I read an article yesterday by a former rescue swimmer with the US Coast Guard. He said that a drowning person never looks like they're drowning. They don't struggle or scream because their body shuts down all activity that doesn't allow for the primary responses for survival. So the mouth is for breathing not screaming and the arms are to give leverage to raise the mouth out of the water and not for thrashing. This is why drowning takes so many lives - people don't recognise it for what it is at the time.
This made me think of people on an emotional level and it's really frighteningly similar. The ones who are truly at the end of their rope are not thrashing and screaming, they're not telling people how awful things are. They are just quietly contemplating death and how best to go about it.
This is why the suicide of a loved one is so hard to come to terms with. It strikes with no real warning and we're left feeling as though we should have seen the signs but we didn't. We rail against the reality and ask why they didn't just talk to us.
But they're like drowning men, aren't they? The body shuts down all physiological action and they're unable to voice what they're going through. They're unable to scream for help.
I suppose, in a way, this allows us to reject the responsibility and the guilt we might feel and that's never a bad thing. The fact is we are never responsible for other people's actions, no matter how close we are to them.
Here's what we are responsible for though... We're responsible for our own words and actions. It comes down to kindness once again. You never know when showing a little bit of love might be the only light someone sees in their day. And it's the ones who don't ask for it who might really be in need of it.
Take that extra step out of your way today and show some kindness to someone just because you can. Leave the screamers to scream and focus some attention on those who ask for nothing because just maybe nothing is all they expect and you could be the one to change that for them.