I don’t need to hear you talk…I need for you to listen

October 4, 2018

I recently wrote a post about getting things out of the shadows. One of those things was depression. As happens every time that I mention depression, I got several likes/comments/follows from people who are dealing with, or have dealt with, depression.

I sometimes go look at the blog sites of people who follow my blog and in this case I perused a post on one of the blog sites that had some interesting advice for those trying to be a help to someone suffering from depression. That post was titled “Why I tried to Commit Suicide”

The gist of the advice from that post was that the person suffering through depression who may reach out for help is not looking for a cheerleader to tell them that everythinggirl with smile picture will be OK. Instead, they are looking for someone to listen to them, share their pain and perhaps offer support.

This blogger also pointed out a common mistake that would-be helpful friend often make – trying to help by reminding them that things could be worse.

In today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, the quote that Jack used seemed appropriate –

“Knowing that there is worse pain doesn’t make the present pain hurt any less.”  (Gordon Atkinson)

I would characterize the advice of the blogger who shared her journey through the dark tunnels of depression to those who may be trying to help someone suffering through that trauma as follows:

I don’t want your pity; I want your support.

I don’t want to hear how great things are from your point of view; I want you to help me find a way out from my point of view.

I don’t need to hear you talk; I need for you to listen.

That last point may be the most important. When we try to “help” people we all tend to rush to some quick conclusion of what we think we need to do and we start talking.  Basically, we stop listening and start giving advice, even if we don’t yet understand the problem.  We usually miss the signs from that person that we just made a mistake.depression2 Unfortunately, the person who was seeking our help sinks back behind the shield that they had temporarily lowered to ask for our help. They may smile back and nod their head in apparent agreement, but we blew the opportunity to really help.

There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak. (Simon Sinek)

Unfortunately, most of us are so full of ourselves that we are just waiting for the next opportunity to speak, in order to show how brilliant we are. We don’t understand how stupid phrases like “I know how you feel” or “I feel your pain” sound to the person that we think we are trying to help. A more honest statement might be, “I can’t imagine the pain that you are feeling, but I want to try to help.”

caringYou can’t really help until you understand the issues that are causing the pain for that person and you will never understand them until you listen to them. If you have to speak, just ask more questions to keep the conversation focused upon getting to the root of the problems that the person is having such trouble dealing with. Only then can we begin to really try to help.

There are many ways to approach problem solving, once we understand the problems. I have posted her a few time on approaches that might help in this situation as well as helping us solve our own problems. See –

https://normsmilfordblog.com/2014/03/05/problem-solving-101/

and

https://normsmilfordblog.com/2015/02/05/making-the-turns-in-life/

Those are two of those posts on problem solving.

However, the point of today’s missive is not to give advice about the solution that you may offer to someone who seeks you help; but, rather, to help you find the best way to help them by listening to them. You may not need to do anything other than that for them.

I think L. J. Isham  put it well – “Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire listento be with another which both attracts and heals.”

If you want to help – LISTEN!

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Getting other things out of the darkness…

October 3, 2018

Yesterday I wrote about not allowing hatred, fear and prejudices to lurk in the dark shadows of your mind and influence your daily life. There are other things that lurk infacing the wall 2 the dark places in the minds of many; things which can be debilitating and cause them pain. Fear’s cohorts – anxiety and depression – can live there, too. Self-doubt at the dusky edges of the darkness can lead to self-loathing in the depths of the pit. The sense of powerlessness and hopelessness that may accompany these things can lead to thoughts that suicide as “the only way out”.

Jason KandorWe saw on the news last night the story of a man, Jason Kandor, in Kansas City who withdrew from the race to be mayor there because he suffers from PTSD and depression from his time in the military serving in a war zone. The memories of that time had been living in the dark places in his mind for over 11 years and had pulled him into bouts of depression. For years he suppressed it, because that just what we do.

Some of the women who have come forward in the #MeToo! Movement have described the experience of suppressing the events of their sexual abuse in terms that sound a lot like PTSD – reactions of fear, anxiety, depression and more resulted not just from the actual event, but from the holding in of it, rather than reporting it.

