Pooky Ponders: How can you be a good friend to someone who is suicidal? | Joe Hayman

Today’s question is ‘how can you be a good friend to someone who is suicidal?’ and I’m in conversation with Joe Hayman who is the managing director at the Holocaust Education Trust; but for the context of this conversation he’s here as my friend.

If you’ve followed me for any time, you’ll have heard me talk about Joe.  He’s been an incredible friend and he kindly agreed to talk honestly with me about a very difficult time in both of our lives when I was very, very unwell.

Please be kind in your feedback on this one.  It was not easy for Joe nor I; but I think it’s a really important conversation and I hope after listening to it, you’ll understand a little more about why I talk so often and so fondly of my good friend Joe. 

You can follow Joe on twitter @JoeHayman or on linkedin.

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Show transcript:

Please note that the transcript is auto generated

Pooky Knightsmith: welcome to Pooky ponders, the podcast where I explore big questions with brilliant people. I’m Pooky Knightsmith. And I’m your host today’s question is how can you be a good friend to someone who is suicidal? And I’m in conversation with Joe Haman, who is the managing director at the Holocaust education trust.

But for the context of this conversation, Joe is here as my friend.

Joe Hayman: My name is Joe Heyman, and I’ve worked in charity and new sets, a whole Korea, and you and I met  at the PSHE association 

Pooky Knightsmith: and we’re talking today because you’re my friend. And the question is around how to be a good friend to someone who is suicidal. And, um, I am actually like quite. Yeah. Feeling all the feelings about this conversation.

I think you wanted to start off by talking about yourself, not being an expert and kind of putting this into a bit of context in you. 

Joe Hayman: Uh, I did. Yeah, it just closed. Um, I think, I think it’s simple. Like I was glad when you asked to have the conversation and I think it’s a challenging, important thing to be able to talk about.

Uh, but when talking about it, I just, I want to say three things first is I’m not an expert. Um, and certainly as we, as we talk we’ll I think it’ll come out the obvious, just a lot of the time making it up as I was going along. And, um, I think that’s all right, but I think it’s important to be open about that.

I think. Being opened is really impulsive. And that’s the second thing I want to, I just want to be as honest as I can be including about, um, making mistakes and not knowing the right thing to do. Um, and my own fallibilities and yeah, like all the mistakes I would have made along the way. Um, and then the fifth thing is I’m very happy to talk about things that I’ve done and hopefully that might be useful in some way, uh, for someone, but, uh, it’s the person who’s feeling suicidal.

Who’s doing the hard work just to survive each day, um, and being good friends, important thing, um, for the hardware explained to him by the person who’s just struggling to make it through the day. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Why do you think I asked you to, uh, talk to me about this rather than, you know, there’s loads of people in my network who would be a, you know, an expert if you like in this, but I asked you, 

Joe Hayman: uh, well maybe.

Because you’re looking for something slightly different and you’ve got lots of people. Who’ve got kind of clinical expertise and, um, and you’ve got loads of clinical expertise yourself as well. Um, uh, I guess there’s a role for the other people in people’s lives as well. Not who are not the professionals who are not people who are actually going to go through the very sort of challenging and important clinical work that needs to be done, um, but can help and support the person who’s going through that process.

Maybe be the people who help get the peep, get the person who’s struggling to the door of the therapist’s office or the, you know, the support services or whatever it might be, um, and support them on the journey, support them when they’re wobbling. Um, I think that’s a really, really important role, even if it’s not like the critical role, which is the person who’s got years and years and years of experience, which I would never claim to have, or be able to replicate or anything like that.

So, um, unless I suspect as well that there’s a bit of, um, the, the PR like the professional and the kind of loving and supportive has to go hand in hand for that, to be a way through, for someone who is, um, you know, at, at that stage at the stage where they’re considering taking their own life, thinking about thinking very much, um, I kind of feel like the, the clinical support is how you survive, but it’s not why you survive.

Um, and I suspect, you know, others can say best to me because I haven’t been in that situation. But part of the reason why he survived is love. Not because of a clinical process that you work through, you, big clinical processes when you work through in order to survive in order to love and be loved and all of the things that make life worth living.

But you can probably answer that question better than, well, why did I 

Pooky Knightsmith: ask you? I, there’s lots of different reasons. Um, one, I think is, uh, uh, kind of a personal one that this is obviously, you know, it, it will be a difficult conversation. Um, and there’s a lot that’s gone on and I don’t understand it from anyone’s point of view except for mine.

And even that’s quite muddled because I spent a lot of that time quite associated. And so there’s a kind of an, I’m interested to talk to you specifically about it because you were there in a way that I wasn’t. Um, but in terms of why I want my network to hear from you is because I think actually. What you’ve identified in terms of, you know, perhaps not knowing what always to do and sometimes getting it wrong and kind of muddling through that’s exactly what I’d hate to empower some other people to do.

So I think people are really afraid of stepping up and being friends when someone’s suicidal. And I think it’s okay to not know all the answers before you give it a try, I guess. And that’s what I think. Yeah. I think it’s important that people hear that. 

Joe Hayman: Yeah. I guess, I guess you probably, from my point of view, anyway, you probably want to encourage people not to back away and to kind of go forward.

Um, but also you probably won’t, you probably then want to advise them to get similar advice on how to do it. The right way. Um, so far as  as possible. And, you know, I’m not sure that there are any necessarily sort of any, always any right or wrong answers, but there’s probably some things you probably shouldn’t do, uh, with people who are, who are suicidal.

Um, uh, but I think like, I guess the attraction to me of doing something like this is to encourage people, at least just not tobacco away and not species scares. Um, and also that there are ways in which you can get help and support. So be the person who’s given them some support 

Pooky Knightsmith: as well. Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s a really important thing to look at the, I think starting though with that kind of, I always.

Teach that if someone is distressed and generally I’m thinking about children and young people, but you know, where we see distress that, um, the, the kind of the bravest and most important thing to do is to run towards it. And that’s exactly what you’re describing, but it’s something that when it comes to suicide, people feel really uncomfortable doing.

And the reason that you stood out as a friend is because you didn’t run away. And rather you did run towards that distress, even though actually the point at which that started, we weren’t close friends. Like we became close friends through that process, but we won. And I wonder why, you know, and it’s, it’s something we’ve explored before, but why was it that you, you helped?

Why did you step forward? I had hundreds of people in my life and very few of them did offer help actually in a meaningful way at that time. But you did. 

