Simon started his freshman year of high school as an excited, positive and joyful young man. I remember him riding his bicycle around our neighborhood selling coupon books to raise money for the high school baseball team. He sold a lot of coupon books. He excitedly told us stories of his selling adventures -- who welcomed him and who decidedly did not. He enjoyed baseball and basketball but his special passion was pitching. He was excited to start high school sports. He was not afraid of competing whether for a spot on the team or pitching in the most pressure-filled situations. He wanted to be at Jupiter High School and loved the baseball team. Something changed between that fall and the following spring. We may never know. But the point of sharing this, watch for change in your teenager or young adult. And when you see it, try and discuss it with a mindset of understanding with no judgment or fear. Don't be afraid of what you might learn. Acknowledge the pain rather than trying to talk it away. Statements like, "you are a lucky man" or "you have a great life full of opportunities" do nothing to make a suffering person feel better. Probably worse because they may think "what's wrong with me, I have so much but feel so bad". Anyway, seek help to have conversations and build loving environments that build trust, conversations of empathy, slow conversations that develop intentionally and naturally. We all want to make the pain go away but we first have to acknowledge it. That may lead to a level of understanding that may begin to build trust. It is difficult to understand pain you may have not yourself felt. That is where trust comes in. Trust the person who is struggling that they are in fact in pain and need a lifeline. This of course applies to any level of pain. The point here is to gain understanding, build trust and ease suffering. I think that easing suffering is a starting point for healing. Stu Mittleman in his book "Slow Burn" (Stu is a champion, a leader, a competitor, and a pioneer and adventurer -- check him out) said that it is a myth to believe "No pain, no gain. You must suffer to get results." He said the reality is "Comfort is the key to sustainable growth." However you may view that thinking, I encourage you to embrace it to create peaceful environments and build trust to ease mental suffering.
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