illness. Because often when something is going wrong, I know there’s something off, but I don’t know what. I couldn’t call and say, “XYZ is wrong in my life” because I didn’t have a name for the problem.
So I would say nothing. By the time I knew what was wrong or that I definitely needed to reach out, it was far beyond something being a little off and straight into, I am in trouble.
As I see conversations revolving around mental illness I am delighted to see people discussing warning signs, triggers, and just plain bad days, without the context of there being a direct need attached to it.
Calling for support or comfort or just to hear another human voice is all the reason needed to reach out.
With so many ways to communicate in our ever-connected world, it seems silly some still think if there isn’t a question or a piece of information attached to a correspondence, it was meaningless. A person’s support system takes on vital role for anyone, but especially those that live with mental illness. Instead of waiting for someone to ask us a question when they contact us, we need to listen.