Joe Hayman: Uh, you haven’t, he goes straight in with like the big questions. How many days? Yeah.

There’s no warming me off or anything straight in the MRI. Uh, like, um, I don’t know. Well, I mean, I, I care about people. I care about you and I mean, you’re right that, um, we didn’t know each other particularly well, um, at the stage where it became clear that you were in a lot of pain and things were very difficult.

Um, but like, it was, it was horrible to see you in that level of distress. Um, and I think I felt like I could be useful. Um, and I’m not sure that when we were kind of having the. Initial conversations. Um, I remember like when we were in, um, how it feel and letting go and sit around, like around there, that’s hard.

Um, like I, I’m not sure, I would say not envisaged quite how long and challenging a process it would have been, but I don’t know. I saw you in distress and even in sort of initial conversations that you had about that, it seems to be that, uh, talking to me was useful in some way. Um, and you know, you want to be, you want to be useful.

Um, I really care about you and like, I know situation, you, you know, you’ve got a family. Um, and, um, I could only imagine how distressing. That whole situation must’ve been, I think that must have been re like put a huge strain, obviously put a huge strain on nuclear is a huge strain on the family. Um, and kind of feel like if I can play some small part, um, then I think that will be useful thing to do, I guess.

So I’d like to be useful. I’d like to feel like I’m doing something positive. Um, and like there’s, there’s no entirely unselfish date is there. Um, and like, I, uh, I’m sure I would have felt worse if I wasn’t doing anything. And if I was aware that you were in distress, that someone was in distress and I could have helped.

And I didn’t, um, and also think on a very, yeah, like on a very personal level, um, there’s times in the past where I haven’t been able to, to help and seeing people I really care about, um, Suffer and not being able, not being able to do something. And that’s something I’ve carried with me for a long time.

So when they see someone who fit, who is, um, what’s the word I’m looking for? Who’s like willing to let me in willing to take some support. Um, and for whom I can be useful, but I’m like, all right, I’ll do my best. Yeah. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Well, you just mentioned about Whelan, which I guess was a bit of a turning point in terms of my descend into Oh, wow.

That was a, yeah. What’s your memory of well, and so when I’m was a work trip, wasn’t it? Um, 

Joe Hayman: yeah, it was sort of having an old, old team sort of a way away night. So we w I think we went out after work, had the night at dinner together and. Uh, and then we were doing strategy whatever the next day. Um, and I don’t know.

Yeah. I don’t know exactly where I would lay. I didn’t, I don’t keep a diary. Like I don’t know exactly where that fits into everything else that was happening. But I think that was one of the initial signs where I felt that I got the sense that you were in extreme distress. Um, and we sat on the bench by the station for quite some time.

And, uh, if you don’t mind me sort of mentioning this, if, if you do, then we can cut it out later. So that’s fine. Um, but I think we were all having dinners together that night. And the idea of having dinner together was something that was distressing. Um, but. But, I mean, I already knew that you struggled, um, around food, but this, it was clear that it was more, it was more than that.

Um, and 

Pooky Knightsmith: this was before the kind of the world had really picked up on that. I was struggling with my eating disorder again, I think it was hidden from me. And I dunno. Yeah, 

Joe Hayman: well, well, it, it might have been hidden from you, but it wasn’t hidden from me that you did not want to have dinner with forcing people that night.

Um, and, and I, and I, and I get that, but that, I mean, it was more than that. And do you, uh, obviously very distressed and I think you, you talked earlier on about being, uh, having limited memory of that time because the dissociation and everything else, and that was one of the times where. I wasn’t sure I was always talking to you or I felt again, have you done on me saying custody if we can, but sometimes I was talking to the attainments as the person talking to you and yeah, I was, I was worried, um, and there was a, kind of, there was a professional job that had to be done.

And you remember that we, you know, we did a lot of stuff about risk assessment and all of that, that kind of thing. It was like, did the HR staff, um, but just like human to human, I was, I was really worried about you. Um, and I think in hindsight I was right to be worried.

Pooky Knightsmith: Yeah. My memory was, and this is one of those where it’s like, is this an actual memory?

Or I’ve lost it in my head. It was like something from a film. And that was some kind of Epic storm. And we sat in the rain and talked. But I think now if that was just my imagination, 

Joe Hayman: Oh, there was a, there was a store. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Um, but I don’t think that we sat in the rain and so it was, or at least I, I don’t remember that.

Um, what I remember is that we traveled up and you didn’t want to go to this place that we were, um, we were all sort of staying together. You’re worried about having tenants together dinner with the group. Um, and this week you opened up a bit more about. What was kind of what was going on with you. Um, and then that evening, while some of our colleagues, uh, sort of enjoyed the social element of that.

Um, and I think a couple of them did run out into the storm and enjoyed that. Um, you were quite have a separate from the group. Um, you didn’t want to have dinner with people, you were there. Um, but you weren’t there as well. You were present at all. Like you were physically there, but not present for that.

Um, and it wasn’t just me support you. Like other colleagues were really good, uh, around that time as well. But certainly that was the time where I thought, okay, um, she’s got a lot going on that she’s working through. 

Pooky Knightsmith: I think this, we, uh, had, um, uh, our colleague, Nick, who is a trained Samaritan, and I remember you encouraged me to.

I talked to him. He didn’t do as well. 

Joe Hayman: Yeah, I did. And I mean, partially, uh, and maybe we’ll talk more about that tomorrow, but partially that’s because, you know, he’s an incredible person and amazing. And I would trust him with anything. Um, you know, he’s, he’s one of the good guys. Um, but partially there were 13 other people there and I was chief executive and I like had other responsibilities to manage as well.

Um, and I think that maybe that’s one of the things that would come on. So like, I think it was talking about friendship rather than work, but I think this sort of managing someone who’s in sort of desperate position while also fulfilling all of one’s other responsibilities is a, is a challenge to be sure.

But yeah, and like everyone, everyone wanted to be supportive and everyone could see that you were in. Uh, say that you’re in distress. Um, but I think you were more receptive to some people than others and that’s no disrespect to anyone else. It’s just, um, like I guess he felt most comfortable talking to her in that moment.

And that’s 

Pooky Knightsmith: still true now. I think isn’t it. I, yeah, I don’t be open up to lots of people. Um, and we’ve talked about this. I was talking to you before about how I I’ve now opened up to my friend Arthur and, um, yeah, I’m quite open and honest about my kind of day to day struggles in terms of how I’m feeling and what’s going on with my mental health.

