Virtue Signalling definition:
“the action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one’s good character or the moral correctness of one’s position on a particular issue.“
With the very sad news of Caroline Flack taking her own life this week, it has amazed me just how many people suddenly care about those around them.
The litteral flood of Facebook, Twitter etc posts along the lines of, “I’m here if you need to talk” copy and paste posts and the memes gushing love and compassion to their fellow humans.
Well folks, not to burst your bubble of love and compassion, but people like myself who do fight on a daily basis to cope with the demons of Depression and Anxiety don’t actually find it easy to approach someone to talk about any specific problems.
Posting the Facebook status that says you’re available is lovely and all, but when you are in the depths of Depression you really find it hard to just approach someone. Even those closest to you are hard to talk to.
I’m good mate!…
Is my goto phrase when I am asked the question “How are you”, its my stock answer simply because its the easiest answer to give. For someone who is at that lowest point where taking their own life is the only answer they can see, (been there, still there right now), just talking is actually the hardest thing in the world to do.
The words don’t exist to explain!
This is true of myself and many others, when we are asked “How are you?”. Finding the words to explain just how your feeling when your mind is in such a jumbled mess is all but an impossible task to achieve. And so it just becomes far easier to say…
“I’m good mate”.
Its my stock answer for a number of reasons including:
I don’t know how to put into words exactly how I’m feeling.
I don’t think my friends could handle the real reasons behind my depression.
I don’t want to burden people with my problems.
I don’t want the whole world knowing, and I just don’t know who to trust in the Social Media gossip driven world.
And a far few others
So what’s the solution?
In truth there isn’t a solution, there are no magic words anyone can say to help fix the problem. When you feel alone in the world and hated by those around you, the last thing you want to do is to let people inside your inner most fears, as they can be used against you.
Stop waiting for someone to come to you
People who are at their lowest point in life WON’T feel able to appraoch you to talk or ask for help. When you reach that absolute rock bottom you don’t even know how to manage on a day-to-day basis it becomes far, far harder to talk to people.
So the the face gets painted on. And the I’m good mate phrase is ready to go. And for me when I’m at my lowest points in life I use more and more bad jokes to give the illusion to the outside world that everything is ok, when the actual reality is far, far different.
It’s good to talk (or is it)…
Instead of just posting the gushing “I care, I’m here” Facebook posts why not actually try to connect with someone. Don’t just ask how they are because nine times out of ten you’ll get the “I’m good mate” answer.
Go and visit someone, invite them round for coffee, don’t expect to talk about the issues that are bothering them, that takes a lot of trust in someone to go into any real level of detail.
Show you care by having a laugh, making your friend feel comfortable, and just being your normal self and allow them to open up in their own time and accept it may never happen at all.
Just being invited to take part in the normality of everday life is more help to someone in the depths of depression than sitting for hours pouring your heart out and crying and all that old pony.
Don’t give up…
The first time you try to invite them out for a coffee or visit etc, they may not actually turn up, its a hard time in life and it becomes even harder to trust those around you. So if your first invite is refused or the second or even the third, don’t just simply say “I tried” and give up.
The more you try the more your friend is likely to put their trust in you. As you’ll be seen as someone who actualy does care and maybe, just maybe you could really be that person that helps and Saves A Life, and then you’ll trully be a “friend” and not just another Virtue Signalling human.
#Shaun who him? – I’ve worked in the Employability & Skills, Recruitment, Training, Careers Advice & CV Writting/Consultancy sectors for over 20 years. Currently developing my life long passion of Photography with the eventual aim of building a new business venture. McLaren F1 and Ayrton Senna fan who also enjoys cooking who more recently using my enjoyment of writing to talk about my own Mental Health struggles.