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What Happens When Someone With Depression Reaches Out in Silence

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We’re told over and over — just reach out. Campaign after campaign is geared towards the idea we will, and for those that can and do, well done!

The rest of us know just how hard or impossible that can be. In my situation I wasn’t heard, not because I didn’t ask, but because how I asked was in silence. I reached out and spoke out only in my own mind, within the boundaries of my own protective walls, but I didn’t know that. You see, depression controls what you do, your thoughts, reactions and movements. Now that’s not to say we should just give up the fight and think all hope is gone. It’s not.

Looking back I can understand how difficult it must of been for everyone around me, and even if they could see or hear me reaching, were they too scared to grab my hand? Did they actually care?

Well I can tell you, they did care, they cared for so long it destroyed them, it robbed my children of a father and robbed my wife of a husband and a whole lot more. Although that’s not say everything was my fault, but we’ll talk about that later!

The yacht experience…

This is one of my clearest memories of reaching out, I hope it brings a change to how you see silent reaching.

We were on a sailing trip, two weeks in the Whitsunday Islands, a huge glorious yacht, plenty of sun, sand, the tropics, eating fresh seafood till we burst, the kids were snorkeling every day, we were scuba diving. You get the picture right ? The perfect getaway.

This particular day we set sail for a little deserted island, with not much further to go, I steered us straight over a reef and tore a hole in the hull. We were taking on water fast.

As I scrambled to get the dinghy in the water, I tripped and my legs became tangled in some ropes. I yelled at everyone to get ashore and they did. I was in total panic mode. Then just like those weird “what the” switches we have in our dreams, I looked up, the boat was fine and my family was playing and laughing on the beach, oblivious to what had happened.

Here’s where I realized the communication bridge was broken. I was still tangled and unable to get my legs free, I was screaming for help but couldn’t be heard over their laughter. I started to get pretty angry, I was thinking, “Why aren’t they listening to me?” After a while they started wondering why the hell I was still on the boat instead of enjoying time with them, so they got upset, then angry at me too. Before long everyone was yelling and screaming, no one actually had a chance to hear anything.

The effect of this unheard silent reach was extreme. It’s here that I realized I was sinking and I was on my own, my family had to just watch me drift away never knowing or understanding that my legs were trapped. They were left believing I just didn’t want their help or that I didn’t want them. I felt the same.

The panic and fear is horrendous. It consumes the mind. That’s why it’s important to bridge the gaps of understanding and start communicating, stay calm and if you can’t reach each other, call for help.

This piece originally appeared on Speak Up Seek Help.

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Thinkstock photo via tarasov_vl

Originally published: February 25, 2017
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