But there’s not many people that I talk to about the kind of stuff that underpins it in the past. And those things are quite hard. Um, yeah. So, how did you like how, you know, three there’s, one of things I I’m kind of interested about, I guess, is, is thinking about it from your point of view and how did you look after you and how did it kind of feel for you and that sort of thing, I guess?

Joe Hayman: Um, well, I mean, we talked about this before. Um, so like after, after the, you suggested this idea that I’ve been in touch about 10 times saying, I don’t want to say this, or I want to say that, or this is what we’re thinking about. Um, yeah. It’s like, it’s, it’s really, really hot. Um, and this is one of the bits that I don’t think I, I got right.

Was, um, sort of managing, managing myself and like kind of the thing I’m, I’m someone who. I saw a pickup, a challenge. And, um, and then just sort of charge along with it without necessarily always thinking about what I’m doing the best way or whatever. I just, I was just like at down sort of slightly blankets tunnel vision.

Um, and I mean, I think I th I think if it’s all right to be blunt in my head, it was like, okay, we’ve got someone who’s, his life is at risk here. Uh, and therefore, um, if I can play a useful role in that, like I’m going to, I’m going to do that and kind of whatever it, whatever it takes, 

Pooky Knightsmith: um, though he didn’t need, I mean, just to, from a practical point of view.

So in trying to think about this, like you were just there, like physically present either in person or on the phone, like whenever I asked you to be there, you somehow made that happen and you were running. Yeah. 

Joe Hayman: Yeah. Um, I mean, I think I might have kind of that con actually have been true, right. Because I’ve got lots going on in, in my life.

And, uh, I’m glad that you felt like that. Um, but don’t like that. And I call it, I can’t remember. I can’t remember a time where I was like, I can’t speak to you because I’m constantly busy, but you know, it would have been stuff going on in my life working professional, personal whatever else. Um, so, uh, you know, I’m glad that I can go the crates, the bat, that feeling.

And I think that events, I think just taking a step back, I think like having the trust and the belief that someone. Is not going to work. It’s not walking away from you is kind of there in spirit all the time. I think probably makes you more, uh, sympathetic if there had been times, which there must’ve been when I wasn’t there.

Um, uh, but no, I mean, like, I think just before going on the practicalities of that, sorry, I got a fly buzzing around me. Um, like I think so people, when they hear about anything about mental health or they hear about someone who’s had a bereavement or going through a painful time, they feel uncomfortable.

Yeah. And I, I’m a huge believer in people. Like I like people, I think people are generally good, but they can get scared. Yeah. And I think, I think grief scares people. I think. Pain scares people. Um, I think mental health, anything to do with mental health scares people, and they don’t want to say the wrong thing and maybe like it touches on something that’s going on with them.

And so people can kind of go can either sort of retreat you, or just not come forward in the way that they, they could. Um, and I’m sure that sometimes they regress it as well when they died, but then they don’t know what to do. And, um, maybe think that they might make it worse if they came forward. But I mean, I think there are also many amongst us who will not do that and will come forward.

And I think that is an amazing thing that I’ve seen for a lot of people who’ve had distressing things happen in their life is that sometimes. The people who they thought inexpensive would be, they’re always there on what was there in like the same, that same level, but other people to step forward. Um, and therefore they formed new and rich and important relationships as a result of that.

Um, and I think probably the biggest thing that I’ve done in supporting you is not an individual occasion, but creating that, feeling that alright, whatever you’re going to say, I’m not backing away from you. Um, I’m not scared. I’m not judging. Um, and therefore, yeah, like they must, there must’ve been times that I wasn’t available.

Like this thing went on. I don’t even know how long it went on for months and months. Like, I dunno like a long time. Um, and. Yeah, and I think, but I think you, I help build a sense of confidence in you that I wasn’t going to judge you. I wasn’t going to back away from you. I wasn’t, uh, like put off by what you were saying, and let’s be honest, like this thug stuff, when you’re talking about when you’re talking about suicide.

But I think that, I think some people are more capable, more comfortable than others in those circumstances. And like, and that’s fine, but I think you felt comfortable. So, so now you remember the, I was always there, but if we think that that can’t be true, but I think that the mistake, the mistake that I made was like, okay, so there’s, someone’s whose life is at risk.

She’s got a husband, she’s got kids, um, Like she’s got a family, she’s got a huge amounts of contribution and it is, and it is a life. And I do think like life is the most precious thing in the, in the world. Um, and, uh, so, so like, then I’m just in full on like, okay, whatever it takes, whatever I can do kind of thing.

But, um, that doesn’t, that doesn’t mean you should negate your own wellbeing. Um, and I think, I think that is something, probably the ideas. If I’m honest with myself and we’ve talked about this, I think, um, there’s been some, like getting over it just from my point of view, just kind of like healing from that.

Cause it was like, that was really hard. And as I said that the star it’s the person who’s going through. You know, thinking about ending their own life. They’re the one who’s really, really struggling, but it’s not easy to be on the end of the, on the end of the phone. I I’ve. Um, and I think just thinking about to, um, to that, that kind of first time in it enlisting Nick, like one of the things I did much, one of the things, which would it be smart for me to do would have been to try to enlist other people.

And I think there were times where that is a sense that there’s a very, very small number of people to whom you felt you could solve them. And that was an extraordinary amount of pressure on those people. And actually that’s based on the kind of fallacy, because as you’re seeing now, everyone to whom you talk about.

What’s happened in the circumstances that you’re in, like the networks that you’ve got every, like every time you tag me in and on and on it’s way about anything, you get all of these amazing messages of love coming through from all of these people, some of whom, you know, some of whom you’ve never met.

Right? Yeah. Um, and it’s, it’s great. Uh, how many, how many fellows have you gotten switched to now? 30,000, maybe. That’s right. So, so there’s a lot of good people out there. There’s a lot of people who want to hear what you have to say, who like, appreciate your, your way, which is about talking about really challenging issues and talking about the clinical side and like the professional side.

But I don’t think you shy away from talking about your own experience either. I don’t know, 

Pooky Knightsmith: but that is down to you again.

Joe Hayman: Well, well, like it’s, it’s, it’s down to you, right? I, I can, I can advise and support and encourage and good Joel and all the rest of them. Like, you’re the one that, Hey, you’ve had the experience I haven’t, um, and be like, it’s very easy to sit here and say, Oh, Pookie, you should do this or that, or whatever.