Compounding the problem form many, especially the men, is a macho, sports-oriented culture in which phrases like “shake it off”, “man up”, or “play through the pain” are used as solutions to both physical and mental injuries. It wasn’t until recently that football player1athletes began to realize the permanent, life-changing damage that concussions can cause. Before that, it was “shake it off and get back in the game.” We still don’t appreciate as a society the debilitating impact that depression can have on people. We are still saying to them, “suck it up and get back in the game.” We try to force them to push their depression back into the shadows of their minds. For most that really doesn’t work.

It would be easy to throw in some reference to Jesus and God here; and some readers would probable say “Oh good, he finally got the religious angle in”; but that is not appropriate here. This is not about religion and whether or not the person suffering help-methrough depression believes in God or not. They may have doubts about that because of their depression, but just telling them to pray about it is not the answer. If you want to tell them to pray; tell them to pray for the courage to get these things out into the light and to seek the help they need to deal with them. Tell them to make the same decision that Jason Kandor did and admit to themselves and others that they need that help and will seek it. This is not something that they can shake off or that they need to suck it up about, nor is it something, for which they can play through the pain.

So, what is our role when someone we know finally gets these dark things out into the open and seeks help? Many might turn their backs to them, trying to avoid being associated with someone who has “problems”. This is a time for unconditional support and friendship, helping-2not for criticism. This is not the time for a “Get back in the game” pep talk, nor for a “Oh, you poor thing” pity party. Those who are truly Christians will open their arms and ask, “How can I help you?” They need more than a pillow to cry on; they need a pillar to lean on. Be there for them. Be there to listen. Be there to understand. Be there to comfort. Be there to encourage. Be there to accompany them on their journey out of the darkness. You will never do anything more important in your life.

Have a great day in the light of the Son. If there are those around you who are dwelling in the darkness of PTSD or depression, be there for them. If you are wearing one of those little WWJD bracelets you will know what the answer is to that question when you extend your hand to help. Be there.


What does depression feel like?

November 24, 2016

Recently I wrote a post here that focused upon what autism feels like to someone on the autism spectrum – see my post https://normsmilfordblog.com/2016/11/23/trying-to-understand-others-without-a-frame-of-reference/. As the author of the story that I linked to stated, it was just her personal description of how autism affected her and her life.

A line that I found to be very apropos about almost any health issue like autism was referenced elsewhere on the same autism site –  anonymouslyautistic.net – “if you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person”. In other words, you can’t and shouldn’t  generalize and characterize or stigmatize an entire group of people based upon one experience or one meeting with a person who is somewhere on the autism spectrum.insight Every person who lives somewhere along that spectrum is different and must be accepted with those differences.

The reason I found that site and the story that I referenced so interesting and useful is that it forces the reader to try to understand that they can’t really understand. It exposed a different way of looking at things and life that I called a “frame of reference”.  One ends up admitting that they can’t even imagine what that different frame of reference must feel like and that at least provides the basis for doing something more useful, like accepting
and accommodating the actions and needs for someone who is viewing life through that different frame of reference.

I don’t intend to solely focus here upon the topic of mental or health issues in general; however, the research that I did for that first post did take me off to a journey of discovery about the information available and the number of web sites devoted to providing support for a wide variety of health issues. The site that the article about how autism feels  was posted on – The Mighty – is particularly helpful in providing information about an enormous range of health issues, both physical and mental.

depression4I did decide that, from time to time, I would pursue the approach of looking at posted articles that deal with or focus upon how a particular condition or illness makes one feel. The reason is that I believe that gaining an understanding what is causing a person to act or react the way they are is an important first step towards accepting them as they are and helping them, if they wish to be helped. It is just as important in learning when and how to back off and let the person have the space and time to deal with what is going on in their life. A recurring theme that one sees in the writings of people struggling with some of these issues is how annoying the bumbling efforts to help from well-meaning, but ill informed, “friends” can be. I am not a fan of the “intervention” approach to this topic.

Anyway, as I looked through the huge list of topics on The Mighty, one that I could relate to was Depression. I have known many people who suffered some form of depression anddepression2 believe that I went through an episode (or bout) of depression in my own life a decade or so ago. For me it was just an episode and not a recurring or continuous thing. Many who suffer from depression cannot say that and must seek help in order to live a “normal” life. So, I set out to find an article on-line about what depression feels like, and found the site – http://www.wingofmadness.com.

