When all is not as it seems.

Do we believe people too quickly ? Do we skim the surface ? Are we guilty of not looking deeply enough, of not paying attention? Do we see it, really, but choose to look away?

I’m thinking of my son, diagnosed with ASD and ADHD, who is a bright, sensitive child. Who suffers with awful meltdowns within the security of the family structure and his own home. Who might seem naughty, but in fact is struggling to cope with the demands of school and everyday life. Who everyone tells me does not seem like he has Autism Spectrum Disorder. He seems fine, they say.

I’m thinking of me; a beautiful family,my health, a job, the health of my extended family. But I am overwhelmed: I am the very epitomy of the swan (ok,maybe a duck), gliding on the surface, paddling frantically beneath. You’re so calm, so patient, people tell me. They do not know behind closed doors, I shout at my children and I cry in the shower. Everyday, I think to myself, ‘I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I can’t do this.

I’m thinking of Clodagh Hawe, and her three beautiful boys, murdered by her husband, their father earlier this week. Who everyone says was a loving husband and father, a pillar of the community. His actions belie those words, he was not as he seemed.

I’m thinking of your colleague, who seems really quiet today. Or your friend, who doesn’t keep in contact as much anymore, or your brother, who doesn’t go out as much as he used to. I’m thinking of the family living next door who never have any visitors, or the new mother always out pushing the buggy alone.


Maybe we could all pay a little more attention. Ask a few more questions, allow space for the answer to come, without being intrusive. Give people space to reveal themselves if they want to. 

Maybe we could all just pause, and consider that things might not be as they seem. And when someone tells you something that is real to them, believe them. Accept it. If someone’s actions belie your preconceptions, believe them.

If you’re struggling and someone asks if you’re OK, and you trust them, tell them you’re not. I promise you it will help. It helps me.

28 thoughts on “When all is not as it seems.

  1. Beautiful Beth and so true. We have no idea what is going on in someone else’s life. We all struggle with certain situations that affect us and yet shield the world from our issues or problems. Life is hard. And yes you are absolutely right, if there is someone you trust let them know.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Maybe we could all pay a little more attention. Ask a few more questions, allow space for the answer to come, without being intrusive. Give people space to reveal themselves if they want to” – so true, we should all do this. I think most of us are ducks/swans but the signs arent too hard to read so we should all turn our perception buttons to ‘ON’. Good thought provoking post #fortheloveofBLOG

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  3. You always write amazing posts, I love reading them. They always teach me something good about how to be or feel! You’re so right, we probably do need to pay attention to people and how they are more. As I’ve learned over the years people’s behaviour when it isn’t at its best or in line with your won values may mean something else is going on beneath the surface. We do need to keep looking out for each other. Thanks for being so inspiring MotherHub. #fortheloveofBLOG

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  4. This is a great post. I’ve been thinking a lot about this after something I read regarding Daniel Fitzpatrick – that everyone is in turmoil (or can be) and we don’t know what they’ll do with that turmoil. I am now noticing when I see kids sitting and standing alone, and wondering what I can do. We need to start noticing a little more. It costs us nothing but a little time to stop and chat with someone in our sidelines, to invite an extra along, to send a quick message of hello to check in…#KCACOLS


  5. There are so many mixed messages and fear of judgement. If you share one minute your honest next your attention seeker/ desperate whatever. Then flip side don’t share quite/closed off/ strong minded/ thoughtful/resilient/ can’t deal with emotions. When to share, when not, who if you do your venerable for a attack or you might get support… I just never know what to do. Adulting is shit!

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  6. Such lovely writing. It is easy to bottle things up and harder to ask for help. However, we all have to make sure we don’t take people or situations at face-value. We are all guilty of rushing around and perhaps we need to slow down and reflect more. Perhaps we all need to be better friends and neighbours too. I found this really moving to read xxx #KCACOLS


  7. I think most parents are doing the same, showing a calm and together persona in public when they might be feeling anything but calm and together. I think sometimes it can be good to open up a bit yourself, which can help others be more honest and open up to you in return. x #KCACOLS


  8. I think it’s so easy to be wrapped up in our own life and problems we forget to notice others too or even sometimes our own as I have noticed on occasion. I forever feel like I am treading water whilst nodding my head and smiling at everyone #kcacols


  9. It’s so hard to answer that question . Are you alright? Yes, I am is such an easy answer. We should all take time and listen a bit more I agree. It’s easy to get swept up in the coming and goings of life that it’s difficult to actually stop though. Especially when you’ve got little kids that always need your attention too. Lovely writing X #kcacols


  10. Such an interesting post. You are right you never know what is going on with people’s life. I agree that sometimes when you feel lonely or there is something that is bothering it is much better to ask for help or find someone you trust and let it all out. I really find this helpful too. I’m lucky that my husband is a good listener so I have him listening all my worries and concerns which is nice. And yes we should pay more attention of others. We always forget this. Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. It is always lovely to have you, 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

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