Don’t you just love it when someone shares something with you that makes you realise you are not so alone? We humans gain a macabre sense of well-being when we read or hear about someone who has a worse life than we do! I mean, its why we enjoy memoirs or soaps isn’t it? Because by comparison we can sometimes say ‘well at least that hasn’t happened to me.’
But also, I feel we connect in a curative way when someone has been through something very similar to us. This is especially true when we are feeling low or struggling in some way. I remember when I went through losing my daughter some years ago (she went to live with her father) I felt like the only mother in the world that this had happened to. Despite spending hours googling, I couldn’t find anyone who had been through something similar.
Well, this connection business came to light recently when I put a post on FB to share that I was struggling with low mood and considering anti-depressants. So many people contacted me to share that they too were on anti-depressants. I was flattered how some shared their reasons for going on meds whilst offering their support. I felt a tad less alone and was struck by people’s kindness.
Then, to further warm the cockles of my heart, someone came to visit me and she opened up and told me about her broken family and its heart-breaking consequences. Bingo. I suddenly realised that I was not so alone. I’m not damaged or broken coming from such a complicated family. She gave me hope that my current difficulties will pass; that it will get easier to live with. I felt so lifted after her visit where we chatted for a couple of hours. I immediately felt myself shift out of neutral and back into first gear.
None of us know what each other goes through and sometimes I think when we share we help others more than we realise.
Now I’m obviously quite an open person; I think my memoir confirms this! But with my recent experience, I started thinking about the stigma of mental health (yes that old chestnut again)!
I think it is stigma that causes people to refrain from sharing their experiences more openly – which is such a shame since it can be incredibly healing at the same time as helping others. It’s one thing to write in your diary about your feelings, but to share it with other human beings, well… unlike your diary, they speak back to you!
It is human nature to experience some lows, and it is during this time that we can feel extremely lonely. That empty void inside can become unbearable. I certainly know I experienced this. Whilst sitting in the middle of a party with my husband, I had never felt lonelier which alerted me to something not being right!
So, after experiencing the comfort of human connection first-hand, seeing how just a simple message of support even from virtual strangers can make such a difference, I have decided to set up a private chat group on facebook. Talking and reaching out to strangers is sometimes easier than sharing with our loved ones.
I want to make it a safe space for people to share their thoughts and feelings if they are having a bad day or perhaps struggling with their mental health. For those who don’t want to share their feelings, it is a place to perhaps find comfort reading other people’s posts or even share words of hope and support to somebody else in the comments.
It is a place where people can feel heard, to pick up some nuggets of positivity to make them smile. Anyone is welcome so please do share this post far and wide, or join by clicking below. Thank you 🙏
CLICK ON PICTURE BELOW TO JOIN GROUP…