Unheard Cries For Help

Phyl Campbell By Phyl Campbell, 19th May 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/y2uhtu-g/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

When young children are hurt, they cry. They ask for help. And hopefully someone is close by to help them. As we age, sometimes we forget that help can only come if we ask for it. Other times people can't guess something is wrong with us because they are inundated with the petty dramas of others. We need to consider when we need help, and ask for it, so we may receive it.

It's been a while, I know...

So sorry I haven't written here lately, other than the occasional comment. I've been busy living life. Thankfully my son has finished his homeschooling curriculum. We are settling into the house. I didn't get the bookshelves I wanted, but I found others to make do. We've been to a lot of baseball games. We've said final goodbyes to my father-in-law. We've attended my brother's high school graduation -- hopefully we won't have another until he graduates college or my son graduates high school. I put up a new website. Nothing really that important. Nothing that most readers would really care about. I'm a big girl, I can handle all these things, and I hope I do with grace that appears more effortless than it is.

Meanwhile...

So while I've been laying kind of low, maintaining a low profile, I've been paying attention to some things. One major example is Facebook. Some people there are such drama-filled attention seekers. They don't see that their selfishness causes so many of the problems they bemoan. People get tired of all that whining. People hit that little down arrow to hide them or even go so far as to delete (unfriend) them. Like the proverbial boy who cried wolf, these people who desperately need attention are losing the audience they once had. But I'm not sure they even notice. And even when one is deleted, it seems like a dozen more replace the one.

Behind what I could see...

Behind the social mess of drama kings and queens I could see were people truly in need of my friendship. I felt like such a bad friend when I realized one of my close friends hadn't been on Facebook in a while -- worse because I only realized I hadn't gotten any Bejeweled Blitz requests from him. So I wrote a goading post on his wall. I was rather shocked that within 30 minutes, others posted after me -- none of his friends had heard from him. It had been a few weeks!! He could be dead for all we knew. Or he could have been taking a break from all the drama -- as a single, unattached male, this is perfectly his right.

In the meantime, I need to find the guidebook of adult friendship. When should I send out a search party? When is it gossiping to ask a friend's friends what they know? When should I mind my own business? Don't I have enough to worry about?

If a friend is in trouble, isn't it his/her responsibility to ask for help?

But then I think about Ms. Marilyn

But then I think about Ms. Marilyn's many wonderful articles on recovery. I consider how often people seriously in trouble do not realize they need help until it is practically too late. Or they are embarrassed about their perceived failures. So, ready to laugh at myself for needlessly worrying, and worrying that the worst had already happened, I went in search of my friend. I found him through a Google search. He wasn't dead. He was in trouble. There wasn't much I could do, except write to him. So I did.

The Letter

The first part of the letter went something like this:


"You're an adult. I'm an adult. We both go our separate ways.

"So when I don't hear from you in a while, I assume it's my problem. I don't want to smother you or get all in your business...

"I hated finding you on Google... I'm glad you're not dead."

When things go wrong, send an e-mail -- SOMETHING!!

We all know someone who has:

lost a job
left a relationship
abused drugs or alcohol
been in a car wreck
lost a parent/spouse/child/close friend/beloved pet
been in the hospital
been in jail
battled depression
died

We wonder why we didn't know. We wonder if we were really friends. If we were really friends, why didn't the other person reach out?

At the same time, many of us don't want to contribute to the drama we despise on social media. Even I have secrets -- despite being such an open book -- when no one bothers turning the pages to get to know the intimate secrets found inside me. When a friend is a closed book -- when all I can see is the spine -- how should I be a good friend? I would ask my friends in trouble to send out an email or a private message. The world doesn't have to know, but friends should. I don't even need many details. Don't know what to say? Start a message with, "Hey, I'm not dead, but..."

In this recent situation, a mutual friend was very helpful to me. She reminded me that conversations and friendships are two way streets. She reminded me that I did make the post on Facebook when I was concerned, and I did that before anyone else. She reminded me that I have talked with our friend about managing that gray area between friendship and smothering. She reminded me that it isn't my job to save everyone in the world. And I can love people without "saving" or "fixing" them. This is a worthwhile struggle.

Share A Friendly Word

I have been writing about friendship, motherhood, teaching, women's issues, writing, and personal experiences. Share a friendly word with me in the comments section below. After all, we are all in this together.

Tags

Depression, Friends, Friends Like Family, Friendship Drama, Life, People, Responsible Behavior, Responsiblity

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- phylcampbell.com -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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Comments

author avatar Phyl Campbell
20th May 2014 (#)

Thanks for moderating Mark, and for your message. I had both in section 2 -- so I just need more, then? I think I normally tend to overdo it on the formatting.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
20th May 2014 (#)

this is an amazing piece indeed Phyl...so glad you wrote it for I agree there are so many whiners out there and facebook.. seems a breeding ground for that infamy...well done me darling....add links to your other pages please....

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
20th May 2014 (#)

Thanks, C. I will once I remember how to on this silly phone! ! They are so useful, but there's a BIG learning curve, too!

