Letter to the Editor: Submitted by Mark Jacobson

To the Editor:

All humans need somebody to listen. Feeling connected is not just something we want. As humans, it’s a real need. So of course we feel bad when it seems nobody is there for us. Feeling unheard can create emotions  like depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and self-hatred.

See if anything on the following list speaks to you. These may be signs that you’re not broken or “mentally ill” - you just need someone who will listen.

Feeling Like You’re Worthless. Self-esteem can only be nurtured by deep connection with other people. You can’t totally create it for yourself, alone. So what happens when nobody listens to you and you don’t feel really seen or heard? Naturally, your self-esteem decreases,  and you may feel worthless.

You’re Stuck In The Depression Pit. Many of us stay slightly on guard with the people in our lives. We feel that those around us, especially friends and family, may hear us but don’t really listen. Some of us may even feel unheard or misjudged even by our therapists. Whatever variation of this you may have going on, it’s a recipe for depression symptoms coming from a lack of genuine connection.

Feeling Helpless. Not being listened to makes us believe we’re helpless to make any impact on our lives or the lives of those around us. So, if nobody in your life takes what you say seriously, you’re much more likely to feel powerless and helpless.

Having Racing Thoughts. When our thoughts are racing and won’t stop, think about whether you’ve let them out to a listening ear recently. If you haven’t let out and processed your thoughts with another person in a while, they’re bound to keep bouncing around, like your head’s  a pinball machine. That intensifies the need for someone to hear you out.

Are we starting to listen now? Are we attempting to truly understand the challenges facing so many of those around us? Too often, mental health issues come wrapped in an invisible shroud of stigma. We equate it with weakness, or worse, with a detachment from reality. We don’t understand it, so we’re afraid of it.

Are mental health and/or addiction issues being addressed? Are people getting the services they need, when they need it, and at a cost they can afford? Are mental health and/or addition services available to everyone who needs them?

You can send your thoughts and opinions to either gottahavehope38@gmail.com or by letter to 559 W. Broadway St., Winona, MN. 55987. I can also be reached in person at the Peer Support Network (PSN) located at 420 E. Sarnia St., Winona, MN Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Mark Jacobson
Peer Support Specialist
Winona, MN