While, I’m not sure about the site name, it does contain the same sort of what does it feel like and how can I deal with it advice as the autonomously autistic site and it is set up in the same way, as a site for those dealing with the issues to share with others. On that site was the post – What does depression feel like?

depression3So, what does reading through this article this do for you? It gives you yet another “frame of reference” with which to better equip you to accept the person in your life who may be suffering through depression, whether episodic or on-going. It may help you recognize the symptoms that are manifested when one is depressed and perhaps better understand why they do certain things. Perhaps it will help you to not make the mistake of writing off that person or ignoring their actions in hopes that they will just “snap out of it”. If you have a friend or loved one in your family who may be suffering with depression, you may find this article at the same site to be helpful –

http://www.wingofmadness.com/how-to-help-someone-who-is-depressed/

To some, posting this during the holiday season may seem to be inappropriate. However, for almost all of the physical or mental conditions that are referenced on the sites that I pointed you to; holidays tend to be the most stressful and difficult to deal with for people suffering through the misunderstanding of others about their view of, and reaction to, these “special” occasions.girls hugging Rather than getting down on someone for being a “wet blanket” during the holidays, take the time to think about how they feel and find a way to help them feel more accepted and comfortable within a setting that is perhaps frightening and overwhelming to them. Sitting quietly with them in front of a fire and giving them a hug, may be the best present that you can give this Holiday season.

Let them know what love feels like.

 


Be the spark for someone today…

October 26, 2015

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitz

I’ve posted here a few times about being positive and helping others. I’ve talked about being the rainbow in somebody’s life. Recently I had series of posts that wandered off a bit into the dark side of life and battling back from that. I received lots of feedback from people who have been though depressions and from some for whom it is still an issue.

I was going to write a post about dealing with depression; but, I realized that I have no business trying to do that. I have no experience or personal frame of reference for the girl cryingfeelings of someone who is undergoing depression.  I’ve had my share of disappointments, times of great sadness, or loss and feelings of failure at something or thoughts of inadequateness; however, I’ve never gone further than to approach the abyss that depression can apparently become.

As I was reading on the topic of depression, I ran across many great quotes from people who have had personal experiences with depressions and made it back out (or who are in a recovery mode). Many if those quotes made reference to the darkness. There were also many well-meaning advice quotes, which  seem to have a recurring theme of looking for the light in the midst of the darkness. Many of the quotes written by the people who had experienced it or were still in a state of depression seemed to be saying, “Let me alone, I prefer the dark”. That just didn’t seem to me to be very helpful – to just back off and ignore the pain of depression, if one sees it in a friend. One quote that I found seemed to sum up the role of a true friend for someone who is depressed.

If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’tdark alley a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”  ― Stephen Fry

While I may never be able to understand the crippling impact that depressions can have on someone, I can at least try to be there for them when they come out the other side; hopefully to help rekindle hope in their lives. So, maybe our role is just to be there. To say, “Welcome back”; to prove that somebody does care and love them, even when they don’t love themselves.

Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, posted this piece of advice for well-meaning people who don’t understand or see depression as a medical condition that may require long-term medications to control.

“Since I am writing a book about depression, I am often asked in social situations to describe my own experiences, and I usually end by saying that I am on medication.

“Still?” people ask. “But you seem fine!” To which I invariably reply that I seem fine because I am fine, and that I am fine in part because of medication.

“So how long do you expect to go on taking this stuff?” people ask. When I say that I will be on medication indefinitely, people who have dealt calmly and sympathetically with the news of suicide attempts, catatonia, missed years of work, significant loss of body weight, and so on stare at me with alarm.

“But it’s really bad to be on medicine that way,” they say. “Surely now you are strong enough to be able to phase out some of these drugs!” If you say to them that this is like phasing the carburetor out of your car or the buttresses out of Notre Dame, they laugh.