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
20th May 2014 (#)

Losing a job is the toughest thing I have experienced on your list (and I have no intention of doing any of of the others on the list), but you are right that we do know others that have suffered. Staying connected to special people is important and that is one of the good things that social media allows us to be.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
21st May 2014 (#)

In the past 12 months, my friends have experienced everything on that list. And while I was never the LAST person to know, it took me days, weeks, or months to come around to the problem. It either means that I have a lot of friends or that my friends are extremely unlucky people. I hope it's the former. And all but two I found out through social media.Eventually. Social media has certainly been a mixed blessing in my life; I wouldn't change it.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
20th May 2014 (#)

You did the right thing by checking up on your friend, Phyl. Sorry to hear he's in trouble. Glad to hear you are offering your support. As you said so well, we are all in this together.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
21st May 2014 (#)

Thanks Connie. My friends do tend to roll with punches and turn out OK. Except when they die -- which is sad. We are all in this together. It is as hard for me to ask for help as any of them. Before I had a kid to think about, I wouldn't dare ask for help. Now I know better. And I'm sure my friend will blush when he sees I wrote about him. Luckily I was vague, and have plausible deniability. That and a twisted sense of humor get me all kinds of places. :) Thanks for riding along with me Connie. ;)

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
21st May 2014 (#)

I don't put anything up on my Facebook except for Creative Artistry that makes me who I am ME. Sorry Phyl, this Camp doesn't Ring that Bell but knows how to communicate despite all odds with just Family.....
Oh Yea!!! Have two pages:

www.facebook.com/LadyAiyanna1 and www.facebook.com/AnishaAchan01. Take Care!!!!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
21st May 2014 (#)

Thanks for the nutpoints.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
21st May 2014 (#)

Thought provoking Phyl. Not much into social networking but keep in touch my few friends and chip in to help wherever possible. We do not know when anyone needs help despite leading an upright life and during such moments strangers have stepped in to lend a hand. I am rather hesitant to approach known people as one should also be prepared to take a "no" at times - siva

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
21st May 2014 (#)

I do think some generations and geographic areas are more prone to use social media than others. If you are fortunate to have your friends as neighbors you will spend less time looking for them online. If your friends and family network is more tightly woven, it makes sense you would be able to keep up more easily. Discounting my international friends and those overseas in military service, people in my core net are spread throughout both US coasts. My father in law's funeral was a hard two day drive away. Then my brother's graduation was a hard two days' drive back. Many Europeans can't quite grasp the scope of that. Even I have difficulty with it, because online is like talking on the phone, but often including pictures or video so one may feel "there." Yesterday, I saw an older group of friends who do not use computers. To show them how much my son had grown, I pulled up my FB page on my phone. It is a strange world we live in, indeed, but I wouldn't pick another. ;)

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author avatar Kingwell
21st May 2014 (#)

I feel that you did the right thing. It isn't always easy to know what to do. at such times. While I don't want to interfere in another's business, I also want to be there if a friend needs me.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
22nd May 2014 (#)

Thanks, Kingwell. And that's why I felt this was important to write. I am not special. Many many people are not sure how to be there for others in delicate situations. Bringing that to light then becomes quite important.

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author avatar vellur
22nd May 2014 (#)

Realizing when we need help and asking for it is very important and it could be a real helping hand and save lives.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
22nd May 2014 (#)

Thanks, Vellur. I don't think I have saved any lives yet, but know that social media has been my lifeline more than once.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
22nd May 2014 (#)

Good evening, Phyl - reaching out was the correct thing to do. In my "recovery world", we get concerned after a few days for the regular posters to Facebook or Twitter. We all get so busy with other stuff - your son, baseball, the move, me - well, it's developing an addiction web site...all good, but still I haven't been around much lately so committed to reading tonight and of course yours was one of the first. Thanks for the mention. Glad you found you friend, and like Peter, I've lost a job - I think that is such a ridiculous way of putting it like I misplaced the keys...oh well, you know what I mean. Maybe we can both get back to writing for Wikinut in the near future...I'm sure my grammar on this post needs your help :) ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
23rd May 2014 (#)

Nope. Your grammar is just fine. I hope you catch Peter's article about you. Pretty awesome stuff, and you certainly deserve it.

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author avatar Teila Tankersley
25th May 2014 (#)

Fabulous article written from the heart.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
28th May 2014 (#)

I dont care for facebook, I like goggle, well written piece and interesting as well Phyl

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
28th May 2014 (#)

Teila and Fern -- thanks so much for your comments! Teila, I'm sorry to be late in addressing yours. I must have missed the notice. Fern, I am just learning Google+ with my new smartphone. I have a great learning curve to hurdle; maybe I will. ;)

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author avatar Teila
3rd Jun 2014 (#)

Touching piece and enjoy coming back to read all the wonderful comments. Make all those articles even more interesting. Keep up the good work.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
3rd Jun 2014 (#)

Thanks, Teila! Glad I am not the only one who comes back to snoop on occasion! ;)

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author avatar vandana7
11th Jun 2014 (#)

So true...may be social media increased our circle so much that we are not able to keep in touch. And then there is always money. We need it, and we create wants so that we need that money. Therefore, sites that pay more get our devoted attention. Nice knowing you though. Sensitive insight always helps to keep in check some of artificiality. :)

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
11th Jun 2014 (#)

Thanks, vandana7. I try.

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author avatar n.c.radomes
12th Jun 2014 (#)

Informational and vital insights to improve ones's social relations.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
12th Jun 2014 (#)

Thanks, n.c.

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