In this current age of enlightenment, instant gratification and social media, it appears that nothing is a taboo subject. It used to be that you never discussed religion or politics however if we wish to rant about politicians, political footballs or the private lives of world leaders nothing stands in our way today. Religion is preached not only in churches or other holy halls, but from many other media platforms as well.
So if we are so open about previously taboo subjects, why are there still elephants in the room?
What elephants? I hear you say…
Let’s see, this elephant over here goes by the name of ‘mental illness’ and that one over there by the potted palm is called ‘miscarriage and still-birth’.
What do you mean we can’t talk about them? We’ve talked about everything else (including some private things that are better left off social media) so why not these subjects?
What’s that? It makes you uncomfortable?
Aren’t these elephants a part of life? If not yours, then someone you may know, or even love? Don’t you think that those who are suffering need acceptance rather than avoidance?
What’s that? You don’t know what to say?
Who said you had to say anything? Can you listen? Are you able to offer a hug or hold a hand? Can you just be there?
Why not be honest and tell the suffering person that you don’t have the words to say? Or know the answer to the question ‘why’? Let them know that you are willing to be there in any way they may require.
Please don’t sweep the subjects of mental illness or miscarriage under the edge of your living room rug. These things are real. They affect real people and happen more often than you may wish to contemplate. These people need time to grieve. They need to grieve for dreams and hopes that may never be realised, for a life that is irrevocably changed or for a future filled with uncertainty.
People who are suffering need others to care. They don’t need glib responses or oft trotted out phrases such as ‘it will be alright’. they don’t need to be told that it’s all in their head and to ‘snap out of it’.
People who are suffering need to know that they can rely on those around them to be there to pick them up when they stumble and fall. They need to know someone loves them enough to brush them off and set them back on the right track. They need to be loved.
They need hope.
They need acceptance.
Above all, they need to talk about it.