Like if you’re putting something out to 30,000 people, that’s nerve wracking. If you’re writing a book, that’s nerve wracking. If you think of video or podcasts or whatever, like it’s not a record. Um, and so like, I can help and encourage, but I think you should take, you should take pride in what you’ve.

What you’ve done. I think that like, sorry.

Pooky Knightsmith: No, I was just going to say, I mean, I’m just, I guess, in terms of context, because a lot of people who would be listening to this or watching this would only know the me that I present now, but of course, if we go back a few years to when we first got to know each other and when this all kind of happened at that point in my life, although I’d done a PhD in mental health and worked in the field, I never really talked about my living experience and I wasn’t even acknowledging it in myself.

So the point at which you first picked up that things were really desperate. I mean, I remember vividly around that time, um, going and delivering a talk to a room of 300 psychiatrists about the latest interventions in eating disorders and. They were interested in what I had to say. And they asked me to stay for lunch and I couldn’t do that.

I just couldn’t be around people eating. And that was because the anorexia was taking grip again. And I was, it sounds so stupid now because it must’ve been so obvious if only I’d have looked, but I was in complete denial about all of it, and I never talked about any of it to anyone. Um, so mental health was this thing I cared about.

It was a part of my past, but I, I didn’t talk about my experiencing, you challenged me about that. Um, and that’s it. I think we have different memories of this time, but in my, in my narrative, it was a challenge from you, which was, you know, you, you have the potential to be a role model here and you can change the conversation.

Joe Hayman: Yeah. Yeah. W I think, I think I did. I think I did say that to you. Um, and I said, that’s you, um, Both from a kind of like a moral point of view, but also quite cynical point of view as well. Like, just like on the cynical thing. Um, I think, and you have since demonstrated that there is a big sort of space gap in the market.

How do you want to say at, for people who are able to address issues in relation to mental health, but do it in a relatable way? Like not a dry clinical kind of way, but in the, in the human way. And I think, um, people like people are receptive to that. Um, And that’s obviously working for you. And I know that you now get asked to go around the country.

Um, I think you were saying that you, you also do stuff, uh, abroad as well. Like people are interested in what you have to say. Um, so like cynically from like a commercial point of view. Um, you know, I think I was right about that. I think from a moral point of view, it wasn’t just that I was encouraging you to live more authentically.

I thought I thought that you were doing the wrong thing. Actually, I, I, I did it. And I think I’ve said that to you before. Um, I thought that you were, you were not following your own advice and if you, if one doesn’t follow one’s own advice, then I don’t think, I think if one is giving you one should at least say agile.

And just to say, I find this particular piece of advice, very hard to. Very hard to follow, um, myself. And I think, uh, I didn’t think that that was, I didn’t think that that was right. Um, and I didn’t think it was right for you, but also I was conscious even then that you have a following and amongst that following will be people who are grappling with exactly the issues you’re grappling with.

And like one of the challenges I think I sort of pose to you is like, there might be a young woman who’s 15 or 16 who is following you, reading yourself, watching a book, or watching your film videos on YouTube or whatever. And seeing someone who’s like this perfect person that is like, uh, it just do it, like just giving all of this advice.

Like it’s the easiest thing in the world to do it. I know that you never, you never did that. I’m just like characterizing for a fact. Um, actually I think there’s far greater power, um, and far greater ability to help and support if people know the truth. The truth is that you grappling with there. And it’s really weird that you would wait.

It’s weird for me to hear you saying that you weren’t open with it because it seemed to me quite obvious from when I met you, that there was a reason that you were interested in these issues and it came from a personal place. I couldn’t go deeper into that at that stage, but that, that was kind of, that was fairly obvious to me, but like, I hope, I hope you don’t mind me saying that.

I think I’ve said that to you before. I, I didn’t think it was the right thing to, to be doing, but like I entirely understand, um, But, you know, I assigned before. It’s easy for me just to sit there and say, you shouldn’t do this. It’s very difficult. It’s very difficult to tell one person, let alone to tell hundreds, to sell thousands, like to tell them, to tell the world, you know, you have got a big platform.

Um, and that’s really difficult. So I admire you for having taken that step and being more open. And I think, I think that that is working for you. And I think if I’d been smart, um, I probably would have encouraged you to. Talk a bit more share, share with a few more people earlier on. Yeah, because I ended up with a lot on my shoulders.

Um, and that was really, really hard. And I think what this whole episode is as proven, you know, we’re talking back to the events that happened five years ago now. Um, well this event, it was proven both in the, with the people who you’ve talked to like in these hell. Um, and I had hearts to heart with her, wherever else.

And in your wider following people have been amazing, amazing, and receptive, and it’s not everyone, but there were loads and those are good people out there. Um, like I say, I’m a huge believer in people. Um, and every time you put something out, you get loads and loads of love back, I think. Um, so that’s, that’s definitely something that I should have done and I definitely have kind of.

Presumed in a, probably slightly sort of arrogant way that, um, I was the only one who would be able to, to help cause, cause I’m not, 

Pooky Knightsmith: I think just, yeah. So just on that thing about becoming more, um, uh, honest, just, I think it’s important to touch on it and then we’ll move back a step. But, um, it was hard because of course at the time that we met, then I had.

I was only just moving into actually working in mental health and making that my career. So, you know, you stooped me up when I’ve been working in social media and I came and I was working with you and I was finding my own way and very much a big question Mark about, could I make this thing? That was my passion and have been the focus of my studies.

Could I turn it into my, uh, livelihood? And I was having good, you know, there was, there was kind of good early signs, but of course it was even just a few years ago, there was a lot less interest and there weren’t role models. In the, you know, there wasn’t, there wasn’t someone, I don’t think at the time there was someone that you could point to who was doing what we may, you know, now maybe I’m I’m doing now, if that makes sense.

And I was terrified that because I was a mess, I was a real mess. And, and, and I was terrified that, you know, I literally wrote the books on self harm and eating disorders. And yet here I am like, Bleeding and starving. And what kind of, uh, you know, how would that harm my credibility? And I remember really grappling with that and really feeling deeply ashamed of where I was and feeling I should be able to manage this and therefore feeling I should hide, um, um, to pretend to be a it’s out now that will seem, yeah, there’s a lot to unpack there, but anyway, that was, that was the reluctance, I guess.

