This shorter episode is for anyone who’s feeling really low and really down right in this very moment. It’s a love letter from me to you – from one person with experience of mental health struggles to another. Woven in are lots of words of encouragement and support, too. Plus, my very favourite poem by the wonderful Mary Oliver.
If you know someone else who might like to receive this 10min audio love note, do send it their way.
Read the transcript to this episode:
Sometimes, life feels hard. Really really hard. So hard that you wished you could just hit the pause button. Just so that you can get a break. To stop feeling like this for a while. To stop the pain, the suffering, the struggle and all the feelings, the tough feelings, that come with that.
So this episode is for a time when you are feeling really low. I remember feeling like this. So many people feel like it. And have felt like it at some point in their lives.
What follows are my words of love, from me to you. From one person who knows about mental health struggles to another.
And they are also my words of encouragement. I was able to feel better again, and so can you. I fully, wholeheartedly believe that.
So here we go:
What you are feeling right now. This low, this pain, this feeling of being stuck in a dark place, inside a downward spiral and not being able to lift yourself out of it.
Know that you are not alone in feeling like this. You are not alone. You really, really are not alone in feeling like this. Even if you are feeling like surely, it’s just you. Well it isn’t just you. It’s a human experience shared by many, many, oh so many people on this planet, in this very moment. So even though it doesn’t change your pain, I hope you can find some comfort from knowing that this experience, no matter how hard it is, is part of the shared human experience.
There’s also nothing wrong with you yourself or your personality. You’re not feeling so depressed because you’re somehow a flawed or fundamentally broken human being. Maybe you’ve experienced extremely painful things in your life. Things that you wish had never happened. Or you’re finding yourself in a situation that you really, really wish was different. And that’s hard. So hard. I fully acknowledge that. And again, it’s a feeling shared by so many people. But there is nothing about you as a person that has caused this. You are not broken or faulty. You are whole and beautiful – a human being currently struggling with how they’re feeling and what they’re experiencing. But again, that’s a shared human experience. It’s not like you’re somehow at fault. You are good enough just the way you are – even with all the pain.
And just as you were able to reach this low, you are also able to reach a high again. I know, it’s hard to believe that right now. I know. It’s hard to believe what you cannot imagine – and once you feel really low, it’s hard to imagine anything at all. When you feel really low and down, your imagination shrinks. It really, really shrinks. When perhaps previously you felt resourceful and able to come up with lots of possible solutions for a problem, now it feels like there’s no solution at all. You cannot imagine it. And what you cannot imagine, is hard to believe in.
But as outsiders, it’s obvious that this is a current phase, even if it’s lasted for a long time. Change is the one thing we can rely on in life. Things always change. They aaalways change. Just as you were able to reach this low, you can also reach a high again. Trust that you won’t always feel like this. Trust that your imagination and your resourcefulness will come back. Trust that better times can come again, and start believing in it even if you cannot fully imagine it yet. You have so many choices in your life. So many. So many choices in your life. Even if right now, it might not feel like that.
And trust, too, that this current phase is not only a phase but also a period in your life from which you’ll gain incredible insight. And so much wisdom. Yes, it’s hard. It’s so so hard. But stay committed, keep going and know, really know, that you will and already are learning so much from this experience. The things you are learning (what you want to do, what you don’t want to do for example) all these things you are learning right now will help you in your future years. In the end, as you look back on this period in your life, things will make more sense. And this current experience of suffering will also connect you to other people in deeper and more meaningful ways.
If no one in your personal life knows how you really feel, think of someone you can trust and who you could talk to. Don’t suffer on your own. You are going to feel so much better, so much lighter, when you can share how you really are with someone kind and caring. Think of someone who you can trust and who can listen. Or let it be a therapist. We were never meant to live on our own. We humans are tribal people – we need that connection, we belong with others.
Remember, suffering is a shared human experience. You’re not on your own. And very often what happens when we open up to others is that they start opening up to us too.
So take strength from knowing that how you are feeling now is not how you are going to feel forever. Even when your current thoughts are trying to convince you of that. They’re just thoughts – they come and go. And they will change as you begin to feel better.
Take strengths from knowing that you are not alone in this experience. Many, many people before you have struggled in this way, too.
Take strength from knowing that even this hard time right now will lead to something beautiful in the end. You are going to learn from this. You are going to find out more about what it means to be alive and to be in this world. And even if nothing is making sense right now, know that we can often see the meaning as we reflect back on our life.
And take strength from other people’s journeys back to good mental health. I am here to help if you are interested in a holistic approach to mental health, one that is about the whole you. Your life, your lifestyle, your physical health and body and all the things you want to do with your time here. Good mental healthcare, in my opinion, is about addressing ALL those different facets of your life and health and seeing what little changes you can start doing to create ripple effects. We all know downward spirals. But you can start creating your own upward spirals too.
I will leave you with my favourite poem by Mary Oliver called Wild Geese – perhaps you’ve come across it before:
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Know that if you are interesting in working with me to finally improve your mental health now, you are very welcome to book a free half hour Zoom chat here.
No strings attached – we will simply talk about what’s happening in your life and your health, and whether my approach is the best choice for you.