I relish the thought that my words may someday resonate so deeply within a persons’ own core, that they become a part of that person. That at the moments when they need them the most, my words vibrate their physical being and cause them to rise up to whatever demon or mountain they face.
I don’t care for words that flatter or words that pump up a false sense of security. ‘It’s going to be okay’ is probably one of the worst. Maybe it’s not going to be okay? Have you ever thought about it? Or how about this one ‘I’ll be thinking of you’. That one is really saying ‘I am really uncomfortable with the situation you are in, and I don’t actually know how to help you, so rather than tell you I don’t have the answer, I’ll just placate you because that makes me feel better’.
Jaded much? Perhaps. Words are powerful. Some are like a grenade and some are like a cool glass of water on a stinking hot day. I hate the words that tumble out of the mouth without reason the most. The ones that are uttered with no heart; no desire; no belief.
It’s time that we stop saying things that we think make the situation better.
Who do they make it better for? You? Or your friend who is drowning in the quicksand of depression? What makes you think ‘It’s going to be okay’ is what they need to hear right now? Stop talking and start helping. HOLD THEM. They’re drowning! Grab their hand and cry with them.
Sob into their shoulder as they let go because they’ve finally found someone who isn’t afraid of their pain.
You see depression and anxiety run together. They feed off each other’s wins too. You can be both depressed and anxious at the same time. For me, this is sometimes the case and it’s genuinely exhausting. On the one hand, you have depression swallowing your fight and on the other, anxiety is stirring you up, slapping your fear senses and throwing fuel on the fire of paranoia. You’re caught in a vortex of sorts, being sucked in and frantically trying to get out.
Other times one takes the lead. If it’s the darker beast, it grabs me and like a constrictor, slowly and systematically squeezing every ounce of fight out of me. Sometimes I forget that I can fight, and I let it win. It slows me to a coma, closing off my tenuous connections with society and support.
It’s these times that I need you to grab hold of me. Pull me back. Don’t tell me to help myself. If I’m this far gone, I don’t remember how to. I’ve lost my words. I’ve forgotten my strength. I no longer recognise me. This is why I need you.
I don’t need you to be brave or have answers. I need you to be real. I need you to cry with me and walk alongside me. I need you to stop trying to fix it and just be here…in the dust…I need you to be real.
And if it’s the razor rather than the snake, it cuts me into little pieces, and I am fractured and confused and full of paranoia and fear. I can’t rationalise that this is going to go away. I’m like a jack in the box being continually sprung with no respite. I’m coiled up inside, mentally constipated, unable to formulate ideas that will release me from its’ grip.
So then, grab me for I shall run. I am in full flight. When I say I’m okay and you can see that I’m not, don’t listen to my lies! Grab me. Speak black and white words. Don’t wait it out and see. Slap my mind with your concern. Tell me you don’t know how to help but you want to anyway. Shout so that I hear your words because the noise inside my head is deafening. It drowns out all sense and reason.
Run, run, run! All I want to do is run. Don’t let me run!
Hold me until the shaking subsides. I don’t mean emotionally. I mean physically. Waste your strength on me, for I am worth it. Your solidity surrounding my fear tells me, somehow, that you believe I am worth it. I need this right now, more than I need air.
This is what friendship is all about. Being there when the boat is capsizing. In the waters, waiting out the storm, arm in arm.
You may feel like you are doing all the work but please know that I am in this too. I’ve not disappeared – I am still here but I am trapped. I am here, and your strength is rushing into me, flooding my senses, bringing me back to life. You are my lifeboat right now. You are humanity holding on to the one who needs you most right now. You represent the core of being human when you refuse to let me go.
And as the storm subsides, you will feel it. The release. Your strength may be used up but what you must know is that it will be replenished. For what you have given, you will receive ten fold. Your sacrifice has brought me back from the brink of turning to stone. Your hope has revealed new truth to my despair and my fractures will now begin to heal.
Will this happen again? Maybe. Possibly. I don’t know. Maybe many times. Maybe never again. But know one thing. You didn’t let me run. Your aid delivered a strength that no drug can recreate. Hope. You gave me hope, though you may never have realised.
Someone cares. I don’t need you to have the answers. I just need you to care. To show me that I’m not alone. To hold my hand when I am afraid. To cry with me and hold me.
Your words count, yes. But your actions scream louder than any perfectly scripted letter. Use both in tandem, and know that you are part of why I chose not to run this time.