I, I felt I should be able to manage. 

Joe Hayman: Yeah. I like when I get that and I suspect the sorts of people, whether they’re in the field of mental health or not, whether they’re a parent or like working or whatever, they, they feel like they should be able to manage and they want to be able to manage them that they want to maintain a veneer for the, for the world, because that’s what the world’s generally kind of looking for.

Like. Uh, and it’s is so to lower your guard. Um, and I think particularly in the field that you’re in, but I did feel strongly about that. Um, and you know, we, we talked a lot over the years about, um, sort of, you know, the, like that West wing story. So, um, how’s it go? There’s a guy, there’s a guy in a hole and people sort of throw down notes to him and, um, like throw a bit food dancing or whatever else.

They’re still stuck in the hole. And then, and his friend jumps in and says, and the guy says, now there’s 10 of us in the hole. And that the other guy says, well, I’ve been down here before I know the way out. And I think the reason that I think that’s important is that like you. You can’t, I don’t feel you can authentically meet people who are struggling.

Well, not being honest about your own struggles, like that doesn’t feel authentic. Right. True. Um, and I think, I think the challenge that you’ve sort of got to was that you, you were a role model, you are a role model. Um, but you’re also grappling with the stuff at the, at the same, at the same time. Um, and that’s a really, really difficult place to be.

But I do think there is huge power in being able to say I’ve been there, or I am still with the app, or I’m a little further down the road than you are. Um, and let’s, let’s walk down together. And I think that there is, I don’t know, there’s a lot about richness in relationships, I think. And I just, I can’t help thinking that your relationships with people will be richer, will have been rich, richer over the last five years as a result of having talked more openly about your experience than being, and again, I’m just characterizing for offense, but like Ms.

Perfect, you know, written all these books, you know, incredibly successful or the rest of it, but like visit them. That’s 

Pooky Knightsmith: so different than my own. 

Joe Hayman: No, no, like I, I’m not saying you’re perfect. What I’m saying is

I’m saying you. Presented as, um, and that presentation creates a gap between you and whoever you’re presenting to. And the very opposite presenting is different from an authentic relationship. And I think is really incredibly difficult for you, but like, um, whether or whether or not you liked it or whether or not you’ve, you feel like you’re a role model or felt like you’re a role model five years ago, you know, in the office, we had a young women who are, you know, eight or nine years younger than you, uh, who would have looked to you, whether you like it or not.

Um, and that’s something that I liked that I had to think about and think about how to manage. You got a following, you know, you got family, like all kinds of people will. We’ll look to you, whether you, whether you like it or not. And I think, um, I think one of the great sort of acts of courage that you shown is to drop out from there, to be honest, to be honest about the struggle that you have, that you’ve had and still, you know, the issues you’re still dealing with to ha to do this, um, and to be able to put that out into the world, and that will give huge confidence and like a feeling to people who, who are out there and feeling like they’re on their own and who who’s having these experiences and don’t see them reflected anywhere else.

They’ll see someone who is, who has been through those feelings, who is feeling those things that they’re feeling who knows what it’s like, who’s been in the hole. And I would argue that your 10 sons, the role model that you were five years ago as a result. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Thank you. I find that hard I’ve, you know, imposter syndrome, but did you, did you, were you always confident it was gonna work out?

Okay. No.

Joe Hayman: No, I wasn’t. Cause I think, cause you weren’t always there. Like, I, I don’t know, like for the, like for the audience, I don’t know how people, how familiar people are with dissociation. It’s not something I’m particularly familiar with, uh, or was particularly familiar with, but there are times where I was talking to you and I was like, I don’t know who I’m talking to you, but it’s not, it’s not you.

Or at least not the view that I’ve got to know over the last six months or a year or whatever, you know? Um, And I think the really interesting philosophical question of like, who all, like, who are we? Cause it was, it was you talking, these words were coming out of your mouth, that the feelings that you were expressing were, um, like where it came from within you.

Like they didn’t, I didn’t feed them to you. Like they came from within you, but it was like talking to, I don’t know, like almost like you’ve been occupied by say, you see, this is why I say I’m going to get, I’m going to get things from there. It’s like, it was like talking to your demons. Um, and there were times where it’s almost like, like shouting Pooky.

If you’re in there, you know, say something that suggests to me that you are still. But like, like some of the times when I’ve talked to you, I’ve talked to you and like it’s a hundred percent do some of the times though, it’s up to you, it’s 95% year and 5% demons just occasionally sort of come through.

That sounds when I’m talking to you. And that was like 95% theme. How did you manage that

with difficulty? Um, but like, I think, just keep trying to talk to you if that makes sense. Um, cause I think you, the very fact that you pick up, you’ve picked up the foot suggest that they’re like the, you, the bit of you that wants to survive, that wants to be a parent that wants to be this true role model.

The wants to be a wife, be a mum, you know, be a family member, be a friend. All of that kind of stuff is still in because. Because you knew what you were going to get with me every time you pick up the phone, right? Yeah. I’m not going to be like, Oh yeah, it doesn’t matter. Uh, you know, you do what you want to do.

Like you didn’t, you knew what my agenda was. My agenda was your, a parent and a wife and the family member and the friends and, and you’ve got huge amounts of contributes to the world. And life is incredibly precious and it is a gift. Um, and when you pick up the phone to me, I’m going to be doing everything I can to, to say, to get a lot or to play my part in saving a life.

So that 5%, if he is still in there, um, And even the 5% I think is really powerful. And like, there were things, there were always things that I knew, like to talk to. And again, this is where I don’t know whether I was doing the right thing or not, but you know, you seem to have found it useful. So, yeah, but you’re alive, you’re alive because ultimately you’re alive because you chose to live and everyone that loads of people helped for you.

You made that choice. Right. And so, uh, I’m glad to play my part, but you said you saved your own life. You did. Um, uh, so I forgot what the question was now. Um, well, so I was trying, I was trying to talk to you like the, you, rather than the demons and like, yeah. So there were, there, there were things that I did to try to speak to you, which I’m not sure would find their way into a mental health textbook.

And I think the thing that I would think I would encourage anyone who’s listening or watching this is like, if I’m trying to encourage you not to back off from people who aren’t doing well. Um, but I’m not trying to say that the way that I did it was the right way. Um, but I think I just tried to talk to you like the 5% of year, which was the, like the true you and I talked to you about your family.

