To conclude my lovely ‘how to help your friend’ series, I just wanted to share a really recent testimony and what I’ve learnt from it – literally within the space of about 5 hours.
Once again, I want to really stress that I do not have the answers, I just have some experience and a few pearls of wisdom I suppose that I can share with you. This one is a little different to the others; it’s mainly aimed to those who are experiencing some of kind of mental health issue instead of how to support someone – BUT, if you fall into that amazing second category then please keep reading because I think this might really be beneficial to you, too.
Basically, this evening, I spent about 25 minutes on the floor crying. That’s right, just lying on the floor, weeping, because I was so sad. It was a heavy sadness, it was a restless sadness. It’s been one of those weeks where the sadness comes and goes; some days it sort of eats away at the back of my mind and I can just about ignore it, and other times it seems to be everywhere and I can’t avoid it anymore. Tonight was one of these times. As fun as it would be to delve right into the emotional abyss (please sense the sarcasm), I’ll spare you the gory details. All that matters is that I was sad, and I was helpless. Or so I thought.
My behaviour wasn’t perfect this evening. I resorted to pushing people away and deciding that oh, of course I can do this on my own. No Annie, no you can’t.
How unfair would it be for me to say that doing this alone is the right thing to do when I’ve spent the last 5 blog posts in this series saying that doing this alone is not the way to do it without sounding like a complete hypocrite? If you’ve been following my posts you’ll know that I have a real thing about hypocrisy, and I do my best to try and avoid it. Tonight however, I can’t write this without being totally honest and say that I thought it was perfectly okay to try and do this alone. But slowly, the stubbornness of my independence made me weak, and it made me feel alone. No wonder I wasn’t feeling looked after if I was shutting out the possibility of it happening, right? This is key: depression does not make sense. It can be selfish (or tell you that you are, at least), it is lonely (and once again, tell you that you’re lonely…), it is dark (no doubt about this one). And once again, I would like to stress that depression is not you. You are a person who needs love, care and affection. DO NOT block this out.
I decided to call my mum, who prayed for me over the phone. I called my friends, I saw some friends, I cried a lot. I was saying things that were absolutely crazy and made no sense whatsoever. But this is what the title is all about – blubbering. I always held back for a long time about saying what was actually going on in my head because I thought I sounded like a psycho who needed to be locked up in a straight-jacket and needed tranquilizers (also, please know that I don’t like to stereotype people with mental illness now, in case it wasn’t clear enough. There’s no need; you’re not the illness, remember? You’re you.) It was only when my best friend listened to me and – here comes the best bit – still cuddled me afterwards even though what I was saying was awful and ridiculous and probably painful to hear (thank you again for listening you beauty, I really do love you!) I felt a sense of release and relief. You need to talk about how you feel. Don’t do what I’ve done so many times (see, I told you I was going to be h0nest) and keep it all in until you don’t even have the energy to sit up and cry, so the floor seems like the most appropriate option/crying stance. Let people in.
Find those people – pray for those people – that you can talk to and be completely honest with. Someone who will listen to how you think a pigeon stared at you the wrong way or how your socks must be against you because they changed colour in the wash (never thought either of these things by the way, but if you have, its okay), or getting emotional because Miley Cyrus cut off all of her gorgeous hair (…okay, have got a little bit emotional about that one). Blubber away. Blubber until there is no blubber left.
Empty out the rubbish and let the people around you help you to get rid of it. You don’t need it. But as always, the Christian in me is still 110% vouching for a real Jesus intervention here: blubber out to Jesus. He wants to hear it all – at 3am when you can’t sleep or during the break of a lecture when you rush off to the loos to cry for 10 minutes. He wants to hear it and he wants to take it from you. At the foot of the cross, lay it all down.
So in summary of this lovely little mini series (I say summary but I will probably have another thought in the shower tomorrow morning and decide the series isn’t quite finished), I’ve talked about asking for help, minimising the stigma and the dangers of it, encouragement, living in the now, community, and finally, honesty.
I can’t really put into words as to how passionate I feel about this and how I want to make a difference. I really hope that if you’ve been following this series or even if you’ve checked in once in a while that it’s encouraged you or made you think about something differently. If anything, it helps me to write it to you. So thank you.
Peace and blessings x