I guess this Yay! post has been a little overdue for me, as this happened about a month ago. But it's special and means much to me, largely because up until this time, I have largely been in the student/receiver position where other people have been providing me services of education and/or assistance; it wasn't until of late that the roles have started to finally transition and change where I am now turning around and offering help and knowledge to those who want it. And it feels pretty darn good.
For those who know me, I spend a portion of my time and days working as an acupuncturist assistant at a local community style acupuncture clinic when I'm not offering my services helping out here on Scarleteen. One day, the clinic had a patient who wanted to help her depressed daughter. The two proved to be a challenge to help, mostly because the daughter was unwilling to get help herself, and her mother was desperate and dragging her everywhere. While the acupuncturist has experience in life coaching and has been through some rough patches in his time, it didn't appear that any of what he was telling either of them was sinking in and making an effect, if any. He finally decided to offer me up in hopes that maybe I could get through to them.
The reason why he did, and was hopeful in doing so, was because he saw similarities in my past with what the daughter was going through right now. Although she is still in high school, I am not much older than her, and grew up in a similar environment; moreover, I have had dealt with bouts of depression on my own. The daughter was not exactly responsive beyond apathetic monosyllables and one-word answers, but I didn't let that deter me. Instead, I told her my story about my life and my own experiences with depression. My intention was not to assume the position of teacher or even an authority on anything, but rather simply, I wanted to tell her what I went through in hopes that she could see and figure things out for herself.
The conversation was held over speaker phone with all four of us in attendance: the mother, the daughter, the acupuncturist, and I; and it started off rather awkwardly and (as I personally felt, looking back on it) unconvincingly. Nothing was scripted, and I felt somewhat nervous as I kind of rambled, introducing myself and talking about my own upbringing in my family. Eventually, though, I got into talking about depression, and then something happened to me. Before I knew it, I was tearing up and close to bawling, as the memories came back so viscerally and raw that it took me by surprise. I didn't expect any of this to happen, and I apologized beforehand that I was getting emotional and might have trouble speaking clearly. But I made sure to raise my voice a little and forged on. I don't remember all the details in my "speech," but I do recall telling her how depression can take people to dark and scary places, and if they don't have the experience and/or strong support network of friends and family to depend on, it can be difficult dealing with and/or leaving those places; or how it's easy to feel OK with being this way and settling for feeling crummy instead of other emotions like joy and inspiration. By the end of the session, I could feel a definite change in energy on the other side of the phone; even though the daughter was still more or less unresponsive, I could sense that she was moved by what I said.
Part of the daughter's problem was that she wasn't happy with her current school situation, and had decided she didn't want to finish it. Her mother was distraught, because it was a good private school on the island, and likely cost a lot to have her daughter attend it. While I didn't push for her to bite the bullet and go back to school, I did offer her alternative options, basically telling her that it's not the end of the world if she ends up not finishing high school or going to college; I told them about the GED (General equivalency degree (or diploma)) and how they could go about getting information on how to attain that instead. Neither of them had heard of such an option, and I think I surprised the both of them. After a few more words, the session ended.
The mother later wrote us an e-mail in the evening, thanking me for sharing my story. While the daughter was still generally unresponsive to her, she genuinely felt a change in her, and believed that I was able to leave an impression after all. As for the mother, she admitted herself that she wept while listening to me, and will contact us in the future as to her daughter's status. To date, neither the acupuncturist nor I have heard back from her yet. However, the feeling that, despite not having the life coaching skills or trained abilities to counsel people, I was still able to help someone I've never met, was pretty darn amazing.
-------------------- Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. - Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale Posts: 234 | From: Hawaii | Registered: Feb 2013
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Oh, this is absolutely wonderful. Sharing yourself and being able to help others is such a wonderful thing (almost pure bliss), isn't it? The thing about sharing is that is equalises the playing field. When you are sharing something personal with someone else, it says to them "I care about you enough to share things that are deeply personal, and it is my gift to you - it might not seem so at this time but it really does get better!"
It is the meeting of equals - that's what sharing from the heart truly is.
Posts: 540 | From: Australia | Registered: Feb 2011
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