I’ve recently come across a blogger who made some twenty posts about how her life was falling apart because her friend betrayed her, how nobody cared about her, and how she just wanted to die. Considering this was on tumblr, which is pretty much a mecca of depression and anxiety-ridden people (and, coincidentally or not, radical liberals) going through young adult angst, her story was not all that surprising.
I was obliged to respond to her with love and understanding. I told her that it’s not worth placing the weight of your very existence on another human being, because, well, none of us are perfect, so you’re always going to be disappointed in some way, depending on how saturated your rose-coloured glasses are when you look at a person. Despite all that, I told her that she was loved and wanted and that I was willing to comfort her. With each post she made, she sounded increasingly distressed, which made me extremely concerned about her mental and emotional health. I replied to most of her posts to get through to her somehow, in hopes that she would snap out of it and start to think more objectively about the situation.
And, despite all my best efforts to be positive and supporting, she sent me a single sharp response:
“no. f*** off. stop pretending like you care about me and leave me alone.”
Well, sweetheart, I’m going to stop caring about you when you stop making it seem like you want someone to care about you, was what I so desperately wanted to say, tempted by my old sassy nature, but alas, God firmly obliged me to immediately swallow my snarkiness.
This situation is what brings me to the general message of my post. Sometimes people are unreachable, even after you’ve tried your hardest to crack open their shell. Sometimes you really do have to let people hit rock bottom before they come to their senses; sometimes even at rock bottom they continue on their path to self-destruction. You see it a lot in drug addicts, and mental health patients as well. It’s hard for people on the outside looking in to accept, but if your loved one continues on in the dark corners of life, even though you might have spent months, even years, trying to get them to change course, then it’s not your fault. After such a long time, you’ve probably already done all the right things, and the rest is up to the other person’s own willpower.
There are happy endings, of course. My brother was in a very dark place the first two years since he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He would spend hours sleeping during the day, holing himself up in his room. My parents and I tried all the motivational quotes in the books to get him going again, but nothing worked. One day, however, he found the power within himself to turn his life around, all on his own. He started doing chores around the house, helping our dad with banking and taxes, he began organizing our family’s files, and he even got back into his old passion again: animation.
Some people bounce back easily with a little encouragement. Others learn the hard way, through pain and suffering. But ultimately what causes people to come around is their choice; their willpower. The job of their loved ones is merely to be there for them and give them advice to help them make the right choice.
As for my blogging friend who’s currently down in the dumps, I’ll be keeping an eye out for her. Right now all I can really do is pray that she sees the light, and continue to offer her support, even when she lashes back at me.