Let this be a guiding principle.

Do not tell an ailing person that sadness doesn’t solve anything, that there is nothing to be sad about, that there are so many things to be happy about, that they could have had it worse, that it makes no sense according to WhiteManNo.2534. Don’t tell them to feel something else instead. It won’t make them “cheer up”, “chill out”, “just smile” or be happy.

Don’t argue with someone about their own emotions. “Suicidal thoughts are weak,” “Depression is a choice,”

The best you can aim to do is show up. Leave if you are not welcome. Listen. If you are lucky, you get to feel/see things you stood no chance at experiencing.

“I don’t know how that must feel, but I am here for you. Is there something I can do to help?”
“You feel what you feel, don’t try to rationalize or undo it.”
“I am here to listen. I promise I won’t try to solve anything.”
“I see you. I hear you.”
“It doesn’t have to make sense.”

This is what my self talk sounded like 5 years ago. Being a good ally to myself and those around me is an ongoing education.

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