Every day in every place people are living through difficulties, pain, addiction and sadness. These same people are going to work, shopping and driving around carrying their worries inside. Sometimes they smile and laugh for fear of being ‘found out’ to be different. Sometimes the pain takes over and they slip the mask showing their emotions to the world. This may mean aggression, anger or confusion and can come as a shock to those who haven’t noticed before that things are not quite rosy.
The urge can be there, to offer to ‘fix’ things for our friends who are in trouble in this way. We don’t want to think that we cannot make it right, the people we love are suffering and we want to help. Sometimes that is great, it is what is needed, but sometimes it is quiet acceptance of the person regardless of the problem which is much more powerful.
Mental health is a tricky subject, statistics tell us that many people will suffer in some way throughout their lifetime. I blog constantly about the power of positive thought but even I am aware that sometimes this is very hard to do.
In tonight’s Advent I am thinking of my friends and relatives who have been fighting battles with emotional wellbeing for many years. I am thinking of those who have used the crutch of substance misuse to manage feelings they are unable to deal with, sometimes choosing to drink to take away pain is a very human thing to do. People in pain take painkillers. It is easy to say, but consider how much harder it is to deal with the cause of the pain and move on. Misunderstanding, judgements and impatience help no one. A calm and steady approach, accepting and supporting is by far the best, but so, so hard to do at times.
I have been much cheered by one friend from my youth who as I type this is winning the battle of addiction and finding life is good, perhaps ever better than good, it is a life worth living. The cost of their addiction has been huge, relationships have been lost, self-respect disappeared but now, gradually piece by piece their jigsaw is being put back together. This friend has been supported by people who accepted just where they were and allowed them time to figure it out for themselves. I suspect they also offered buckets of love and support when it was necessary too.
I have had times when I have felt desperate, when the sky has been black and the winds cold. I have felt that I was alone, never more so than in a group of people who didn’t understand or even acknowledge me. I have been angry, with the world in general and with individuals and organisations who I have felt have put me down, chipped away at my very being and sometimes almost beaten me.
In those times I seldom talk to anyone about my feelings, I keep it all inside until I have figured out how I am going to deal with things. Then with luck, positive thoughts and good people around me I have tackled the demons and mostly won the battles.
Lots of things can encourage and move us forward when times are bleak. I often turn to favourite poets, to reread lines from familiar poems and writings, they offer me comfort and a reminder perhaps that I have been in those places before and the sun did come back out one day. Music is another tool for altering my mood. In yesterday’s post I talked about being an angry teen and how music helped me to make sense of myself.
Every now and then there is one song that says it all. The song that inspires and heals that reminds me of strength and of fortitude and this is such a song. I have at times felt this to be my theme tune, the one melody and words that can get me through anything at anytime.
Amazingly this song was posted today by my recovering friend as they are moving to a good place in their life. I am sure you will all know the routes of where the song has come from, it details fighting oppression, I also believe that it is talking about every one of us. Amazing strong and vibrant people all doing their best to get on with whatever the world is choosing to throw our way. There really is something so strong inside each and every one of us, listen and enjoy and take comfort from the power and strength of life itself.