If you’re reading this, it’s my guess that you’re feeling pretty hopeless right now. I know what that’s like. In fact, there are a lot of us at Quiet Connections who have been there.
And now you’re here, perhaps you’re hoping to find a solution that you can do all by yourself. Something that doesn’t involve talking to others about it. That way, you won’t have to share these painful thoughts and feelings or draw attention to those characteristics that you see as your flaws and risk feeling judged.
The truth is, you didn’t get here entirely by yourself. Perhaps it was your peers, the media, or the adults in your lives during childhood who played a part in shaping the way you think and see yourself. So why should you be able to change how you’re feeling all by yourself now?
When four of our Quiet Connectors spoke with BBC Spotlight about our experience of feeling suicidal, we found that we just didn’t feel good enough; we felt hopelessly flawed and alone, like we were the only person in the world going through this.
“Shame needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgement. If you douse it with empathy, it can’t survive”
– Brené Brown
Our thoughts and feelings can disconnect us from other people but, as humans, we’re wired for connection. We need this. Isn’t it ironic then that in protecting ourselves, we move further into isolation? Just imagine how it would be to feel understood. Having someone listen to you and hold a space for you to work through those challenges is so important. It doesn’t matter if you stutter, stumble, breakdown in tears or sit in silence. You’ll feel less alone immediately. And, from a listeners’ perspective, I guarantee you this isn’t a burden for us. Remember that human need for connection? That’s what we get too.
So you want to speak about how you feel. And you want to know the person who you’re opening up to can respond with empathy and compassion. Granted, it’s not always easy to find that person. People are sometimes quick to try to ‘fix things’ before they fully understand. Sometimes they just don’t know how to respond so they make insensitive comments like ‘pull yourself together’, ‘other people have it worse’, and ‘stop thinking silly things’ in a clueless attempt to be helpful.
But maybe those people deserve a chance too; you can ask them for what you need after all. What if you told that person that all you need right now is to be listened to and feel understood? With those guidelines, they could muster up the empathy you need (rather than focusing on their own desire to solve it for you). Too scary? One of the most valuable things Quiet Connections offers is that supportive community. Immediately, you know you’re with people who understand you and who have felt, or still feel, in a similar way to you right now. Everyone shows such beautiful compassion for each other, being encouraging and supportive in our challenges. Yes, it takes courage to join a community like that and I’m impressed every month when someone new joins in. What would it would be like for you to be a part of that? If you’re in Cornwall, get in touch and find out how we can help you. We’re trained in suicide intervention skills.
Get the free Suicide Prevention App
Something you can do on your own (or with the support of a professional if you choose) is create your mini-safety plan using Stay Alive – The Suicide Prevention App. This means you can have actions and support in place that will keep you safe in moments when you might be considering suicide. It includes strategies for staying safe from suicide, with links to support services. You can even upload photos in the LifeBox, reminding you of all your reasons to stay alive, which is what you want. I know, because you read this all the way to the end…
Hayley shares her personal stories of feeling shy, socially anxious, ‘not good enough’ and fearfully avoiding the good things in life. Growing her confidence through coaching, gradually stretching her comfort zone and connecting with others, she now uses everything she has learned to help other people grow their confidence in her role as a coach. Hayley is passionate about connecting people with similar stories and creating safe, supportive spaces to make friends and try new things. Hayley dreams of a time when all of the strengths, skills and goodness in ‘quiet’ is recognised and appreciated as readily as being bold, gregarious, and comfortable in the spotlight is right now.