SF, help limited?

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by Will, Nov 24, 2007.

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  1. Will

    Will Staff Alumni

    Just wanted to toss some thoughts around here, see if anyone ever thought of SF this way, or just in general. Interested to here anyone's thoughts on anything on this topic.

    Doesn't it seem sometimes, that when you look around SF, that you feel limited to help people?

    I've observed this thought, in and out, some days and on others. Really, what can we really DO? We can talk it out through forum posts. But that takes effort on both sides. Extreme effort, in some cases.

    There are people who struggle, but we can't really be there for them. The closest you get in Instant Messaging. But in reality, I think the people who do a great deal of suffering (The ones who are slightly lower than most) could use someone in person with them. Ofcourse, SF cannot meet this standard.

    I feel as if we're bonded. That we all talk through a wall we cannot break. I find it almost more painful to see that fellow human beings withering in such a matter. For the serious cases, I can only sit and think, and can never find anything to say. Where there's just not really any shed of light in their situation, what can we say to help them?

    Surely it's common for a :hug: and the like, but after a while I don't think much of it gets through. Alot of us can grow tired of it, and we just don't feel it anymore. How are we to help someone then?

    I see in a few situations, if only we could be there with them in person, it's different. Sure you can see the words that someone types on the internet, or even the emotions expressed. But sometimes simple things, a *real* hug, a real 'I care', with a human's voice, just a touch. Maybe not.

    I'm at a loss, I feel I can only do so much. We all can only do so much. But, if we really care, should we not aspire to do more? Just keep trying, be persistent. It seems like the best extent we can help people is to agree, to relate to someone's loss, to someone's life.

    Some how, I don't feel that 'normal' or 'happy' people may be able to assist one who is depressed (with the helper never having been that low themselves). We are all depressed here. Or we were at one time. While people who have been down and out like a lot of us, we do understand that it's hard, and we can't beat it alone. But, even if we want to help, we can only do so much.

    SF is a connection. We feel close to people here. We can't leave, because it has fixed us to a degree. We KNOW people here, we love them. And only to see, some of them in pain, is not easy. SF is a way out, a way to get that voice inside some help. A way to ease the pain. But it only helps so much. It's like we build an immunity for help from SF. This doesn't make SF any the less helpful.

    But it's hindering. We only feel the connection so much. We can't thrive off it. Maybe some who are not very deep down, the ones who aren't too bad can pick up and be alright. But some, and it's turning into more, cannot. We're here, but we're not.

    Senior members here watch as new people come in, and some leave. Fades away. SF suddenly seems lonely. But what can we do? Who are we? When you think about it, even through a forum, even through an IM, can we really stop someone from committing suicide?

    No. There human beings. If SF tries to stop them, they could easily just close the window. Close the IM. And it's that easy. SF's attempt to save someone was shut out. Because that person has the right to.

    I'm not badmouthing SF. But only acknowledging that all we do, there's a limit. I've only heard stories that some members have had the police called on them, in attempt to help each other. But that of course, is just maybe in a few special cases.

    But, at the same time, we cannot expect SF to improve. We do alot here, no doubt. But when it comes down to it, we can't save people. SF is a good place. No, a great place. It's not easy to do what SF does. It's not easy to, stand up, as a community to try and help people. That's really rare, and it takes heart. And that's what SF is, a loving heart.

    But it really bugs me that I, you, we, SF as a whole, can only do so much.

    It's hard to be here. But it had to be hard to find SF.
  2. Hae-Gi

    Hae-Gi Banned Member

    One barely ever can give perfect support to someone... what bothers me with SF, however, is that if you, even in the most uncondoning way possible, support someone's wish to die through, for instance, a wish for peace, your post will be censored. Of course, even less than that is sometimes needed. It is hard even getting kind, but honest, support through, when it well may be censored out. It is highly undesireable for someone in deep pain, not being able to read all, in one way or another, well-wishing comments. Some censorship on depression forums just leads to more pain.
  3. danni

    danni Chat Buddy

    i agree and disagree on wat yousaid hae but you do have point. The honest truth will comes out no matte wht :hug:
  4. xighsequite

    xighsequite Active Member

    This is why psychology exists.

