I’ve been reading The Lonely City, which has seemed apt to be reading in the week of World Mental Health Day on 10th October. How is it that the loneliest places can often be the busiest places, where people go virtually unnoticed?
We live life so quickly that it is possible to avoid meaningful conversations with anyone when there are so many people milling around – the more lonely one becomes, the harder it can be to reach out and ask for help.
How soon those who feel isolated or desperate begin to have a slightly distorted view of life.
Many of us seem adept at presenting a calm exterior with few truly knowing what is happening beneath the surface. Having a small circle of trusted confidants can be helpful, but perhaps we need to be a little more open and honest if we are to positively challenge attitudes to those who live with poor mental health.
Where is the hope? Is it easy to identify, to grasp and quantify? Or do we need to illuminate it?
How can we as the church, and as individuals, support one another when everything feels too much…surely we should be able to admit it, to scream out and join one another in lament?
Being with someone in their darker moments means that we are also there when hope begins to reveal itself, slowly at first perhaps, nonetheless noticeable.
Eventually it might become easier to see signs of hope, and possibilities, especially with someone walking alongside. Can we show bravery by being honest with one another when everything feels overwhelming? Equally, do we have the courage to stay by the side of those we care for when they are overwhelmed, and be with them in their times of darkness, acting like a beacon for them?