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Ask for help!

The Today Show recently ran a story about seven-year-old John Murray Jr. who had the simple message, “Ask for help !!!” written on four post-it notes, one word on each sheet, plus a sheet for the exclamation points. This message came out of a reading exercise he was doing while he and his mother waited in the army post pharmacy. Looking around for words he found “family” and “care” and “together” but he hesitated at a word he didn’t recognize. The word was “suicide.”

When that word came up, his mother, Ingrid Murray, said, “I wished I had a degree in psychology right about then. My first thought was to act like I didn’t hear it. But the Army wants everybody to talk about it.”

So she explained the word “suicide” and why someone might want to end his or her own life. John responded with a simple summation: “When they don’t have any broken arms or legs, and no blood, you can’t see the sadness inside them, but they still need help.”

His mother went on to explain that often people don’t get help because they are reluctant for one reason or another to ask for the help they need. Hence the post-it notes, created by John Jr.

Sometimes, whether we are the depressed person or someone living with a depressed individual, we can be reluctant to ask for help. The reasons abound – fear of losing others’ respect, fear of losing a job, fear of what might be in store in treatment, fear of losing a relationship with a son, daughter, mother, father. There are more reasons than can be listed. But the fact still remains: We need to ask for help if we want to get better, if we want to change things.

It’s not easy and it’s scary, but asking for help can mean the difference between living and dying. This is especially true if you are one of the invisible walking wounded, who, to paraphrase John’s words, don’t have any broken arms or legs, and no blood so you can’t see the sadness inside.” But the fact remains that they – that we – still need help.

-Bernadette

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