Boggle on mental illness and “a cry for help”.

Here’s your feel good post for the day: it’s Boggle, the owl.  People write to boggle with problems and boggle then gives them some kind perspective.

This particular one caught my eye…

I don't like the phrase "a cry for help."  I just don't like how it sounds.  When somebody says to me, "I'm thinking about suicide, I have a plan; I just need a reason not do do it," the last thing I see is helplessness.  I think: your depression has been beating you up for years.  It's called you ugly, and stupid, and pathetic, and a failure, for so long that you've forgotten that it's wrong.  You don't see any good in yourself, and you don't have any hope.  But stll, here you are; you've come over to me, banged on my door, and said, "Hey!  Staying alive is really hard right now!  Just give me something to fight with!  I don't care if it's a stick!  Give me a stick and I can stay alive!  How is that helpless?  I think that's incredible.  You're like a marine: trapped for years behind enemy lines, your gun has been taken away, you're out of ammo, you're malnurished, and you've probably caught some kind of jungle virus that's making you hallucinate giant spiders.""

And you're still just going, "Give me a stick.  I'm not dying out here."  "A cry for help" makes it sound like I'm supposed to take pity on you.  But you don't need my pity.  This isn't pathetic.  This is the will to survive.  This is how humans lived long enough to become the dominant species.  With no hope, running on nothing, you're ready to cut through a hundred miles of hostile jungle with nothing but a stick, if that's what gets you to safety.  All I'm doing is handing out sticks.  You're the one staying alive.


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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.