“So maybe you’ll stay on a really low maintenance dose?” They ask. You explain that the level of medication you take was chosen because it normalizes the systems that can go haywire, and that a low dose of medication would be like removing half of your carburetor. You add that you have experienced almost no side effects from the medication you are taking, and that there is no evidence of negative effects of long-term medication. You say that you really don’t want to get sick again. But wellness is still, in this area, associated not with achieving control of your problem, but with discontinuation of medication.

“Well, I sure hope you get off it sometime soon,” they say. ”

woman in a bubbleI’m sure that the same dialogue would not occur if the discussion was about the insulin that a diabetic needs to live a normal life or the oxygen that someone with COPD might be hauling around with them. As a society, we need to think of the medications that help prevent or lessen depression with the same level of acceptance. It’s time we moved our thoughts about depressions and mental illness out of the dark places in our minds and become the enlightened friends that can really be helpful to those in need.

Faith is one of the things that can get temporarily lost for many who undergo such deep journeys into the darkness of depression. Yet for others it is their faith that helps them find the light and see the way out of the darkness.  Ann Marie Aguilar said it this way – “If darkness surrounds you, look for the light. If you can’t see it, raise your head up. You may be surrounded by darkness but it does not cover you on top. Let the light shine down on you andhand reaching for heaven let it lead the way out of darkness.”

One thing that turning to one’s faith can do is to provide a way out of the dark, one-way alley called “I’m not worthy.” Faith does not require you to be worthy; it only requires you to be willing to embrace God and receive the forgiveness and grace that was ransomed by His Son Jesus on the cross. Faith allows you to let go of the things that have been troubling you by allowing you to give up the fight to control things that you cannot control by saying “Not my will; but, thy will be done.” Faith allows you to love yourself and therefore to allow others to love you, too. Faith may also free you from guilt, so that you can seek the help that is available through modern drugs and psychotherapy.

caringHave a great week ahead. If you know of someone who suffers from bouts of depression, don’t turn away; be there for them. Be the friend that rekindles their spark of hope and pray for them to find their way back to their faith and out of their personal dungeon of depression.


Battling the enemies within…

October 21, 2015

Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer –  Sun Tzu

The attribution for that that little phrase is in some dispute. It is attributed by some to Sun Tzu in his book The Art of War and by some due to a bad translation of the letters of Machiavelli. Some even attribute it to the movie The Godfather. Wherever it’s from, I’d like to focus on a slightly different look at the enemy – the enemy within.

 “It’s hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head.”  (Sally Kempton)

In this little saying it is impossible not to keep the enemy close because the enemy is already in our heads, or at least has outposts there. What does that mean? Let’s assume for the moment that the enemies that you are trying to fight are prejudices or bigotry or any other pre-conceived notions about things that might lead you in a direction that you really don’t want to go.

How did the enemy, which rears its ugly head from time to time in your thoughts, get an outpost in your head?predjuices For most of us the answer lies in our childhood, in our homes and how we were raised. For those of us who are old enough to have lived through the racial ugliness of the mid-twentieth Century (or even earlier), you know that those outposts are there. They were planted by usage in the language of the time of derogatory terms that are politically incorrect today. But it wasn’t just the language. Also planted in those outposts were stereotypes, prejudices, and, in some cases, hatred. Knowing that they are there keeps one on high alert to not let those enemies escape the outpost and get out into your speech and your actions. These days there are new negative outposts being planted in our minds about such things as homophobia, stereotypes about recent immigrants or refugees, prejudices about religious preferences and more.

Other outposts which harbor our enemies within have other labels – fear, uncertainty, doubts, and anxiety. Many afraidof these outposts have names ending in phobia. Some phobia’s have such strong footholds in our minds that they can become debilitating. There are thousands of phobias that people might experience. According to the Web site www.fearof.net, the top 10 phobias for 2015 are these:

  1. Arachnophobia – The fear of spiders
  2. Ophidiophobia – The fear of snakes
  3. Acrophobia – The fear of heights
  4. Agoraphobia – The fear of open or crowded spaces
  5. Cynophobia – The fear of dogs
  6. Astraphobia – The fear of thunder and lightning
  7. Claustrophobia – The fear of small spaces
  8. Mysophobia – The fear of germs
  9. Aerophobia – The fear of flying
  10. Trypophobia – The fear of holes

There’s probably something on that list that you can relate to in your own life. I know that a couple make me squirm.

