So yesterday I found out that one of my former clients walked into a shelter and cut out his own eye with a spoon. I know this man very well, and I know how sick he is, I also know that he’s not the kind of man to have asked for help, even as badly as he clearly needed it.

And he’s not alone. Every day millions of people around the world fall into poverty, addiction, and houselessness while living with mental health issues, not necessarily in that order.

I know that when I found out I had mental health issues, it kicked me for a loop because I wasn’t prepared to have my mind shattered by terrible traumatic memories.

One of the major factors that become a barrier in asking for help is the act of asking for help itself. Many folks – myself included at first – are convinced they don’t need help, that they can and should by all rights, expect to handle all their problems alone. Folks don’t ask for help because they believe that they are at fault for having mental health issues as if they are somehow broken or defective when nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s really difficult to get through to someone who refuses to ask for help, especially when they are big and intimidating kinds of people. This was a person that the world sees as a danger purely because his size, very few people like him would be able to admit they need help with ease and he’s no different.

Part of me wishes I could have been there to stop him, but a huge part of me knows there’s nothing I could have done because he’s the kind of man who when determined will do whatever he wants and no one can stop him. He’s simply too big.

All I can do now is hope that he gets the help he needs and remember that I love him as much as possible, from a distance where it is safe for both of us.

It sucks that people are as sick as they are, but the barriers to getting help for a lot of folks are societal, not individual. Some folks are where they are because society gave up on them and didn’t bother to look back until it was too late.

Each of us has to decide what we’re able to do, or who it is that we know who can help, but the one fundamental thing that we have to remember when someone self-harms is that it isn’t about us or anything we have done or haven’t done, it’s about them and their need to express what they are feeling without words because they don’t often know how to speak or what to say. In this case, I believe that’s what happened.

Mental health is a delicate science and not every thing is going to work for every single one, but we can try our best by being there for those we love when we are able and explaining clearly why we are not when we can’t be.

Other people’s behaviour and choices are not our responsibility, all we can do is remember that when the time comes that we are called to help, we do the best we can.

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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It’s all I have today.

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