Don’t Ask. Do Tell

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

The ‘source of all truth’, or the internet as some people call it, arms arguments with substantiated and unsubstantiated statistics and claims. 

“Don’t Ask. Do Tell” is a mindset where opinions rank above questions.  This form of non-critical thinking seems to have taken control over social media.  Memes abound with sound bites and comments taken out of context. Credit is given for quotes to people who never said them. Opinions, not journalism, reign over much of what we find to read. It is our responsibility to check facts before spreading finely spun tales.

Asking questions takes time and energy, I know.  For example, Don’t ask, don’t tell’ was a military policy regarding gay rights instituted in the 1990s in the USA.  Maybe it took some reading to realize this post is not about that.

It is simpler to rest a weary body and mind and take in what people who agree with us say. Yet asking what is true, and searching opposing arguments does not threaten truth.

Truth will rise to the top if we use critical thinking skills. What is the evidence? What were the words a person actually used? What is the context? What is the person repeating this statement or claim gaining by doing so? We can never know anyone’s motive without their direct explanation. Never. No, not ever.

Do ask before telling.  

By accepting only what those who agree with us have to say, we stay small and uninformed. By filtering everything through cynicism, we remain trapped in doubt. By assuming anything at all about another person, we react in ignorance. 

Critical thinking will support our mental health. Commonly, when we struggle with a mood disorder such as depression, our outlook is negative. One of the strategies we can use to help ourselves is to ask deeper questions. Did so-n-so say exactly what we feel they meant? Could a person hurt another by acting out of fear or confusion? Are we mind-reading? These are bare minimum questions, and can begin your trek to discovery. 

As supports of someone with a mood disorder, we ask this: Was the character of this person different when he or she was well? What is the evidence that mood disorders respond well to treatment? Does it make sense that someone would choose to experience depression?

Do ask. And once you have the reasonable truth, decide what to tell.

Today’s Helpful Word

Proverbs 10: 18-20

To hide hatred is to be a liar; to slander is to be a fool.  Don’t talk so much. You keep putting your foot in your mouth. Be sensible and turn off the flow!  When a good man speaks, he is worth listening to, but the words of fools are a dime a dozen.


NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

*text pic by XYMONAU; punctuation by STARISOB, both of


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