i originally posted this on Facebook as a private status update for friends. because it resonated with and helped people so much more than I imagined, i'm making it public here. i hope it helps many more people.
three simple words released me from my silent, self-enforced imprisonment this week: how. are. you. i have told no one that since Monday, i've left my bed only for necessary bodily functions. i've been in a lot of physical pain, hating my body for letting me down, enraged with the NHS for not giving me the acute treatment i needed, and feeling like i don't want to face the world while bearing this enduring pain, anger and sorrow.
my friend Tamsin said those three simple, saving words to me yesterday: "how are you?" she knew to come over because of how i responded. i'd had one bath since Saturday last weekend. the only things i ate and drank were items accessible from my bed. i clung to it like an island, and if i fell off, the sharks would devour me with their razor sharp teeth, or i'd drown in the ocean of my collected tears. my sole protector was a black and white cat, and because of him, i had one good day where i had a bath, and i put some laundry on, and the sharks didn't eat me, but my self-loathing did. i'm 30 and could only move like my 80-year-old grandmother, so i went back to my island to curl up and cry.
Tamsin texted with some of the most powerful words you can send to a person with mental health problems. the effect is like sending a message in a bottle on a string into a duvet-shaped cavern on someone's personal, desolate island. your message becomes an escape route, whether the message is received and answered and conversation finds the path out of the cave, or whether the path allows you to find your friend in the midst of their dark, bleak, fortress.
today, i woke up at 5am, put on more laundry, had a bath, washed my hair, and started some paid work. i'm hoping my week continues to improve and maybe tomorrow i'll even venture outside my flat. one step at a limping step time.
hard things are so much easier to overcome when there are two of you, or three, or more. so that's why Tamsin is one of the kindest people i know and i'm lucky to have her as my friend.