Most of all, there are the perennial struggles we must all go through to become fully human and alive, to get to a place where perhaps we can help ourselves and one day help others in their suffering. Life is a journey, and we can all get lost along the way. You have suffered and are suffering now, but it isn’t suffering alone that defines our life’s journey. Not for you, for me, or anyone else. I hope that you get well soon.
It frustrates me to admit that I don’t know how to make you feel better, except to say that you should leave open the possibility that tomorrow might be better than today. You may need your imagination to see this, especially as you try to put the broken pieces back together. It will take time, and you will need to go slowly and focus on the small, simple things of daily life. You may not get the hang of living "normally" for a while. It’s like coming into a dark and unfamiliar room at night and searching along the walls with your hands to find the light. We know it must be there somehow, we need to believe it is there and seek out that light. This takes a kind of imagination blended with hope, perhaps it also takes faith. I define hope as a humble belief in the possibility that life might be better. Give it a chance, and find out.
When my life had fallen apart some twenty years ago, when I looked at the shattered pieces around me, I thought about what it might be like not to exist. I didn’t know how I could move forward, whether I had the capability to move forward again. I lacked the imagination to embrace the idea of nothingness, though I wanted nothing more to do with life. But, as people sometimes do, I took an inventory: I found myself thinking about someone I loved, who I wanted to see again, who perhaps needed me. The thought of that someone saved me, pulled me away from the nothingness of giving up and checking out for good. I began to pray, and prayed my way through a dark, sleepless night, accepting my helplessness in that moment until the morning light crept through the barred window.
I know meaning is there for you, just as it is for me. The morning will come. You matter, just as much as I do -- and you will find that light. There’s something about life that makes that light so hard to see. We can lose things so easily -- our jobs, the people we love, and sometimes our minds too. I don’t know you, but I know someone who loves you and wants you to be well. I can’t say that I understand your experience, or the place you are now. All human suffering is somehow different, yet also universal. I know you are lost and seeking help, in a place where you can begin getting it. and I’ve been in that place too. It starts with staying safe, then finding your way to functioning again, seeking to get back on your own wobbly feet. Things can get better in time, but you need to go slowly, now and always, to reach that place of better.
So often, we are our own worst enemies; we can want to hurt ourselves and even annihilate ourselves. I know this from my own life. Yet we all have the capacity to hope, to help ourselves, to ask others for help. There is no shame is asking for help. It is strength to confront our vulnerabilities, comprehending the limitations of our minds and our bodies. You don’t have to like these limitations (I hate my own), but you best not ignore them. Try to understand them and manage them for your own wellness.
We need ballast, the weight that keeps our lives from simply floating out to sea or escaping into the air like smoke. You will find your ballast in time. Slow down, meditate and reflect -- most of all, reflect upon what has happened, where you are now, and what you need to do to find a better place that will sustain you and keep you healthy.
I don’t know you, don’t even know your name, but I know of you from a friend and wanted to share these thoughts and wish you well. To be alive is to suffer, to be lost in darkness from time to time. But this isn’t all that life is. There is light and sunshine and happy hours spent on the porch reading and listening to birdsong. There is beauty and community and friendship and love too. I hope all this for you and more. Be well and take care, now and always, and may you find your way through the darkness into the light.