Eyes are the windows to our souls. Staring blankly into space with negativity is a sign of rumination (i.e. the process of continuously thinking about the same thoughts, which tend to be negative or sad). Acknowledging someone’s rumination draws powerful bonds.
Slumped shoulders and a blank downward stare. It’s a real unfunny signal of depression. We can spot it a mile away.
When do we get involved? How can we help?
Take a whole look. When someone is ruminating, but you notice they’re rubbing their hands or forehead…they’re self-soothing. They’re in bad thoughts, but trying to figure it out. Give a good listen, but no need for alarm. It’s when someone is ruminating with no clear signals of self-soothing that my siren blares.
So, I jostle. Not scare, but just a firm interruption with acknowledgement of the negative thoughts. “Hey. You’re here with us right now. Be here. You can dwell on your shit later.” Honor their inner world, but have them honor the fact that they are not alone.
Rumination is often the eyes to heart-break. We see it after broken marriages. We see it when their child is in the hospital. We ruminate when we feel powerless over losing what we love.
Catch a drifter.