Starting Anew, Here and Now


It is nice to be with you.

It is nice to be back writing and advocating for people with mental illness and mental health challenges!

After a life of major depression and an anxiety disorder I am very well indeed.

I write to lend a hand to those needing a helping hand and to those who are reaching out with a hand.

I also want people to do more than develop empathy. Empathy is passive. It lets people off the hook.

What is necessary is taking action to help others.

After 20 years of teaching families, loved ones and individuals with mental illnesses, these are the 2 nuggets people like you have told me were the most helpful in reaching out to others:

    ~~~ In Greeting, say,  “It is nice to see you!”
            Do Not ask, “How are you!!!”

Asking a question can put people in an uncomfortable position. They may not know what to say, or do not know themselves how they are … Many times, by conventional standards, they may not be successful, accomplished, have relationships that matter, and so on.

Sometimes, and I have experienced this myself, even with relatives, the question “How are you?” may mean, hint, hint: “Have you stopped smoking yet…Have you lost weight yet…Do you have a job yet?”

    ~~~Listen actively.

Your presence and loving concern can mean the world … just by being there. Usually the person you are listening to is not asking you or expecting you to solve their problems. Advice can be off putting. Wait to be asked for advice and do not yourself be put off if advice is not asked.

Follow up is absolutely essential. If you do not follow up in a significant way, your gesture will be just that, a gesture.

Flowers or a casserole or a handwritten note are all good ways to go.

Thank you kindly,
Gail Louise