As debilitating as phobias can be the outposts in our minds that can lead us into depression are worse because they actually turn us against ourselves. We may have funny comedy skits about a phrase like “I’m not worthy”; but, that phrase, and the enemy outpost in the minds of many,  lead them to dark places. Feelings of being exclusionunloved, unwanted, unworthy can be as debilitating as any phobia. The writings of too many recent serial killers point to the enemies within those outposts taking over and leading the person to take actions that we cannot even fathom. From the outside we ask, “How could they do that?” From the inside the answer too often is, “I had to.” The enemy within took over from the outposts in their heads and made them outcasts in their own minds.

What can we do to help ourselves and others fight off or keep under control these enemies within? Logic and rational thought can only take us so far. I suggest that we keep our friends just as close by giving them outposts in our heads, too. Just as you can have negative or ugly outposts in your head as the result of exposure to teachings and events, you can plant the good things to balance your life out by embracing faith and givinghand reaching for heaven outposts to the teachings of the Bible. You can start small and simply by giving an outpost to the Ten Commandments. You can build an outpost for The Lord’s Prayer and raise the flag over another outpost for The Apostles Creed. Add to that outposts for the messages that you receive when you read the Bible or pray and soon you will find that the enemies that have outposts in your head will keep hunkered down in the holes where they live, because they cannot stand up to the light of the Son.

As I’ve mentioned here before in several posts, one of the most important steps that one can take is to let go of the need to feel in control of everything. The frustration and sense of defeat that comes from not being in control of events in your life can become overwhelming. Let it go. Use the simple little prayer that I’ve offered up here several times – “Not my will; but, thy will be done.” You aren’t giving up. You can praying in different religionskeep trying; but realize that any and all outcomes must be accepted. It’s not your fault. I guess that makes the acceptance of God’s will the ultimate No Fault Insurance policy. Blast that over the outposts of evil that may lurk in your mind and those thoughts will keep their heads down where they belong.

Have a great day and keep building good outposts in your head.


Look for the rainbow or be the rainbow…

June 21, 2015

“Everyone wants happiness.  No one wants pain.  But you can’t make a rainbow, without a little rain.”  (Quoted by Dolly Parton) – A quote seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog some time ago.

single momIt’s certainly true that life throws us curveballs from time to time; sometimes much worse than that. Life happens and sometimes it involves pain – the loss of a loved one, the breakup of a relationship or friendship or maybe a major disappointment or disruption at work or the loss of a job or perhaps just overwhelming bills an d problems.  We live through these things somehow, but for some that is it – they just survive and live on in misery, unable to let go or go on with normal life. All that they see is the darkness. They aren’t even looking for the rainbow.

It’s important, when you encounter someone like that, that you try to help them find a rainbow in their life, something positive that they can embrace that will let them move on.  Maybe that rainbow is you and your caring friendship. One of the hallmarks of the depression that can set in with the pain is the feeling of beingcaring alone, of feeling like you are the only one who has ever experienced what you are going through. That isolation is self-imposed and  just adds to the problem.  Just being there for that person, so that they don’t feel alone can make all of the difference.

If you’re the one who has suffered a setback in life, it’s important to be able to see past the current trouble and find a rainbow in your life that makes you happy. For many that may be their spouse or their children. For some the rainbow may be their faith, which can certainly be a source of strength and happiness, if you let it into your life.

I think one important note is that you will likely find what you are looking for. If you are a doom and gloom person who is always looking for the worst to happen then it probably will (many times with your help). If, on the other hand, you have rainbow in betweena positive and upbeat attitude, then things will work out and you’ll find your rainbow. That choice is up to you.

So try to find the rainbows in your everyday life and step up and be the rainbow for someone else. else. You’ll be surprised if you do that because you will see the rare double rainbow.


What you see isn’t all that is me…

April 20, 2015

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.  Be kind—always!”  (Sent by TK) – as seen on the blog Jack’s Winning Words.

There is a Teddy Pendergrass song that has the lyrics: “If you don’t know me by now, you will never, never, never know me.” That song was about trust and understanding of a soul mate in a relationship. It was not about the personal battles that go on inside everyone that TK was taking about in today’s quote, but perhaps it cold have been.

