Prayer again.

I have been struggling lately with prayer. I feel as though my faith is failing me and it hurts. I’m upset that people keep telling the families of murder victims that we’re praying for them but it doesn’t seem to be backed any action. I grew up in church, I believe in God and I prayed as I should, but recently…. I can’t see it. I can’t feel it. I don’t know where to go or what to do. If you have any advice, please don’t shy about it.. I could really use a little help..

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Hello… It’s been a bad week for me and I usually keep it all inside, but I have met people who have been listening and many are on here… I don’t know exactly what it is but as long as someone knows, these thoughts can get better. I am going to make some tea and read a book… Thank you for your words of encouragement. They’re truly appreciated.

A Letter to the Ones who Saved a Life

Dear _______,

I want to thank you. Thank you for being the steady breeze that keeps me aloft. Thank you for being my air when my chest caves in. Thank you for impromptu movie marathons. Thank you for days spent on sugar rushes and energy drinks. Thank you for all those moments in tense silence reading the same book. Thank you for hearing my silence.

I am grateful to have someone like you. I can tell you I’m not okay and you won’t shame me, blame me, or punish me. I can smile at you knowing that you can see what lies behind it and it won’t scare you away. You didn’t tell me to get over it, or move on, or ask if I tried not thinking horrid thoughts; you held me, you cried with me, you sat with me. When I’m with you I can feel my existence begin to mean something. I can feel myself letting go of the hate I have for myself. People tell me that I have many reasons to live, that I have so much to see and do… No matter how many adventures I might have from here on, no matter how many things I find that make me happy to be alive, there’s only one reason I chose to live, and that’s you.

I am thankful that I get to send you a thank you letter instead of a suicide letter. Should you ever feel as though no one needs you, please read this again as many times as you need. I am alive because of you. You’re my somebody.

Acknowledgement

     A friend once asked me why people killed themselves. She said that she knew all of her friends and would know if they were sad, upset, or thinking of suicide. It took me a little while to answer her… Our problem as people is that we only see what we want to in other people. We are under the impression that everyone walks, talks, thinks and acts the same as we do, but that is far from the truth and somewhere deep inside, we don’t want to accept that. We’re only focused on how we would react to a ‘sad’ thought, to a ‘bad’ day, to losing a loved one, to feeling alone and depressed and lost, to losing a job, to any other stress we may go through, that we forget that other people are not us. We even get upset, righteous, indignant, and sometimes downright hurtful when someone tells us that they think about suicide constantly. What is it that we say to them, again? “You have such a nice house, though.” “Your parents have always been so good to you, though.” “What do you mean you feel alone? You have like a ton of friends.” “Your job isn’t great, but at least you have one, right?” “Have you ever tried not thinking about it?” “How can you be depressed? I just saw you smile.” “But you have kids. Don’t they fix your sadness?” We’re so busy trying to find blame, trying to make it easier for ourselves that we don’t hear the screams and cries for help… We know the public mask of the people around us and that makes us happy. We know how to say ‘I’m here for you’ but not how to truly be there. We’re content with all of it because it’s easier to stay in your own world where you know all of their favorite things and hang out together, than it is to hear them say they’re in pain and admit that you didn’t see it because it would mean you had to go deeper into someone else’s world. I told her that that’s the funny thing about depression and suicide; we’re always focused on who someone used to be and not on who they are now, and by the time we realize they were screaming for us to help them, we’re crying by their gravestone.

      Acknowledging that people can change, that even the people you’ve known your entire life can change, is the first step to letting them know that they can count on you. When someone opens up and says they’ve been feeling this way for years, acknowledge their words and feelings, do not recount the times you assumed they were fine. They’ve opened their world to you, please don’t take that for granted and help them.

Prayer

This is a serious question; what do you do when the person you’re trying to help doesn’t want you to pray for them? Some people I know would get very defensive and an argument is inevitable. What is it that sets someone so on edge about someone wanting to pray for them? Is it because they don’t believe? Do they think it’s silly? I speak only for myself when I say that it is simply because we haven’t seen anyone follow through with it; the actions they stated in the prayer, nor the compassion they spoke of in the prayer. When I told my youth pastor I had attempted to kill myself he offered to pray for me and I refused. He didn’t get upset, he didn’t argue; he offered me a hug. Something I could feel immediately. Something that I didn’t hear as a polite way to make me go away quickly. For a while now ‘I’ll pray for you’ has been interpreted as the Christian way to say ‘Piss off, I don’t have time for you’. Why? That’s easy; because today, when we pray, we rarely act on it. Any of it. To someone who is ‘stable’, doesn’t contemplate suicide, doesn’t hear voices, isn’t depressed, doesn’t live with being Bipolar, ‘I’ll pray for you’ is the sweetest thing in the world. To someone trapped in the world of their mind, that same sentence means ‘You’ll get over it’ or ‘I don’t really care, but it isn’t polite to say that out loud’.
I’m not saying not to pray for someone. I’m saying that when you do, they need more than just your pretty words. Hug them before you offer prayer. Sit with them; listen to them. You can’t pray for someone’s mind without knowing at least a tiny piece of what it’s like in there. This may sound weird, but we have to change the way we think of prayer. It can’t just be something you do to take the pressure off of you, it has to be something you do because you’re willing to share this person’s burden; help them let off some that weight. Don’t just say a prayer; be a prayer. They need you. Your arms to hold them, your hands to guide them, your legs to stand with them, your eyes to see them, your ears to hear them… It’s not all in your voice. So, I’ll ask again; what do you do when the person you want to help refuses prayer?

Compassion

bfmh14-copy-e1388959797718“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

http://acanvasoftheminds.com/2014/01/07/blog-for-mental-health-2014/

These past few weeks have been rather odd for me. In recent years I’ve began opening up little by little to those I trust about where I am, yet I still feel that we have a long ways to go.
I have found that the compassion I expect from certain people around me, doesn’t exist. Is it me? I don’t know. What I do know is my own compassion and from where it comes. I am still a little lost, I still contemplate suicide, and I still feel rather invisible, but I am in a position to help those still in darkness. I will hear you out. I will be your shoulder to cry on and your venting space. I will not tell you to simply ‘get over it’ because I know from experience that it is never that simple. I will be here for you. My only request is that you be here for me, too.
I realize that I should see someone, though, and I will. I hope that I can be with you on your darkest nights so I can lift your head and show you the stars.

To the Trees.

I’ve always loved the way nature looks in winter. The dried cracked leaves, the withered trees, the rain swollen clouds lumbering across the sky… A lot of people I know don’t like winter for those reasons. Nature is dead and to them it’s hideous. To me it’s breathtaking. As withered, cracked, decayed, and uninviting as they are in winter trees will always be my favorite. Even seemingly near death, in the of harsh dilapidating winter months, trees refuse to be brought down. Their leaves have abandoned them, humans no longer seek them for shade, but, instead cut them down to burn them up, all their knots and weak branches now exposed; yet still they stand. They still reach toward the heavens and follow the sun. In the worst months of their lives, trees still find a reason to be. They know who they are and where they stand, they know from where they get their strength, they know that winter will not last. Rain and snow and sleet and hail, come what may, they’ll make it through. Even in tornadoes and hurricanes, if they get torn from the ground, they’ve dropped seeds that ensure they will continue. I’d love to live among the trees for a little bit, just to see if i can borrow a bit of their hope and resilience. Until then, I will sit here by the window, watch the rain, and drink a cup or two of hot chocolate and admire the trees swaying and dancing among the wind and rain.