Hello Everyone, welcome back! When I was looking for inspiration for this next blog post I realized one thing I want to focus on is using pop culture and mass media references as a common denominator for us all to talk about the bigger issues and messages that are out there. With that said, the topic I choose for this post is the HBO stand-up special, Chris Gethard: Career Suicide. I was so moved by this man’s openness to share his battle with lifelong depression and anxiety and how he came to accept that he needed help that I felt compelled to blog about it. For those of you who haven’t seen it, you may be wondering how this could be a comedy special, which is part of the brilliance of how he tells his story. Gethard makes it about as real and honest as you can get, while at the same time making it entertaining and accessible to his audience. Before I go any further, let me just say that there are a lot of mature themes and language throughout the special, so just be aware of that before you watch it. However, I do believe that it is a very important story that needs to be heard. If you have teenagers, I personally think it would be a good idea to sit down and watch it with them, in the hopes that it will open up a dialogue between you and your child about what it is like to struggle with these issues and how they feel about asking for help.
One theme from this special that I wanted to talk about is how to show you care about someone who is going through these issues. Without giving too much away, Chris Gethard describes two different people that he meets that have two very different ways of showing they care. They are the clinic doctor and his psychiatrist Barb. Let me say I think both these people do care, they just have two very different styles and unfortunately one does not work that well. This does not mean that this person is “bad,” but it does mean that they are not as helpful. This person would be the clinic doctor. I am not going to say that he does not have good intentions, because I don’t know him to make that determination, but it is clear that his main concern is following the rules and not being libel. This makes it so he can’t connect with Chris on a personal level, which is ultimately what he needs to receive help. The comedian returns to this issue at the end of the special, by talking about different e-mails he receives from people. He describes two different kinds of people that e-mail him. One is from people who can relate to his story, the other is from people who know someone like Chris and want to help but are afraid of causing more harm. Chris says he replies by talking about the clinic doctor, and how he was more concerned about doing what he was supposed to do rather then what was right. I would bet that this is a common theme for a lot of people, you want to help because you do care but you just don’t know how. Chris makes the argument that there is nothing you can do to make the situation worse, but I bet we all have stories of how that may not be the case. To look at another way to show you care, let’s go to Barb.
Barb is about as non-traditional of a therapist as you can get. And in Chris’s case, that is what he needed. I am not going to make a claim that his therapist “cured” him, because that would be ridiculous. Let me make it clear, when therapy works it is because the person receiving the help was willing to do the work and therefore deserves the credit. But it can be hard to do that if the person you are working with doesn’t seem that invested. Unlike the clinic doctor, Barb did not have a script with questions that she had to ask, she just had herself and was present for Chris during their sessions. This is what I think people are looking for the most, whether it be in a therapist, a friend or a family member, we all just want somebody to be present with us when we need them. So if you find yourself in that group of people e-mailing Chris about what they should do, that’s all you need to do – be present and show you care. The more engaged you can be with the person, the more they will believe you. This will make it easier to convince someone that they need to get help. After all, I am not saying it is your responsibility to “fix them,” but if you are concerned about someone, simply taking the time to listen and express how much you think they should seek help can go a long way. If for some reason you are very concerned about someone in that moment, you can always call 911 and stay with them until help arrives.
There are many ways to care, and there are many ways to show that you care, Barb and the clinic doctor had 2 very different approaches. This special does a great job of highlighting what it is like for someone to go through the process of getting the help that they need. It is a true story of a personal journey to a healthier more peaceful life, which is what we all deserve. I really do hope that wherever you are in the world, you can find a Barb that will help you along your journey. If you have any questions about how you can find that help, please don’t hesitate to ask me.
Thank you for taking the time to ready my blog, I really appreciate it. If you would like to talk to me further or to schedule an appointment please contact me at Kelly@pathways2healing.org Good luck on your journey until the next time we meet.