Um, and I talked to you about being a role model and I think like, I think I was right. Like, and I think it has been born out in the five-year sentence that you have been able to carve this role for yourself. And this is, this is what we talked about. Like two o’clock in the morning, like in 2015 or whenever it was, it’s like, you cut, you can get through tonight, you can get help and support.

You can survive. You can rebuild, you can become this person who is a successful parent, a successful family members, successful friends successful is not a good word, but yeah, a good parent family, um, person, but also that you can be a role model. And that one day young people and young women in particular, I would imagine will come to you and be.

Where you were, and you will be an inspiration to them and the support and it will help them on their journey. Um, and I think on some level of that appeal to you like that vision of a life where it wasn’t every day, wasn’t so gut wrenching, um, and having a good and happy life and caring about the people around you and making a difference in the world.

And I just tried to keep, just keep hanging on that. And also when the Dean was talking, we’re talking, telling them that talking rubbish and light and challenging every single untruth that, yeah, there are a lot of them, but like, I mean, I think. That that’s, that’s one of the, that’s one of the real challenges when one’s mental health isn’t right.

Is that to some degree, the mind starts to turn in on itself, and there are all kinds of, um, like false herds that are really, really pernicious damaging. Um, uh, like, uh, and once an idea is planted it, you know, it works its way around and gets deeply, deeply embedded in. But I think part of my job was to, was to try to challenge some of those.

Um, and then, and then to try to, to get you to a point where you were getting the professional help you, you need, so again, I don’t want to give the impression that. I think that I am a therapist or mental health expert or anything like that. So I don’t, I’m not, um, sometimes it is about just keeping your company, but sometimes it’s about just kind of, uh, paving you appeasing to you to just keep going with, uh, with the process.

Um, and that’s what, you know, that’s what, that’s what you did, but no, like, I, I was mentally prepared for you not surviving as mentally prepared as one camping. 

Pooky Knightsmith: And I mean, surely isn’t there part of you then that just wanted to walk away. I mean, this was a friendship that you put so much, like you invested a lot of your, well, everything into that and you weren’t getting a lot back.

I mean, why would you carry on with that? 

Joe Hayman: Cause it’s a life, isn’t it like.

Yeah. So like life is so precious and once it’s gone, it’s gone. You know, I, I mean, you know that, um, my best friend died a couple of years ago and he would have given anything to live, anything like, uh, he give him all the money in the world. Like, like there’s nothing he would have wanted, but to live. Um, he’s got like, he had two kids as well, like, um, and the idea of them not having a father around, you know, this is heartbreaking, heartbreaking to see that.

Um, and we, you know, we’ve all known people who’ve who’ve died and who like died before that time. And like, it’s yeah, like I say, it’s a life and I just like. I to you before. I love people. I think people are so special and so precious. Um, and, uh, I, I mean, I think, but it’s not just your life, you know, the, the impact of you losing your life would have been, um, very, very damaging for a large number of people, particularly people who are kind of closest to you.

Um, and I also believe that you could come through it. And the fact that you kept picking up the phone on some levels showed me that there was a bit of you that, that wanted to come through. Um, and that it may be sometimes it was 95% demons, but it was, it was never a hundred percent, um, uh, and to not want to look like yeah, cause sometimes cause, cause it was really hard and like you weren’t easy.

Um, And is a fairly sort of thankless task. And I remember it being a lot of that being during a particularly challenging time in my own life. Um, not anything like on the same scale, like, um, and that’s, you know, that’s hard, but I go back to it’s a life and you’re precious and special person. And here we are five years later, look at everything that you’ve done.

Um, and I think, you know, definitely worth it and definitely the right thing to do. And, and I think you’re just getting started. Um, and I think it can have a multiplier effect as well. And I think this is, this is what I ask of you, right? If like, if you feel I’ve given anything to you, well, I ask you if he is like user.

Now, like you’ve got this amazing platform to help and support and change people’s lives and break cycles, um, and to jump in the hole with people and work with them. And I don’t mean like, obviously I don’t mean literally, but I don’t mean that. I mean, it may not be that you get you’re in a position where you’re supporting people one-to-one as well.

I mean, like that might not be the path you go down, but three of the acts of telling your story, um, you know, there’s lots of people who are in a similar boat or in a position like you were in five years or 10 years old, you know, however long ago. Um, and I think that’s, that’s an incredible opportunity that you’ve gone and I feel really proud to have played a small part in, in helping lap.

Um, but. It’s not for me to tell you how to live your life. Um, and like emote, it might be that at some stage you decided I don’t want to do anything in relation to mental health and whatever else. That’s fine. But the other day you said to me that you were, I think you said something like that, you were feeling guilty like that, like, Oh, all the stuff I kind of, I, that you’d asked to me or whatever else.

And the one thing I don’t want you to do is to waste your time, feeling guilty or spend time sort of turned inwards. Like, 

Pooky Knightsmith: so I put you through hell like that. That’s the thing I, when I, I guess I never, I never really necessarily stop and think about it. Very much because it was a really hard time. And I was really, you know, really, it was really difficult in lots of ways.

And there was, you know, feeling suicidal. There was a lot of self harm. Anorexia was very challenging at various points of association, even just that was, was difficult. I remember when I was working at the PSHE association, I had to have the address programmed into my phone because sometimes I would suffer with dissociation and doing that same walk that I did every single day.

I would become completely lost in an entirely familiar place because my brain was so, you know, and, and you were there all the time and you were there and not only were you just there and helping to keep them safe, but you like ran towards that distressing like a really, really big way. Like for me, I kind of particular memories is of crying and crying and crying and the British library with you.

When I finally, I think. I’ve been to see Matt, my therapist, I nine had kind of, I finally, I don’t know, something had shifted and I began to really talk about and connect with some feelings about some old trauma. And instead of just trying to comfort me or make me feel better, you actually did what I really needed at that time, which was to make a really safe space for me to explore it further and let it hurt more.

And I don’t know, but I can’t, I mean, you know, we were sat in a busy place and, but you did that kind of thing about you sat with me when I would eat when I hadn’t eaten for a long time. And that was really hard. And you would, you know, I can’t look at ’em at flurry without thinking of you and cry and you know, it wasn’t fun times, was it?

Joe Hayman: No, but like there’s, I mean, the thing is it’s fun times now and I’m going to think that that’s the, that’s the point, right? That you’re you own a particular particularly dark point. But five years on, you know, you’re doing really well, like the family’s doing well, your showing more and more leadership to more and more people.

