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)

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  1. I love what you write, my dear. I can’t imagine why anyone would be offended by TRUTH. I love that you don’t sugar coat your life. You are needed. Please stay around, Maitri. Hugs, Memarge

    • Thank you so much Marge, you are so dear to me and I appreciate your kind words so much. And I can’t sugar coat my life, much as sometimes I might like to, because my struggles are real and seemingly endless so it seems to be the main topic of conversation here, and I truly don’t want to run people off, but all the time people find the blog who have never read it before and thank me, and as long as I am helping someone then I must continue. Thank you for being here, and holding the space for me to speak. It helps more than you could possibly know. Much love and many blessings to you…

  2. Claudine Denert says:

    Dear Maitri, I think that when you are writing about your day to day struggle, you are already doing a lot. When I read it I feel less alone too… It’s like having a partner in crime…. You have a big heart, not being really well, but still prepared to help others… That’s great. I get the idea of being a helper. I am a ‘little helper’ myself, I do what I can for anyone in need. That’s where my idea of doing one good deed a day is coming from. I even feel a breeze of happiness when I succeed… Just be yourself, Maitri, you openness is much appreciated…

    • Thank you so much Claudine honey, oh, what would I do without you? And yes, I think the only way out of this dark muddle IS to reach out to others. Try to help. Do what you are so beautifully doing. It doesn’t make all the hard things go away but it does indeed lift one up for a few moments, let a ray of light shine in. Even the helper is helped by the interaction. I am sending you so much love this day. Thank you for being there…

  3. Victoria SkyDancer says:

    I confess, I have a nasty tendency to isolate when I am deep in the Murk and waiting for Catfish to help guide me through it. Today was a mixed bag and I was in the Murk for a time. I’m out of the Murk now.

    I read your earlier post and just had one thought: be Super Gentle with yourself when the inner critics are having a field day in your head. I enjoy reading your words and they are such a balm for my soul, especially when I’m in the Murk. I would miss your words terribly if they dried up.

    I shall chant for both of us tonight. Namo Kuan Shi Yin Pusa. May we all be held in Her Infinite Compassion. 🙂

    • Oh thank you so much for including me in your chant Victoria, it is truly beautiful. And I am so sorry you have been “in the Murk” as you say. What an apt description of the dark places that are so scary and sad. It’s like being pulled down into quicksand and you can’t get out. Finally, someone might lend a hand and pull you to safety, even if just for a few moments, an hour, an evening, and you can build on that. You are so dear to me sweet Victoria. I hope you too will be gentle with yourself. You are very dear…

  4. Oh, Maitri-
    I can’t imagine why anyone would find what you wrote yesterday difficult or too much. I think we can always open ourselves to compassion, whether personally or for others.

    You write beautifully of your struggles, and about your feelings. There’s nothing about those pieces that’s not of service to others.


    • Thank you so much Lisa, you are very dear and your kind thoughts mean so much. I truly do hope I am writing things that will help others, and of course it is cathartic and healing for me in the process. I hope you have lovely days ahead filled with peace and ease, and ah, you are about to move into autumn in the mountains, nothing more beautiful. Enjoy honey…

  5. Maitri you are such a gift and I can’t explain how much your words can help me some days as you give an understanding of some of what one of my loved ones is going through

    • Patchouli honey, if I have written something that helps you I am deeply blessed. I hope that your loved one who suffers has gentle days of peace and ease ahead. You are so very dear, I wish for you gentle days, blessings, and love…

  6. Sometimes you reach out to people and they turn you down, so it’s hard to do. It makes you even more depressed and anxious. But you try not to take it personally, but you do.

    • You are so right Sheila honey, you say it so well. Sometimes I write a post and there are lots of responses and it lifts my spirits and makes me find a lovely bit of happiness in the hour. Other times I write from a very vulnerable, fragile place wanting so much to reach out to others, to be heard, to share something that might help another who is afraid, alone, and suffering, and few people comment at all, and I get scared. Have I said too much? Should I have said it at all? Do I really have anything to say that matters? So yes, you do take it personally, and it’s hard, but when you put yourself out there in a deeply personal way this just will happen and one must be prepared for it and accept it with as much grace as one can. I hope you are doing okay honey, at least right now, in this moment. I hope you find ahead of you hours of peace and ease. You are in my heart, always…

  7. I have come to realize that I have always lived with mental illness both my own and in the people around me. I, too, am a survivor even at my darkest when I was justthisclose to the edge of the abyss, I fought to continue. I chose the path of forgiveness…not forgetting, but forgiving. My son has Aspergers Syndrome and he has his own rollercoaster ride that affects everyone around him. He says that I gave him my bad genes but I also gave him my will to continue even in the dark. He now researches every medication, every treatment, everything and anything he can find and has taken control of his treatment. I tell you all of this because of your bravery and honesty. You help me every single day with your honest posts. If only the world could better understand that mental illness is something that must be addressed openly. Please, please do not think that you are not helping others by being honest. So many people suffer alone and afraid without realizing that they are surrounded by others who are suffering, too. You are a light shining in the darkness and your voice is being heard. Your voice is needed…you are needed! Your gentle honesty and acceptance in this world of anger and judgement is a lifeline to many. Thank you for being there in the darkness.