I’ve title today’s post “What you see isn’t all that is me…”, it could have also been “What you see is what I let you see.” girl cryingWhat we share with others about ourselves and our personal battles varies greatly depending upon the relationship that we have with each person. Some in Robin Williams’ family knew about and understood the personal battles that he had fought all his life with depression; while others just saw the face and character that he “put on” in public. Those who expressed shock at his suicide didn’t really know him and didn’t reach out to help him.

In the funny papers some of these battle are depicted as the fight between the little angel on one shoulder (good) and the little devil (evil) on the other. Imagine how noisy our world would be if all of those little internal battles played out in public where you could hear them. Many other descriptive devices have been invented to explain the pushes and pulls that go on in the battles that may be raging in our minds mind: Yin and Yang from Chinese folk lore; Sigmund Freud’s Id, Ego and Superego; perhaps impulsiveness vs. logic; the old standby of love and hate; trust and suspicion. Most of these forces that shape our reaction to the world go unseen by most, even to the closest of companions, until they get severely out of balance and we “lose it” in front of someone.

single momWe are taught from early childhood to suppress external displays of emotion, especially those that might upset others. We are told “big boys or girls don’t cry” or “shake it off” and get on with life. So the battles that rage inside are buried beneath layers of self-control and the public is not invited in to see our angst or pain or sorrow. We keep “a stiff upper lip.” A part of why we may turn away from someone begging on the street or avoid someone who is crying uncontrollably at a funeral is that we don’t want to let our guard down and admit that we have similar feelings of inadequacy or insecurity or loss. We are fighting those battles inside and, so far we are still in control.

Perhaps it is that temporary loss of control that we fear or that embarrasses us. Men usually hate to be seen crying at movies that depict things that one should cry about; but, there are war movies and sports movies that do not leave a dry eye in the room. That’s probably a good thing, because one can get exhausted by the struggle to stay in control and keep thatlady under cloud stiff upper lip. A bit of a quiver in that stiff upper lip every now and then, perhaps even accompanied by a moist eye, is a good release of the tension that can build up. Women have the advantage there because they seem to allow themselves and other women the release of a good cry every now and then.

Beyond this rather simplistic view of things, there rages in many the more serious battle against depression. At the core of many of those battles is a conflict over self-worth. Sometimes those doubts were planted in childhood by parents who called that worth into question at every opportunity. Most of the time when you read the life stories about very successful people you will find that they had good support systems growing up; but sometimes the there are stories about how an individual rose from a chaotic childhood and overcame very high odds to become successful. In those stories, there is a common theme that they never stopped believing in themselves. Along the way they may have encountered others – a teacher or a pastor, a relative or just a caringfriend – who also believed in them and gave them encouragement and support. Those were the people of whom TK spoke in today’s quote – they didn’t understand all of the battles that this person was going through, but they were kind and supportive and maybe loving.  Without knowing it, they may have provided that extra little push to get that child or young man back on track to his/her dream.

If you are the person in need of that kindness and support, don’t allow yourself to become isolated. People are more supportive than you might imagine, but you have painted into cornerto stop hiding from them. You can win the battles that are raging within “with a little help from your friends” to paraphrase the Beatles song from the Sgt. Pepper album. Seek out those with whom you might be able to share the things that are troubling you. Often “talking out” issues or problems with someone else provides you with answers that you just couldn’t see by yourself or it at least releases some of the tension that may have built up.

For the rest of us; we can help someone each day by just being kind, by expressing interest and support and maybe showing a little love. If that person was sliding into a funk, your kind words of encouragement may provide just the lifeline needed to rekindle hope and reinforce their perseverance. Just saying “I’m so proud of you for what you’re doing or what you’ve accomplished”, is just the motivation that some may need to keep going. Asking the question, “is there anything that you girls huggingwant to talk about?” and then listening may be all that was needed to help that person keep it together. Maybe they just need a shoulder to cry upon and that’s OK too; just being there for them and lending your shoulder is enough. If more help is needed than you can render, then help them find it. Don’t try to be an amateur psychologist, just be a friend; often that is enough.

Be kind out there today!