Overheard Conversations Regarding Mental Health

 Overheard conversations regarding mental health- what I’ve learned and what I wish I could have said…

 

An afternoon break called for a trip to a local restaurant for lunch. Entering the building, I noticed the long line and headed to find my spot and wait to place an order. People watching is one of my favorite ways to pass the time while waiting.

I noticed most people with their heads down staring at phones. Some folks stood alone and some were in groups of two or three.

Conversations sounded like a low rumble throughout the area. Patience was needed while we all waited to be the next in line to give our order to the attendant behind the counter.

 

Standing quietly, I overheard a disturbing exchange of words by the people in front of me.

 

“Well, you know, she’s always been a strange one. Happy one minute, sad the next. No wonder she’s in the hospital. I think she must have mental problems.”

 

Another person in the group replied, “Yes, you know she’s been depressed. I don’t know what she has to be sad about. Great family, great job, great car. I wish she would just grow up.”

 

The words these strangers were speaking to each other hurt me deeply. They had no idea that the person behind them was someone who has dealt with anxiety and depression for many years.

 

Maybe the comments were not meant to be hurtful, especially since the person they were talking about was not there. Maybe their words were easier to say to each other than to the person they were chatting about. Or maybe they have no idea what true anxiety and depression can do to a person.

 

Mental health issues come in different forms to different people. Each journey is unique. Each person is unique.

 

I have learned to realize not everyone knows how to speak to someone with mental health concerns. I believe this is because not everyone is aware of the amount of people in this world dealing with mental health concerns.

 

I kept my place in line, listened to more of their conversation and was happy when the group ordered their food and left the restaurant.

 

Looking back on the situation, I would have liked to introduce myself and say, “Hello, I’m not eavesdropping but couldn’t help but hear you have a friend who is depressed. I, too, deal with mental health concerns. Would you like to know some ways to help her? I would be happy to share some thoughts with you.” Who knows if they would have listened to me or would have been offended?

 

I will keep an open mind and remember the more we share about mental health concerns, the more people will be helped.

 

Blessings,

Melissa Henderson

 

MHendersonWRF3

Melissa Henderson is a writer of inspirational messages through fiction, non-fiction, devotions, guest blogs, articles and more. Her first children’s book “Licky the Lizard: was released in 2018.

Melissa is an Elder, Deacon and Stephen Minister. Her passions are helping in community and church. She hopes her experiences with anxiety and depression can show others they are not alone.
Melissa and her husband Alan moved from Virginia to South Carolina in 2017 to be near son, daughter-in-love and first grandchild.
The family motto is “It’s Always A Story With The Henderson’s”.

You can follow Melissa on: FacebookTwitter, and her website.

15 thoughts on “Overheard Conversations Regarding Mental Health

  1. Melissa, What a sad experience. My heart is so disturbed by the lack of care and compassion our culture offers those who struggle with mental illness. As someone who has struggled with anxiety and panic disorder, we don’t need to just snap out of it, we couldn’t if we tried (and I’ve tried!) We need people who can love us where we are, walk with us, encourage us, and offer a little bit of compassion for our journey. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I agree Lisa. We can’t just “snap out of it”. I pray everyone will take the time to be more understanding and learn about the many mental health issues. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. Melissa, What a sad experience. My heart is so disturbed by the lack of care and compassion our culture offers those who struggle with mental illness. As someone who has struggled with anxiety and panic disorder, we don’t need to just snap out of it, we couldn’t if we tried (and I’ve tried!) We need people who can love us where we are, walk with us, encourage us, and offer a little bit of compassion for our journey. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Beautifully said. There is such misconception about mental illness! The more we talk about it, the more all people can understand.

  4. Melissa, the conversation you overheard is sad on so many levels, but happens more than we realize. People are just unaware of how depression affects a person. And you know all too well. Glad it gave you some insight for not only this post, which brings awareness to many others, but also for how you might handle the same situation in the future…and how some of us can now handle it, too! Thank you!

  5. I hope you go for it next time, Melissa.

    Yet the problem is societal. Perhaps someday schools will step up and teach about mental health too. Instead of waiting for that, it’s time for the Church to be the haven for the hurting of the world.

    We need to be the ones teaching that message and welcoming the hurting.

    1. Amen. We need to reach out to those with mental health issues. There is a huge amount of mental health conditions. We need to learn more and be understanding.

  6. Melissa, you have such a kind heart. Suffering makes us into kind people, for we understand the suffering of others. I’d like to think that if you had turned and spoken to that group that they would have learned and changed their way of thinking, but I’m guessing they have no idea of what it is like to suffer from depression. I bet it was demoralizing to hear these kinds of words exchanged about someone they should have been deeply concerned about. They should have shared kind and supportive words about their “friend.” Depression isn’t fixed by “growing up” or by the number of our physical blessings. There needs to be more awareness and kindness about this issue.

  7. Oh Melissa, this story breaks my heart. How easily we judge and jump to wrong conclusions when we don’t understand another person. Lord have mercy and help us have mercy on one another! Thank you for sharing this, so we can be more tenderhearted and compassionate, like our sweet Savior, when we see someone going through a tough time. We have all experienced anxiety and depression from time to time, but for those who battle this daily, it is a heavy burden to bear. I have family members who struggle in this way, so I am truly grateful to read your heart and insights. May I never forget the ache of this burden. We may never know fully why the Lord has asked us to bear a certain cross until we reach heaven. We trust He will bring forth His glory and make us wounded healers. May God use you to bring great healing. Bless you!

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