Quite recently a colleague of mine called my attention to a piece of article I had written months ago. Probably fascinated by a screenshot of the piece I used as a profile picture, she requested for the manuscript where I had originally scribbled down my thoughts, and I, who was only grateful that I had another opportunity to share my thoughts with one more person in this world, sent it to her without hesitation. After a few days, on my way out of the office on one boring evening, she stopped me and made a compliment, “Hey, I love every piece of your article. They are so nice and true, but I have an issue with it”. To be honest, I was bored and hungry that night. My mind had been struggling to be somewhere else apart from my body, and even the movie I tried seeing that evening did little to ground my turbulent mind. I hadn’t written in weeks, so it was safe to say I was having ‘a bad period’, but I managed to listen to her opinion with some measure of relative calmness.
Having loved the article, ‘The Right Kind Of Wrong’, all she wanted to know next was the right kind of words to say at that point in a friend’s life where everything goes to shreds and sanity seems to be the next logically thing to be thrown out through the window. Well, I did mention one or two things you could probably do in such situations, but for her, like some others, who still need a bit of clarity on the issue, I had to revisit that post to see if I could add something new and valuable. Well, let’s find out; and oh, just in case you haven’t read that post, well you can search for it or you can just click HERE because all what you may read here may be gibberish.
The Right Kind Of Wrong is just a little piece of my own opinion of what not to say when a friend is in a state of utter depression. Not to sound so cocky, but the truth is that we are so quick to apologize for situations and circumstances we have no business apologizing for. Most times we go on to say, “All will be fine”, or “It will be alright”, like we have the power to see the future or create it. We do this as a way of showing how sympathetic we are with the affected friend or loved one and most a time it is the first and only thing we can do when we are short of words and confused about the whole situation. I mean I am not blaming anyone because I also do find myself in such state most of the time and it often do require a lot of sheer will to do the opposite. To be sincere, her question made me think and question myself again, ‘What is the right thing to say or do’?
And honestly, I have no answer.
I guess it is easier said than done, right? Because when we come to that point where the mantle falls on us to provide succor to a grieving heart, and all eyes and ears wait on us to provide words of inspiration that should give comfort to a torn and drowning spirit, we often find ourselves lacking the right words to say. Well, that is because words, at some point, do not matter anymore.
You don’t have to agree with my truth, but the thing is, we talk too much.
I really don’t know who gave us the idea that words can cure all emotional traumas, because it seems like the whole world struggles to find the right words to say for every season. Most times, these aggrieved people don’t need words to help them recover, they don’t need positive assurance that tomorrow will be better because all they can think about is the present situation they find themselves, and they definitely don’t need you to say, “I understand what you are going through” because it is not about you but about them.
So what do they need?
Well, I can say, most times, all they need is the company of your presence. Sitting with them in silence could speak a million words even our mouth can’t utter, and most times, what they need is for someone to sit and listen to them cry, rant, and vent out the anger and frustration that had been building inside. I know, it is not a nice job, and the worst part, you not even going to be paid for it, but then this is the true test of your love and friendship for that person. You could be those arms they can comfortably run into and cry freely, the fingers that caresses their hair gently, giving them the opportunity to cry so deeply till tears can form no more, and not the one that looks for every chance to restrain them from pouring out their hearts in ‘meaningless noise’.
And then, you can be the hand that gently guides them through the dark forest, the light that glows on their path through the dead of the night, and not the one that hurries them back to their feet. If you have ever been depressed before, then you will understand that it takes a while for people to come to terms with their new reality, and even when they do, the healing process takes a while. So, rather than telling them to move on with their lives because the world will still continue to rotate, you can sacrifice a little of yourself in bringing them back to emotional stability. Once again, I know it is no easy job, but then, love do conquer all.
Really, I must be honest, I still don’t know the right thing to say or do in situations like that, but one thing I do know is, nobody loves to be lied to, so don’t tell me it is alright when it is clearly not alright, but hey, i will ove to hear your own opinion in the comment section below.