mash: nostalgia / mental health
Maybe it the fact that last month was Suicide prevention month, and it got me thinking about my Uncle. Or maybe it’s the lingering thoughts of Robin Williams. Either way, when I listened to Third Eye Blind Jumper lyrics recently, I actually listened word for word, wishing I could speak these words to some people I loved who have gone… and have been reminded to speak them to some people I love who are still with me.
Have you ever had to be the voice of reason to a friend in need who was slipping into a dangerous mental place? I have. You have to look at them and tell them that you wished they’d “step back from that ledge”. Sometimes you can’t make them turn around and stop, or change their thinking pattern. There is a whole profession dedicated to that because helping a suicidal person in the long run is a skill and an art. However, sometimes all you need is to have them take just one step back, so to speak. That could mean the difference between having the time and space to get them professional help, and not.
When I was younger I was foolish enough to think that just because I was not directly harmful to a person, or because I wished them the best, I was good for them. Not so. Sometimes you can be a part of a harmful situation, or a painful memory, that a person just has to let go for their own mental health. And that’s OK. If you love them, you’ll let them go. I have friends who’ve died, and their parents distanced themselves from me. I understand, our only link is a painful one. And if they “don’t want to see me again, I would understand.”
And who hasn’t known someone who was always the loudest, the rudest, the coldest, or the one you could count one to draw attention for indecency–yet you knew that there was something behind it. I have a relative who is “a bit too insane.” Everyone says it. You stay around her long enough and she will offend you, hurt your feelings, or make you cry. But I know some of what she’s went through: the abuse, the nights on the streets, selling her body and numbing her mind. Indeed, sometimes the behavior is just “icing over a secret pain.”
We all have demons. I’m no exception. Everyone’s demon takes a different form. Some appear bigger than others. However, every demon is personalized. We all deal with something. And in life “everyone’s got to face down the demons.” Some of us, however, need a friend or loved one there when they do–or the demons multiply.
So I’m sensitive to those around me. And if they ever need me to help them take a step back from that ledge, I want to be right there for them.
Be sure to check out another article in the Growing Up Music series: “One Week” by the Barenaked Ladies. Do you have a song that was given new meaning as you grew up? If so, tell us about it below! Or even better, submit a piece to the series yourself!