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.
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.