Jan 082015

Marking Your Own Trail

No one can tell you exactly what you are doing, when you are in the midst of homelessness. People might make well-meaning or not so well-meaning suggestions, but ultimately, you must chart your own pathway back to independent living and a sense of well-being.

When you receive good suggestions you must still toss them around in your mind, sort through them, as it were, and decide on a series of steps you must take to regain things like your own place to hang your hat, a job or volunteer work, non-homeless friends, and the like.

Not that one should automatically abandon homeless friends; it is just that in order re re-integrate yourself into non-homeless society, it helps immeasurably if you have at least non-homeless friends to give aqnd receive from. The in’s and out of ordinary life can seem surmounting to one who has been living on the edge for a considerable period of time.

When it feels like someone is leading you down a path that they have chosen for you, this can strip you of the pride you might otherwise feel if you have taken the initiative yourself to chart the course and move forward. So helpers, don’t make the mistake of being over-controlling; and allow the homeless client to make his or her own mistakes along the way. Helpers: you do not have all of the answers, anyway. Sometimes the homeless person know much better than you which way he or she should go.

A light touch with anything you are trying to help is almost always the best way. However, when a person’s life itself is threatened, for example, if a homeless person is seriously suicidal, then the helper is required to take strong measures to intervene, to call suicide prevention or the police, etc.

One thing that is clear in the mental health is that in the vast majority of cases, depression IS treatable and suicide most likely can be prevented.

So, set your own course, folks who are homeless, but do listen carefully to the advice of others. Don’t reject it out-of-hand. “Take what you like and leave the rest,” as they say in 12-step meetings. Then take the reins yourself, and move forward.




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