Hello you. I can’t see you, but I know you’re there. I hope you’re okay.
So, you’re reading an article about hope.
Without knowing who, where or how you are, the fact you’re reading an article about hope tells me 3 things about you.
Thing I know about you because you’re reading an article about hope number one
You need some. If you’ve ended up here, wherever you are, reading this, it’s because you need some hope.
I hate talking about me, but if I’m going to talk a bit about you, it’s only fair I tell you a bit more about me.
Here are 8 things that are true.
1. My name’s Joe.
2. I’m 32 years old.
3. I can talk to somebody for hours and not say a single thing about me without them noticing.
4. I was a drug addict and I’m eight years clean.
5. I was an alcoholic and I’m six years sober.
6 I live with daily suicidal thoughts that are always there, just some days they’re louder than they were the day before.
7. I’ve done more good things than bad things, but I never remember the good ones because I only feel the bad ones.
8. I’ve got something called Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), which is essentially a pound shop bi-polar; does most of the same stuff but some of it’s a bit shitter.
Ugh. There. Done.
Thing I know about you because you’re reading an article about hope number two
You are definitely not hopeless. You might feel like you are, because if you’re looking for hope it means you had some but you lost it. You might have less hope now than you’ve had in the past, but you’re not hopeless. You’re only ever hopeless when you’re dead. Which you’re not. Yay. Hi.
I should point out that there isn’t a single thing on my list about me that you can see. They are all invisible.
Things you can’t see are difficult to explain to somebody that doesn’t have any experience of that thing; made even more difficult if you know the words but don’t know which order to put them in to explain what it is you’re feeling; and even if you can, you might be scared to tell anybody else in case they don’t believe you.
Arguments occur more frequently when they’re about something you can’t see, because if somebody can’t see something, it can be denied.
Unfortunately mental health problems fall into this category.
If it’s invisible and you don’t understand it, you have a choice. Accept that it’s definitely there because other people that know what they’re on about are talking about it so trust them, listen to them and learn from them, or be a dick.
‘Nope. Not real. Can’t see it. Prove it.’
I’m not saying I don’t understand that thought process, because I really do. How do you believe something you can’t see and know nothing about? I get it.
Nobody’s having a row about air though. I can’t see air. I don’t know anything about air, but I know it’s real. I’m sure people have tried to explain it to me in the past but I didn’t pay attention because I don’t care. Am I dead? No.
If I don’t listen will it affect my life or the lives of others? No. Great, carry on then.
I know that air’s everywhere without understanding it because enough people are talking about it. For my whole life, I’ve heard people talking about air. I’ve heard so many people that know about air, talk about air, that I accept air is a thing even though I can’t see it, and I’m comfortable trusting somebody that knows what they’re on about to accept that it’s a fact.
But you know what you I’m not doing? Kicking off at Professor Brian Cox on Twitter telling him that I don’t believe his whiny opinions because I can’t see it so he’s an attention seeker whose career is essentially a tapestry of desperate, unsubstantiated air lies – pics or it didn’t happen.
That would, obviously, fall into the being a dick category. He knows. I don’t.
I can’t see it. But I know it’s there.
I can’t see a relationship, but I know they’re a thing. I know because I have some. I’m a son, a brother, an uncle, a cousin and a friend. A relationship is something independent, that lives between the two people that made it.
I will now use a simple but hopefully effective metaphor to demonstrate how much easier it is to understand something you can’t see if you imagine that it’s something you can.
I’m going to replace the word RELATIONSHIP, with the word BUCKET.
Imagine a dark, empty room. In the middle of the room is a big, bright, white bucket.
The BUCKET is the RELATIONSHIP.
If you and I decided to have a BUCKET, we agree to put it between us, and share the contents.
I fill half of it with some of me, and you fill the other half with some of you.
A BUCKET has two rules.
It always has to be full, and it always has to be 50% me, and 50% you.
If somebody needs something from the BUCKET, they take it out. But every time you take something out, you have to put something back in so that it stays full, and stays equal. Problems grow when somebody keeps taking things out of the BUCKET but stops putting things in.
Then one person is putting everything they can into the BUCKET, but they’re not getting anything out of it because there’s nothing left to take. It’s empty.
Relationships start to corrode and collapse when it stops being cared for by both people. If it’s not equal, it won’t work.
Relationships are real.
I know I can’t see them, but I know they’re there.
Nowadays when I wake up in the morning the only goal I set myself is to finish that day the same way I started it, in a bed, knowing I’ll see tomorrow. Even if today isn’t what I needed or wanted or expected, if I can just get through today, tonight I’ll have another chance at tomorrow.
Thank you for listening to me.
I hope one day I get to find out more than three things about you.
Oh shit, nearly forgot.
Thing I know about you because you’re reading an article about hope number three
You know you deserve it, and just like the air, I know you can’t see it, but I promise it’s there.
Please don’t kill yourself.
Lots of love,
Metro.co.uk MHAW Takeover
This year, to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Metro.co.uk has invited eight well-known mental health advocates to take over our site.
With a brilliant team that includes Alex Beresford, Russell Kane, Frankie Bridge, Anton Ferdinand, Sam Thompson, Scarlett Moffatt, Katie Piper and Joe Tracini, each of our guest editors have worked closely with us to share their own stories, and also educate, support and engage with our readers.
If you need help or advice for any mental health matter, here are just some of the organisations that were vital in helping us put together our MHAW Takeover:
- Mental Health Foundation
- Rethink Mental Illness
To contact any of the charities mentioned in the Metro.co.uk MHAW Takeover click here
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