Um, and no, I mean, like it’s an investment. I was like, it was, it was horrible. Like it was, it was horrible. It was horrible for you. Um, it was still horrible for me though. I obviously, I like a hundred times less, but I, I didn’t like it, um, is exhausting. Like I say, it’s kind of thankless task. Um, you like spend, I spend a lot of time on the phone and then the next day I felt like we got somewhere as a side step forward, 18 steps back and like, um, but.

Like, it’s, it it’s worth it. Right. It’s worth it for your family, your friends, all of that, all of that kind of stuff, but also be a role model to make a difference in the world. Um, and I think like there’s been, there’s been a bit of kind of recovery from, for me, um, and kind of get myself back to being in a position where, you know, maybe I’ll be able to support someone else, uh, in a similar way.

Not again, like not in a clinical way and that’s not for me to do. And also, I wouldn’t want to support anyone again, where I was sort of thinking, well, I’m one of only one or two people ever can do it, but I don’t think that’s healthy or the right way to go. But the play my part, um, You know, I, I, I think I needed a little break afterwards.

Um, and you know, we talked about it and I think we’ve probably had a bit of a break from one another. Um, and obviously that doesn’t mean I’m not on the end of the phone or, you know, don’t care about your whatever else, but, you know, it’s just a difficult kind of experiments. Um, but I just think it’s so, so precious and, and there’s so much good to be, to be done with that.

And, you know, and, uh, I think Amanda, you know, my friends who passed away, um, you know, what he would have given for life, think about the people who.

Who’s for him that pain’s just been too overwhelming. It been too much. Um, and, and you can’t be in a position to help. I think you were just, you adjust enough there, um, that, um, you know, that I could be part of helping you to turn that corner. Um, but like, I think you did that and, uh, like, it’s very nice the way you sort off the way you talk about us there.

But, but you did that because at the end of the day, like, I didn’t have that churn inside me. I didn’t have that pain that don’t have those demons. Like you, you had to, you had to live with that and. It was Tara. Like there were times where just beating was terrifying and ex extraordinarily excrutiatingly painful for you.

Um, and I think you should be really proud to survive that. Um, and I think like you did that, I think because of your family and because of the people you can help and support, and that was an extraordinary acts of love on your part. Um, so I think you should feel good about that. 

Pooky Knightsmith: You know, I talk about you all the time.

Like this is one of the other reasons I wanted to, um, ask you to come and talk about this because I, I think it is really important that people understand that there is a lot that they can do to help, and that there is a really important role there for, for friendship. And also, I do talk about you as a boss as well.

You were a really brilliant, um, boss, um, at that time, 

Joe Hayman: Yeah, well, thanks. I mean, like, I dunno whether I was, Oh, it was with obvious doing too, like doing too much. And I like, I get, I get nervous about you sort of talking about, well, I like talking about me the whole time, cause like, cause I genuinely don’t know what I was doing was the right thing or, or not.

Um, I mean this, this story does have a, it does have a happy ending, so that’s, that’s, that’s good. Um, I don’t know whether, if it’s the right thing or not, like, and I think the textbook would almost certainly say that you should detach the professional support from the personal support and all of that kind of stuff.

But sometimes

right. I kind of feel like if I saw someone’s house on fire and there was someone stuck in the house I’d want to go into the house and I wouldn’t really think. Too much about what the, sort of like what the guidelines were and what the sole professional boundaries are and all of that kind of stuff. I think, I think we’re human beings first, I guess, is what I would like to say.

And I want to, whatever I do so professionally in my life, I don’t want to lose my humanity. Um, and I would rather be a decent human being than be like a detached professional. Um, and that seems to solve words through my career, but I’m sure that there’s plenty of people who would say that that’s not the right way to go.

And who would watch this conversation? I think, I think he did that did that quite right. Um, but, and, and I know that I didn’t get it right. And then a lot of mistakes I made along the way, and I know that there were times where I got frustrated and irritation in life. My fittings took over, um, which was, which was wrong.

Um, but I’m proud that I didn’t back away. And I think that that’s this, that’s the single biggest thing that I’d want anyone who is listening and watching or thinking about it, just to say, it’s like, even if you can’t get the was right, even if you don’t know how to do that, just saying like, I don’t know what the right thing to do is, but I’m, I’m here and I I’m, I’m not scared of what you’re saying.

I’m not judging you for what you’re saying. I am with you. Um, I think that opens up all kinds of different, different avenues, um, for strong relationship for people to feel like they’re loved. Well, that’s, that’s, that’s not a whole of it. Like professional clinical support is crucial, but just that love that love might be a bit of a turning point to get someone to go to therapy also goes to like one of the, you know, like that sense of that.

We took you to that state Maitri, which is like an amazing place. And they do, they’ve done amazing things. And it’s like, um, I’ve supported people to go there a couple of times, and I think that’s fantastic place and they do the hard work, but just getting someone to the front door, like. I think it’s not unreasonable that friends or family members couldn’t, couldn’t help people who are really struggling just to get to the front door.

Yeah. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Yeah. So it’s a suicide risk by a center where you’re going to stay for a few days and actually getting me to the front door was tough. Wasn’t it? I think that was a point when I hadn’t left the house for weeks. Um, I was very, very scared of the whole world and already got placed, which is why I needed to go there.

But yeah, yeah, 

Joe Hayman: yeah. Um, so like, I, I wouldn’t, I think, yeah, I think maybe that’s why I’ve been worried about this. Like, I don’t want to give it a sense, um, that it’s the job of the friends. To like fix, like it’s not first, it’s the job of the person who’s struggling. And as I said to you throughout this, and always ultimately the Hawk works with you, but that hardware should take place in a professional context, the support and love around that professional context and getting people to the front of football.

I think that is something I don’t think that is beyond most people. 

Pooky Knightsmith: I think even just on a practical level though, I mean, you were always very encouraging of me, um, in terms of actually attending my therapy and leaning into it as well, because I think it’s one thing to turn up and another thing to like really show up and you encourage me with that, but you’ve also just, uh, not just you, obviously, uh, Tom, my husband helped with this too, but it was very difficult for me to work through the really hard stuff in therapy and I wasn’t safe afterwards always.

And actually I knew that. You were that, or Tom was that if I needed it afterwards and you would sometimes physically put that or you’d be on the phone or you’d help me plan. Um, so that, you know, and even just on a practical level, actually, that that’s very, very helpful. 