    Of course, people here would truly rather the person be happy, and alive, but most people here have not had enough time to seriously study the human brain, and therefore don't know exactly what you're supposed to do in every situation.

    Also, I wanted to say this before, but this thread should work well for it.

    For those of you who are truly interested in helping people, and helping yourself by feeling useful, and needed - don't only talk to people on this forum.

    Learn how to tell if someone is depressed, or might possibly commit suicide. Don't wait for people to tell you - all you have to do is be friendly to strangers. Sometimes people just need a friend to listen to them and care about them to feel completely relieved. Everyone has problems; people commit suicide when they have no cause for happiness.

    Please, stop feeling helpless, if you do, and help people of whom you know need help. They are everywhere, they are usually friendly, and you could so easily help them by being their friend.

    You can't do it alone; so don't try. Just be nice, and you will slowly influence more people to be the same.
  5. Will

    Will Staff Alumni

    I can see (to an extent) that if a person's living conditions are so horrible, that's it's better to suicide. However, I don't support that. I just acknowledge it'd be better for them, but I by no means am Pro-Choice, or Pro-Suicide. That's just not right, in my opinion. Because I just think everyone should live, see, smell, taste, hear, feel the things we do.

    However I see what might lead someone to think Suicide is better. Sometimes it is, just...can't support that.
  6. xighsequite

    xighsequite Active Member

    Contrary to many peoples' beliefs, living is not mandatory.

    In an ideal society, people would not want, or need, to commit suicide.
    The amount who do is an indication of how messed up our species has become. More than I disagree with suicide, I disagree with people who make people feel bad for wanting to do it.

    As you said, some circumstances are that bad.

    So, just understand them, instead of denying them.
    Agreeing with someone does more than saying they should be optimistic, or telling them not to think about it. The truth is the truth, and you have to accept it before you can create a new reality for that person.
  7. Will

    Will Staff Alumni

    You know, I've thought about that alot too, and just sort of tried to read people and determine if they're depressed or not. And I've sorta found a few people, it wasn't so difficult.

    But usually if it's people you know, it's a little rough to just be that way. I know that in my position, I'm somewhat of a loner, and not really connected to anybody on the outside. So it's difficult for me to get on an even playing field and say what I do on SF.

    I think it's like that alot for SF Members too, because alot of their scenario's are similar, and some are like, where they can't really talk to anyone. Alot of us come here depressed, so usually a form of shyness comes with it, and it's not easy to ream our souls and help people.

    I'd love to try that experiment myself, however I feel it could be awkward. Because talking behind a computer screen is easier to talk on a personal level, because you don't feel as if you're being judged, you have control over the situation. Less shame, exposure, and pressure.

    Just my take on that. Definitly food for thought.
  8. xighsequite

    xighsequite Active Member

    yes, it's very unfortunate that the people who want to help the most have the hardest time with it. I'm very shy, myself.

    I've considered wearing signs that say particular things (mostly silly) that would attract people who might need help.

    I realize not everyone is that unusual, but I would imagine they could still find a way.
  9. Random

    Random Well-Known Member

    Well, what messes with me the most is if I try and post something helpful to someone and they never come back to that thread and post about whether or not they worked through that particular issue. I have a pretty bad memory so sometimes I forget who I've talked to and who I haven't. But I always hope that what I've posted will, in some way, be comforting or helpful to someone. It's all you can really do.

    I don't do the instant messaging thing because I think that might lead to dependence. I have my own problems and I'm certainly not qualified to be someone's personal counselor that they can come to for any reason. In fact, I'd be uncomfortable with taking things off the board because as long as you're posting what you have for everyone else to see, your thoughts can be peer reviewed and if you're not giving the best or most helpful advice, someone else (hopefully) will chime in.
  10. Abacus21

    Abacus21 Staff Alumni

    A very very nice post, Xib..

    I agree that there is a definite limit to what we can do here, after all, we're all (effectively) strangers, seeking comfort and support from one another.
    Friendships form, yes, but at the end of the day, we're all alone in our depression.
    SF helps unite us for support and care of others, but at the end of the day, we've all gotta battle through our own personal demons ourselves..
    That's where SF, any system, falls down as it's not face-to-face, we're unable to give someone a real hug, as Xib said so well..

