When life is at its darkest and we can’t find any belief in the future not just being this same place of pain and despair, that is when we most need the support and help of others. I have heard, and read, about so many people who have felt too ashamed or frightened to share what they are going through with others around them, or who have been met with disbelief, contempt or fear when they’ve been brave another to speak about their distress. So when I hear or read about someone who has had a different experience, who has been met with support, generosity and kindness from family and friends, and even strangers, during their most difficult times, I want to hold on to that hope.
What people truly need when at their most unwell is to know others won’t shy away; that they will listen, not define that person by their illness and wait patiently for them to get better. It may be hard, even impossible, to believe that we will ever recover, but it is the help of friends, family, mental health professionals – and the kindness of strangers we meet perhaps on the internet or in elsewhere – that helps us to re-connected with the world. Anyone experiencing a mental illness needs others to stay in touch in some way – through being there, calling, texting or emailing – to show that person they are valued and cared about. When we can’t hold onto hope for ourselves we need others to do it for us.