According to Sam and Jim Commenting on things that irk us off, make us laugh out loud or just seem too weird too believe According to Sam and Jim: Depressed people need good listeners more than a talking to

Friday, July 1, 2011

Depressed people need good listeners more than a talking to

During our walk in the park last Sunday afternoon, Sam and I noticed an older gentleman seated on a bench by himself, watching the picnickers and volleyball players having fun. The man didn’t look like he was having fun. Sam and I couldn’t tell if he looked depressed or not; it was hard to discern exactly what state of mind he was in without asking, but to our discredit we didn’t ask. I am ashamed of that.

I thought about letting Sam nose up to the man because Sam is so danged cute and friendly he can make friends with almost anyone. The memory of that man sitting all alone like he was still haunts me.

Depression is no laughing matter, even though a psychologist friend and I used to joke around about him giving me depression screening to find out why I was so glum – usually because of money or my love life. Statistics show that 16 million people in America suffer from depression. Severe depression too often leads to suicide, the 10th leading causes of death in the United States. Nearly 35,000 people commit suicide every year.

I’ll never forget the day my mom came home from one of her housecleaning jobs and told me that the teen-aged son of the homeowners – a kid I knew from school - had drunk a can of a plumbing cleaner then shot himself with a shotgun.

I personally have seen a man who shot himself and a man who hanged himself. Those are not pretty or comforting sights.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I need to be less reluctant to approach people who are sitting alone looking glum. Even though a person sitting alone might believe he wants to be alone and might tell me pretty adamantly that he wants to be alone, I know better than to totally believe him unless he’s obviously working on his personal computer or has his Ipod screwed into his ear. And Sam is such a great ice-breaker.

I think most people who are glum or depressed just need somebody to listen to them. They don’t want you to bore them with your yakety yak. They don’t want you to solve their problems. They generally aren’t seeking advice, although one guy I got into a conversation with in line to buy our car license tabs told me about his marital troubles then asked me what I would do. I bought my car tabs and got the heck out of there is what I did. People just need to vent sometimes.

I have found out the most wonderful things about people just sitting down and listening to them. I’ll never forget the time I thought an old guy was a building janitor and found out he was a retired university math professor.

I’m pretty sure the people I’ve listened to really appreciated it when I just shut my pie hole and let them talk. We don’t very often take the opportunity to actively listen to someone who just needs to talk.

Poop on that.

No comments:

Post a Comment