    • Oh Karrie your note was so kind it nearly made me cry. You’ve no idea how much it means to me to reach out with my most vulnerable sharings and hear back from people, and have people say that what I’ve written has helped them. It is my deepest desire, to take the proverbial lemons and make what lemonade I can. If out of my struggles and suffering I can find a way to reach out to the world through my writing, and it is well received and even helpful then I feel that I do indeed have a purpose and am not just here to suffer and be afraid. You’ve lifted me up with your kind words this day. I wish I could really convey to you how much it really means. And good for your son. I wish him well, and you, always…

  8. What you write is beautiful and honest. Never apologize for that.

  9. I feel sad you feel you have to apologise for your last post. I’ve been reading Brene Brown a lot lately – and I’ve learnt that you cannot be brave and wholehearted with your life without making people feel uncomfortable and upsetting them. I am so in awe of your courage – and because you shared your experience you’ve probably helped so many people who are struggling realise they are not alone. Too often we are bypassing our true selves for the sake of keeping others comfortable. It is so important someone talks about mental health issues – with true understanding. We need to have the conversation to heal. Thank you for sitting in the dark and being brave enough to enter the arena – and to offer your help to others. You are a warrior. You got this. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    • Oh Rachel how kind you are, what you’ve written here helps more than you could possibly know. And I hear so much about Brene Brown, I will have to check out her books. And yes, we must bring mental illness out of the darkness and into the light so people feel less alone, so they will get the treatment that they need, and so that we may be understood better. Mental illness is such a hard thing because you are “broken” but not in a visible way. If I were in a wheelchair people would see that there was something wrong and be perhaps helpful and kind and act accordingly. When you have some form of mental illness it is invisible except for the visible suffering and many people are afraid of it or just don’t want to deal with it. If we can find a way to penetrate the darkness and reach across the void to one another we might save more lives. This is my prayer every time I write a post. So thank you again, your comment has meant the world to me…

  10. Hey, hon–I’m having a nerve block in my lower back this morning so my mind is all a jumble. I do get you, and am sitting quietly with you and holding your hand. My thoughts are with you even if I don’t post much.

    • Oh dear Valerie, thank you so much for writing, it means so much. And I’m so sorry you have to go through this ordeal, it must be very painful. I hope the nerve block helps relieve your pain. You are in my thoughts and prayers and heart, always…

  11. Maitri, I haven’t read your post from yesterday yet, it takes me a while to read and I came across this post first, I love the honesty of your posts I know they are teaching me things I didn’t know and for that I am grateful and also for your soul mate Claudine, to have such mutual understanding must be wonderful, sending you love and positive thoughts <3

    • Thank you so much for coming to read and taking the time to comment Rachel, it truly means so much to me. I’m so glad if anything I’ve written to you was a help. That makes me so happy, it helps give me a sense of purpose and meaning. And yes, Claudine is very dear and helps me so much, we help each other, it’s a lovely thing. Take care dearheart, and many blessings to you…

  12. I just want you to know that I love you, and I’m listening.

  13. Secundra Beasley says:

    Hello. I just want to Thank You for this blog. I followed you on a hit & miss on Facebook and with this blog challenge, I can receive your blogs in my mail box. I am bipolar but cannot read a lot of first person bipolar accounts. Something about your writing connects with me. I have done some of the stuff you have done (the hurricane viewing) and the buying art supplies with $ from your food budget. I do want to give you an heads up regarding one of your activities.
    Watching videos or newscasts for a long period of time on your IPhone, will hurt your finances greatly. a $70.00 a month bill will double due to the amount of data that you use to watch it on your phone. I know this will take you away from your big chair and pug cuddle but I want you to have money at the end of month. Thank you and keep up the great work.

    • Thank you so much Secundra for coming and commenting. I’m sorry that you share some of the same struggles that I do. I hope you find days of peace and ease ahead. And all of the videos I mentioned watching I watched on my desktop computer as I do most things. I tried to listen to a podcast on my phone but it wouldn’t work, AND I have unlimited data with my phone plan and could watch hours of viewing on my phone each day BUT that’s too hard on my eyes. I watch a newsprogram at night in my chair before I go to sleep, but in my chair when I’m not napping or sleeping at night I am usually reading whatever my current real book is, currently The Wishing Year as I mentioned in my post. Blessings to you dearheart, and thank you again for writing, I am so blessed that my writing has meant something to you… <3

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