Life is an interesting journey of winding roads, hills and valleys, night and day. The obstacles are many with some more difficult than others. What guarantees success in overcoming is the support systems around you.
Sadly, in today’s society, those systems seem to be disappearing fast leaving vulnerable hurting individuals “bleeding on people who didn’t cut them.”
It is during those seasons when we forget that the people who are seemingly strong, always ready to help others in their moments of distress are the ones who need help the most. They smile bravely and soldier on as they weather life’s storms, never complaining, never burdening loved ones. They suffer in silence and as a result nobody feels sorry for them.
Such people often find that they receive very few infrequent visitors or none at all. There is no one there to advise them, counsel them, comfort them, encourage them or help them recover from their struggles. Unlike someone who is ill and in hospital there is no one there to oversee their care, prepare meals for them or bring any food for them.
They are on their own.
They are left to take care of themselves because, well, people have their own problems to deal with… right?
If allowed to go on for too long such situations can have a domino effect leading to those people experiencing struggles in all or most areas of their lives. Emotional trauma can lead to mental unwellness. It can even end up manifesting as a physical ailment which can in turn affect them financially.
1. Pay Attention
Next time someone who is “seemingly okay” casually mentions that they need help with something or that they are struggling with a particular issue don’t ignore them. Pay attention to what they are saying. Pay attention to what they are not saying. Watch their body language. Pay attention to their environment and any signs of neglect. Ask if they need help with their grocery shopping, if there is anything you can fix, any laundry or ironing that needs to be done. Offer to take them to the hairdresser or cut their grass for example.
If you are in different locations you can still offer other forms of help.
2. Never Make Assumptions
Don’t assume that all is well because of your perceptions. People who are hurting or suffering in silence do so because they may feel like they are a burden to others. Some of the ways to deal with this is to maintain frequent, meaningful communication. Listen to what they say more than you talk. Guide the conversation back to them if they seem like they want to hear about what is happening in your life. Allow them to talk for as long as they need to, until they have nothing else to say. It’s during such meaningful exchanges that the extent of their pain or challenge is revealed.
3. Take Appropriate Action
Pay attention and take appropriate action BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.
There are occasions when it is inappropriate to impose yourself on someone who clearly states that they do not need your help. That is not an excuse to then do nothing. In such cases make an effort to do something nice for them on special occasions such as birthdays or festive seasons. If it is help they need you can share resources about where they can access help and support. Even a little help can go a long way.