    It can be frustrating at times, but SF does the best it can, and on the whole, I hope we support far many more than we disappoint because the level of support isn't what they expected etc.

    For that, I totally agree with you - I've found it harder and harder recently, to post anything (what I consider to be) meaningful or helpful to a person's thread..
  11. Random

    Random Well-Known Member

    One thing I worry about is that I always hope that nothing I've said has driven anyone further into their depression than they already were. It's so hard to know what's appropriate to say to whom. Exactly what their state of mind is. Sometimes you type without really thinking. It's a habit. It's probably all but inconsequential on forums about everyday things but here, we're dealing with people on the edge and what I (or anyone else) says to them could be a really big deal to them. Either positively or negatively.
  12. WhyMeWhy

    WhyMeWhy Well-Known Member

    I never expected anything, when I registered. I simply had the desire to communicate w/ people who sorta think like me or can relate to what I'm going through. I worry as well about what I say & how it may affect others. But if a person does not want to be helped.... there's nothing anyone can do, even in person. Also, it's difficult to really help someone if you're struggling yourself. Sometimes you can't relate to someone's problems, you can only understand(if that). Then how can you help them? You'd have to be proffessionally trained in that area.
  13. Will

    Will Staff Alumni

    Yeah, exactly. It's hard enough to sum up the words to really 'encourage' or 'help' anyone in anyway, much less do it well. And if you don't choose your words carefully (like you said) the outcome is way different, and you didn't even mean to do it. Everyone's on edge, it's kind of like talking with a bunch of people sitting on the ledge of a tall building. We just always have to be supportive, and positive. But sometimes people that close to the edge just can't feel it, or they're dead set on Suicide. This is truly a sad situation.

    Yeah. SF is a 'meet you halfway' forum, and both sides have to try, have to keep up with eachother. That bugs me too. And I have bad memory myself. I've gone into chat sometimes, and I remember having an emotional conversation, but I forgot which story is attached to which name, and if I don't answer right then it's an awkward, negative situation. The posts and conversations mean something to me, but I just know people by their stories, it's a little rough sometimes.

    I think it's important when someone asks for help, that multiple respond. It's kind of like in real life, where if multiple people, even if they only said a little, come to you and tell you that they care, I think it has a slightly bigger impact. At the same time, we can all PM eachother and receive PM's, but if we get too attached to a person, we can find ourselves or even others Dependant. Usually I don't think that's a common thing here. But it's happened sometimes, and when it does happen, it's wearing on both people.
  14. Will

    Will Staff Alumni

    Yeah, but not everyone who joins comes with the same mentality. Some, and actually more recently, kind of see SF as a 'professional' place, and they get a little frustrated when people don't respond immediately, or wholeheartedly. And, there's truth to what you're saying, that you can only help people willing to recieve it. But at the same time, I think it's a good habit personally to chime in on people once awhile, and let them know you care. The people who are really rejecting help...Think of it like going to a restaurant, and then just sitting there and not ordering food or anything. I mean, people come here seeking support for Suicide and their mental illness, and we can't accomodate them unless they're willing (as you said). I think that's frustrating for some members, because some people might put their hearts into a post, only for it to be forgotten and/or ignored. But that's things we have to deal with here.

    Professional help these days I somewhat look down upon. Even though they have education, and information about depression and such, if they haven't gone through it to a certain degree, I'm not really sure they could understand on an equal footing as the person they're helping. Especially with the recent fads of self-injury, I think alot of therapists are more apt to prescribe pills and just listen to your problems, as opposed to actually helping a person reason through it. That and, once, twice, even three times a week isn't enough for alot of people. Because Depression is a serious mental illness, and if you can't keep tabs on a person, we can't really help them.

    I agree though, even in person we're limited. But I know if I was in a position where I had friends in person, helping out a little, just you know, caring a little, I think it'd have a pretty big impact on my life. I think it does in alot of cases. Sometimes on SF it's hard to communicate with others. And when atleast we have people around us who can really atleast say something, it means alot more.

    I think the sound of a person's voice, and the feel of their hand touches alot more than words on a computer screen.
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