Is it possible to help people who....

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by juicy, Dec 10, 2013.

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  1. juicy

    juicy Well-Known Member

    are older than you? It's just a simple question. Sometimes, (I'm 22) when I come on here, I get overwhelmed by a lot of the "stories," that the much older adults tell. You know, their problems. They are at a completely different stage in life, and I'm like, "what do I say to someone who has had kids, was married, has a career," etc. Do you think that you have to BE at the same stage of life as someone else is to effectively help them? To better understand what they're going through?
  2. mpang123

    mpang123 Well-Known Member

    Juicy, I'm 44. I have no kids, never married, and I'm on disability. It's hard for me to relate to relationship problems, divorce, family problems, work-related issues, and a sleuth of other "stuff" that more mature adults have experienced. The only thing I think I can offer is advice and experience on mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and suicidal ideations and attempts because that's all I know now since I've become mentally ill since I was 15. So you're not alone thinking that you don't have much experience as "older" people have. I'm older, but not so experienced.
  3. flowers

    flowers Senior Member

    great question, Jucy. I feel that often the very best thing is to just let someone know they have been heard. Its a great gift to give. Because as you may well know, so many who come to this community have gone unheard. Too many of us have learned that we must hide that part of ourselves..... I am sure I do not have to go any further. I pseronally am an old lady, lol. But I appreciate anyone who extends the offer of a hug. Or who just says I care. Or I am sorry, that must hurt. Or that must be so hard. In my opnion, those words are healing..... and often much more helpful than the words of those of us who offer remedies to fix things.

    People of all ages are equally valuable when it comes to offering words of healing and caring. And it sounds like you REALLY do care. :hug:
  4. JmpMster

    JmpMster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    I think that just as older adults have experiences and probably more importantly patience that many younger people lack, we have formed ideas based on those experiences that prevent us from seeing other approaches besides our own - the "cant teach an old dog a new trick" syndrome... the difference in perspective can be very valuable in both directions I believe so long as it is approached with respect in both directions.

    The biggest difference in perspective comes in way of time and patience. At my age if somebody says 2 years or 4 years that seems like a relatively short time - we take 2 years or more sometimes to plan a family vacation ... but i remember when I was 20 turning down an incredible opportunity because it involved a 6 year commitment and at that time 6 years was an absolute eternity (and it was at that time since it was nearly 1/3rd of my known life). It is frustrating as an "older adult" for the purposes of this forum (I have children older than many members here) to see people frustrated with no results in a few months or saying they cant wait 2 years or 3 years- I literally have a very hard time understanding that even though I still remember feeling the same and listen to my children speak the same way - but I have financed cars for 4 / 5 / 6 years, taken 30 year mortgages for something "important" like a house - worked at same jobs for 10+ years ... so the times and "cant wait that long" when discussing a few months or a couple years no longer makes sense to me. While some of that attitude would help a lot of people here , so would the old attitude I used to have of "something needs to change now" that many of the younger people share. The best approach comes from balance and balance comes from input of people with all different experience levels.
  5. Witty_Sarcasm

    Witty_Sarcasm Eccentric writer, general weirdo, heedless heathen

    I don't think you need to have the same amount of life experience as someone else to be able to help them. What matters most is to be able to understand what they're going through, and to listen and help them the best way you can.
  6. demuredawn

    demuredawn Well-Known Member

    Honestly, I believe you are able to help people best if you have similar experiences, and/or can relate in some way. I may have compassion for others, or sympathy, but unless I can express empathy along with my understanding, I will not have enough knowledge of the situation to offer anything significant in the way of help. I try to always relate my life experiences to the person I'm helping in some way. If you cannot do that, you can express your sympathy, compassion, and maybe even a bit of acceptance/understanding... in a way to console them, but as far as help, I don't think you can. That being said, I don't think it depends on age though either. I have known some teens that have been through just as much, or maybe even a lil more than me and i'm 39.... just depends on life experiences/situations and your maturity levels...

    Hope that helps.
  7. juicy

    juicy Well-Known Member

    I agree with you about the " a few years seems like an eternity" thing. I feel the same way about college. It will take me a few years to get my degree, but I don't really want to do it because it just seems like such a long time. Like 10 years instead of 4. But seeing how difficult it is to get a job, I have to stay in school for the grant/financial aid money I'm getting so I can support myself, and because it's my mother's dream to see me graduate from college. But that's a dream that's unfortunately going to have to well,'ll never be achieved, but you know.

    Anyway, thanks for your input.
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