I Am Coming Gently To You This Morning, Quietly, Can You Sit With Me A Minute?

Yesterday I wrote a post that was very hard for me to write, and perhaps very hard for you to read. To those of you who read what I wrote and took time to comment or get in touch with me in some way I want to thank you so much. For those of you for whom it was too much, I am genuinely sorry. Living with mental illness is hard. Loving someone with mental illness can be nearly impossibly hard. Wanting to reach out and help but not knowing what to say is understandable. Can I help you? Can I tell you what might be helpful if you are in this situation again, faced with someone you love or care about having a hard time? Saying nothing is painful for the one who is suffering and struggling. Just being present is all that is needed. Saying something like, “I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time. I’m here with you, you’re not alone.” can literally save the day. You don’t need to have the answers, you don’t need to do anything, but please don’t turn away.

I am writing this near midnight. I am writing because I had to get my thoughts down. I am writing because I worried all day that I had said too much in the last post, or said it all again when you’re tired of hearing it. When you’re mentally ill you never get a day off. You can have ups and downs, better times and worse, when the meds are working well, Hallelujah! For me, the meds have not been working right for the last 6 months or more, and this afternoon, after therapy, when I came home and hunkered down with the pugs in my big chair, what I wondered is how I can keep going with this blog challenge and still be of service? What I realized is that keeping on, even in the face of my fear, even when people may not comment because they no longer no what to say, I want you to know that I understand, and I feel your pain, deeply. My biggest fear in all of this is how it will affect those that I love, that I might be a burden to. Maybe if I can help you, I can help them.

So, if what I’ve written has made you uncomfortable, can you tell me why? If what I’ve written has made you afraid, can you tell me what you are afraid of? If you feel at a loss to help someone you love, someone you are close to, perhaps a neighbor, a friend, someone in your church or place of work, can you tell me how you feel in the face of their difficulties? If you can bring these things to me, I will answer you honestly, and as deeply as I’m able. Sometimes people don’t reach out because they don’t know what to do, don’t know how to help, don’t know how to make things better. I am here to ask you, can you just come and sit with me a moment. Sometimes, most times, that’s all that is needed. Sometimes someone who is suffering and struggling just needs to know that you care, that you can hold their hand, and let them talk, and tell you how afraid they are, and how hard it is, and all you need to say is, “I’m so sorry you are suffering so. I’m here with you.” Feeling someone’s presence when you feel at the bottom of a bottomless pit can save your life. Literally. You cannot fix someone who is mentally ill anymore than you could fix their broken arm, but you can be there to help, to see what they need, to offer assistance in the smallest ways. I have a dear friend in Belgium, she suffers too. She is 6 hours ahead of me timewise. But I know that when I get up in the morning Claudine will have left me a message on Facebook messenger and as soon as I am here in the morning with my coffee I answer her, and sometimes we hit it just right and even though she is 6 hours later she answers me, and we write back and forth to each other. And for the whole morning I feel less alone. I can’t tell you how many times Claudine has gotten me through a hard morning. And we’ve never met in person, never met face to face, but we are soulmates, she and I. We hold each other up. You just have to reach out from wherever you are in any way that you can.

I am inviting you to write to me. I am inviting you to ask anything that is in your heart to ask even though you are afraid it might be hard for me to answer. I am 63 years old. I was taken, in the middle of being sexually and emotionally abused, at 10 years old to a psychiatrist for the first time because the nuns knew something was terribly wrong but knew not what. He did not help me. I was back in therapy at 18 and from then on for most of my life, more in therapy than out. I have been suicidal. I am not suicidal anymore though some days I don’t know how I will hold on. BUT KNOW THIS, I HAVE HELD ON, I’M GOING TO HOLD ON, AND IF I CAN HELP YOU HELP SOMEONE ELSE BY ANSWERING HONESTLY FROM 63 YEARS OF LIVING WITH THIS THEN BY GOD THAT’S WHAT I INTEND TO DO. If you’ll let me. Will you let me? Will you let me help you? In the middle of my suffering, and fear there is a deep need to be of service and this is one way that I can help. Leave me a comment. I will answer you.

I am coming from a place of deep love. I am coming from a place that says there has to be some reason I have suffered and struggled and continue to do so BUT I AM SURVIVING. It’s because perhaps I am here to help the helpers. This occurred to me tonight and I will tell you the truth, it startled me. I have been trying to figure out how I might be of service. Maybe I am here to share my truth, and then invite you to share yours with me, in the hopes that I can help you help someone you love.

I AM NOT A THERAPIST, I DON’T PRETEND TO BE. I am someone who, with the best of care, suffers and struggles and may continue to do so for the rest of my life. But while I am trying to cope if I can help you feel more at peace within yourself with how you might help someone you love, then I shall not have lived and struggled and suffered in vain. I AM SURVIVING. Let’s do this together.

The beloved Fred Rogers, Mr. Rogers, once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” I want to be a helper, in any way that I can. I have been honest with you. If you are afraid, and lost, and don’t know what to do, write to me here, and now. I am listening…



September Blogalong Challenge With Effy  Day 14)