Be an Unsung Hero in Someone's Mental Health Struggle

It has been a no good terrible very bad year. And it’s only the beginning of May!

Truth be told, I have been struggling with my mental health since some curve balls hit my life a few years ago, and I’ve been trying to regain my footing ever since. If I had to describe the struggle, I would compare it to trying to remove myself from quicksand, while people keep throwing bowling balls at me to catch.

How the f!ck am I ever supposed to get myself out of here?!?

But I have friends on the sidelines. I have friends who can see it’s me, and who can see the quicksand and the bowling balls. I have friends looking for ropes long enough to throw me to help drag me out to safety, and I have others trying to tackle the ahole throwing the bowling balls.

I am lucky.

It can’t be easy, being that friend throwing the ropes – seeing them JUST miss or bounce and sink with the sickening sound of glug glug glug as they descend into the depths. It can’t be easy, throwing rope after rope after rope after rope only to see my ankles submerge, and then my knees.

It’s got to be hard when the moron throwing the bowling balls is finally knocked out cold, giving you a chance to find the rope that this time will reach – only to have him rise from the dead like a phoenix from hell.

It’s got to be exhausting, trying to be a friend while trying also to be a life saver. How many times can a person be forced to hear ‘I am sinking! It feels bad. I don’t like this,’ before they make the choice for themselves to move on and find someone with whom it’s less onerous to be friends.

It can’t be easy, being my friend right now. It is all take and little give. I need the ropes. I need the people on the sideline, seeing me, and seeing me sink and trying to help.

We are lucky to have those friends – those of us who struggle with mental health. Because, we also have people who say it’s not a rope we need, but a life preserver you’ll throw us from the sidelines – as if we can get out of the quicksand with the vest and our own free will. If only that is how it worked.

Blessed are those of us who have friends who keep searching for ropes that will reach us, knowing that just seeing them try to get us out is enough to make us feel, at least a little bit more supported. Those are the friends who say ‘I’m here’ and ‘I’ll listen’ and are there, and listen.

No, it can’t be easy being my friend right now. Maybe it never is. Maybe I require too much work, too much reassurance, too much acceptance and too much understanding. I’m fortunate enough to have friends who think I’m worth it. It makes me feel I’m worth it, too. And on no good, terrible, very bad days or weeks or months or even years, those are the friends who will see me through to the other side.

The other side is always there. Lucky are those of who have friends who will stand at the sidelines, throwing those ropes, until we are finally able to get the strength and the ability to grab one.