Joe Hayman: Yeah. And I mean, like, as I recall, you were taking some of that support in central London and like, it was pretty straightforward to come in to come and meet you and like put you on a train or, you know, sort of get you on your way home and know that those are kind of risky, risky moments for you and like vulnerable moments.

Um, I just to save, I think that a lot more hard work that, um, Tom needed to, to do, and frankly, you know, much higher stakes. For him as well. Um, and he’s, he’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I’ve always liked him a great, great deal. He’s a good man. Um, and that would have been like, that would have been really, really hard for him.

Um, cause like, cause everything was kind of bound up in that. Um, but maybe like sometimes with the friends, there’s the space to like, I don’t know, um, say, say things where it’s not quite as high stakes and not quite as important. It’s like if the person dates. Yeah. If the friend did say, Oh, well that’s a terrible thing to say.

You shouldn’t share that with anyone else. And obviously I never did that and people won’t do that, but I can understand when you’ve kept things inside for a long time, you nervous about sharing them. So having someone you can share with, I think is a, is a good thing, even if they’re not like the central, um, person in your, in your life.

Um, so I think I liked the idea of team and I think I played my part. I think, uh, I I’ve we’ve we’ve told us about Matt. I’ve never met him, but he sounds to me like a very, very good professional advice at the top of his profession. Uh, I think he got the right person there. Um, and you, like, you made a good choice to be your husband as well.

He’s a great guy and I know that you’ve got those, some other friends have found their rounds. Like everyone plays a part in that, in the team. Um, uh, and I think I unproductive. Like my part, but also it’s the team around the person and the person is the one who’s doing the really, really hard work. Um, and let’s see.

Yeah. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Yeah. Well, I think that the thing you’ve kind of mentioned a couple of times that really stuck with me and the, I still think of now, um, because it’s not like, you know, so it has a happy ending, but it’s very much, you know, it’s not where it was, but it’s still, I work hard all the time, uh, to stay well.

And, um, but the thing you taught me was choose love. And I remember you saying that, um, um, yeah, everything’s a choice all the time and choose love, um, was, is, is something that’s kept me safe on more than one occasion. Um, and I think the other thing is, you know, you have talked about being a little worried about.

People, you know, you might not have always done the right thing, but I think that what you always did and I wouldn’t, I don’t, I don’t, I think, you know, I I’m here and I’m incredibly grateful to you and I can’t remember enough of the detail to be honest, to kind of pick it apart and analyze it. But I was, you know, I am incredibly grateful to you, but the thing that you brought above all else was that you were human in every situation.

So there were many times, I know there are times where actually, you know, there were events, um, but there were many, many, many other times when I had a. Very clear plan. When I reflect on various parts of my journey, when I’m amazed that I made it through the day, because I would have put myself as such high risk if I was assessing myself now.

Um, and yet there was something, you know, a connection, a conversation, something that was said, um, that just brought me back into being with people. And not sometimes that was used. Sometimes it’s been announced, but it, you know, many times it was used. So thank you. Hmm. 

Joe Hayman: Sorry. I didn’t come up with the cheese love thing myself, as one of many of my bits of fortune cookie wisdom that I borrowed off others.

Um, other brands, um, I love that chase love store, by the way like this, they got such good, like such good stuff in there. Um, but yeah, like you, yeah, like wisdom is often sort of borrowed rather than. Stuff, you come up with that. Right? The only, the only other thing I think is worth sort of mentioning is like you said, things aren’t as they were, and it has been very painful, but we also, we always talked about that Japanese Costa Rica didn’t way, like it was, they called it consideri or something yeah.

Where the posterity breaks and then they use this lovely sort of golden glue stuff to put it back together. And that is as a result, this off the fixed version of the pasta is more beautiful than it was when it started. And it is different. And you can see the lines where it’s been broken. Um, it is, it is, it is absolutely beautiful that that cost rate.

And I think it is, uh, uh, an amazing way to, to kind of see the world like. That you can’t just push the pain away and you can’t fix everything that’s going to happen in the past. But I think what you’ve shown is that you can build a really, really good life and a rich life. And I think it’s getting richer all the time in my, this conversation.

You’re being open, like being continued. You’ll continue to be open with people if you’re telling me, um, about sort of speaking really openly, openly to someone the other day. But when the more that you do that, the more that richness and that, that sort of abusive life will come through and that you will find people who’ve had common experiences, not, not the same experience, but have had painful experiences.

And yeah, you’ll, there will be a sort of new and different types of abuse in the world, but I do think it will be. More authentic is more authentic and less like presentational. Um, and then it has been, and I think that that’s, and like it’s all worth it. Um, and I hope that you would agree with that. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Yeah.

I’m glad to be here. 

Joe Hayman: Good. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Yeah. And thank you. W what do you have any closing thoughts? This is where you say something really deep and meaningful. 

Joe Hayman: Didn’t I say anything to your community.

Pooky Knightsmith: Now you said a lot of deeper, meaningful stuff, but, you know, I’m a psychologist, primacy and recency effect. People always remember the last thing that you said. So what’s the thing you want to leave in people’s minds as we close this quite tricky conversation. 

Joe Hayman: Um, I don’t know, like. When, uh, so yesterday, before we did this, you, uh, tweets that we’ve been doing and, uh, as you always do, when you tweet, like you got loads of likes and retweets and all the rest of it, but you also got people who applied and, you know, cause you, uh, acid me in, I saw all that revise.

And, um, there were people who were saying, I wish I’d seen, I wish I’d seen the signs. Um, how do you sort of protect yourself? Like lots of

those sort of, kind of difficulty and unknown and challenge around confronting this issue? Um, and all I would say is that. You’ll like as a friend or a supporter or whatever else, you’re not a clinician, it’s not your job to, to fix it. You can’t fix it. Um, ultimately only the person can fix it with support from really, really skilled professionals.

That’s the only way to really, really sort of fix it. And as we’ve discussed before, it’s not fixing so much as kind of getting into the new normal and surviving. And my life will never be perfect. But I think with love, you can help people turn the corner and love means not backing away. And you’ll find your own way to do that.

Um, and it might be that you, you need to ask a question like I want to be here to support you. I want to love you. Tell me how I can help. And it may be that you just need to follow instructions. But if you can, if you can find that within yourself, not to back away, that very act will mean so much. I would imagine to the other person to try, let’s try it. .