Life is tough, we all know that. There are numerous responsibilities we have to deal with on a day-to-day basis that can make things a little murky. Sometimes we get so caught up in something that we start to lose concept of what is actually going on. As a person who lives with schizophrenia I know that feeling all too well. Thats why it pays to have a sounding board.

A sounding board is that friend or family member you can go to with anything that will hear you out and listen. Sometimes they offer advice but the benefit they give is essentially in the listening.

This is a person you trust so much that you can say any weird thing that pops into your head and theyll hear you out, even if its some ludicrous idea with no basis in reality.

For me, that person is my mom. I have a couple friends too who are good listeners but my mom is the one thats seen me at my absolute worst and still pats my back and says I love you even when I say something thats totally off the wall.

A sounding board is the definition of unconditional love and I count myself lucky for having one because I know there are people out there who are struggling that just need a person to talk to.

The point of it is that there are countless thoughts that careen through our heads everyday, some of them are nice, some of them are inappropriate and some may not even have any provocation and no basis in the real world. The great thing about having a person who will listen is that theres essentially no judgment about what you say.

It can be freeing to get invasive thoughts out by telling them to your sounding board and when theyre still there after youve said whatever you needed to say you cant count them as a friend for life.

My mom and I have this thing called a coke and a smoke where well go through the drive-thru of McDonalds, get a coke and then just park in the parking lot, preferably under a shady tree and shell just sit with me as I have a cigarette or a few. During these little breaks I feel free to say whatever is on my mind and shell listen like she always does and offer up suggestions. Its like a purge to sit with her and get everything thats on my mind out into the open. These coke and smokes have come to be something of a ritual between the two of us and Im so thankful that I can have this time with my mom because no matter what I say or how I feel I know shell be there to hear me.

Its incredibly helpful to have a sounding board. Thats what makes a friend great or a relationship awesome. I dont have a relationship currently but a sounding board is what Ill be looking for when I do think about finding love. Thats a better basis for a relationship than mutual attraction or a unique personality or really anything else.

Just knowing you have someone you can be honest with gives you a feeling that despite all its flaws, the world is still alright.