You can’t put a price on it. You can’t clone it. And you certainly can’t manufacture it.
We need to remember that meaningful human connection is what saves the drowning soul.
It saved mine.
It took me a long time to emerge from that all consuming state of darkness and replace my tortured perspective with one that made me want to get up in the morning and think about the future. It wasn’t as simple as flicking a switch.
It took patience, time and enormous courage - commodities of which I had to borrow from my nearest and dearest at the time until I could personally afford them myself.
You might not be able to make sense of your emotions right now and that’s okay. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone in this battle. You may feel lost and disconnected but there is a huge ecosystem of support you can count on. Non profit organisations like Beyond Blue, R U OK? and Headspace are committed to helping you achieve your best possible mental health.
It took me a while to verbally express the fact that I wasn’t okay. It was a mixture of pride, embarrassment and inability to articulate my own feelings. I felt as though I needed to have all the answers and be able to explain and justify myself before I could talk to anyone about it.
The thing is, you’re not preparing a speech or writing an argumentative essay. It doesn’t have to be a filtered string of words based on logic. It’s about plucking those destructive thoughts from your mind, even if it’s just for the day. Remember, those difficult conversations are an integral part of moving forward.
I know that strength and resilience are not qualities you believe you possess right now, but you do have what it takes to get through this. And you will. You will survive this suffocating phase and unlock a future beyond the darkness.
Watching someone close to you suffer is painful. You feel helpless at times and you may not know what to say or do. I know that listening to what they have to say can be overwhelming and upsetting but you’re not expected to have all the answers. Just be there. Be available to listen and reassure them that you really do want to help them through this rough period.
After battling my fair share of demons, I’ve come to two conclusions. Firstly, starting and continuing what may be a series of heart breaking conversations is the best gift you can give someone who is struggling. Give them the opportunity to confide in you. They may not have the courage to start the conversation, but you can. We've included a Guide to Starting the Conversation in Curation 2018 so that you can make a difference in the new year.
Secondly, assumptions are dangerous. They add zero value to the situation, so avoid them at all costs. If a family member, friend or colleague appears detached from their usual self or is going through a tough time, be the one to reach out. Remember that it is not a matter of prying when you are genuinely concerned about someone’s mental wellbeing. The worst thing you can do is assume that they probably don’t want to talk about it.
We wholeheartedly believe that a meaningful conversation can change someone’s entire world, so never underestimate the difference you can make in someone’s life today, tomorrow and the next day.