No matter how stuck you might feel, no moment is eternal and no feeling is final. There is always a way through.
Gentle reader: If you were to be truly honest with yourself, how would you say that you are feeling in this exact moment?
I sincerely hope that your answer is a positive one. But if times feel testing, please know that you can and will make it through this moment. If you feel as if you cannot make it through on your own, please let someone know.
The other day, while in the midst of a difficult moment, I came across some wonderful words from the Austrian writer Rainer Maria Rilke, which felt like exactly what I needed to hear in that exact moment:
“Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.”
I love these words. No feeling is final.
Where you absolutely do not want to be
At times, you will find yourself in places where you absolutely do not want to be, faced with choices that you absolutely do not want to make. You might feel trapped in an eternal, endlessly repeating or endlessly protracted moment. At such times, the only way forward is through (as unappetising a prospect as that might feel).
Far better to face up to and acknowledge where you are and what needs to be done in this exact moment, than to turn your back and hope to escape by ignoring it all. Far better to do what needs to be done in this exact moment, than to take no action.
At times, time itself can feel like an eternal trial. So far, this year has felt like it has been sent to test me. Around the middle of this month – just as temperatures soared to intolerably high levels (by UK standards, I must add as a caveat for any international readers), I felt heartily sick of everything. I had had quite enough of the seemingly endless loops of testing times and varying degrees of stress, anxiety and depression in which I have found myself. The lowest point – and also the most stressful – coincided with the hottest day of the year to date (Tuesday 19 July 2022, a day of record temperatures in parts of the UK).
A few days later (on Friday 22 July 2022), something remarkable happened. Out of nowhere, a feeling arose in me like seeing those first hints of the sun’s rays about to dawn, at the end of a long, long night. I had a truly happy day, for what felt like the first time in well over a month. The tension in my back and shoulders that I hadn’t even realised was a constant and unwelcome companion seemed to lift, for no particular reason.
It only lasted a day.
But what a day.
Nothing is ever just one thing
This year has thrown me into an unexpected and frankly unwelcome mental health journey.* This journey never goes in one direction. Nothing is ever just one thing. For each small step towards something positive, some real sign of hope, there are many abrupt stallings and long phases in which things seemed to grind to a halt.
But nothing is ever just one thing. Feelings are fleeting. Even when they feel like part of an eternal, inescapable loop.
That day, that feeling of things starting to lighten was itself fleeting. But it was a much-needed taste of something better. A reminder that this mental health journey can (and, I must believe, will) take me to somewhere better.
There is always a way through. No matter how stuck you might feel.
No moment is eternal. No feeling is final.
I would like to end with some words from my post At the heart of things. They feel relevant to what I feel I am trying to say here:
“If I could ask you to do one thing today, it would be to be truly honest with yourself about where you are in life, right now. If you feel as though things are falling apart for you, share the burden. Be open and honest with yourself and with those around you. If you need any kind of help (professional or otherwise), please seek it. You are never alone. No matter how much you might feel otherwise. You are never alone.”
May you be nothing but kind today, to others and to yourself.
May today be nothing but kind to you and yours.
- Mental health (NHS) Information and support for your mental health from the NHS.
- Information and support (Mind) Resources from Mind, the UK mental health charity.
- NAMI Homefront (NAMI) Online resources from US charity NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).
- SANE Australia Visit the site of this “national mental health charity making a real difference in the lives of people affected by complex mental health issues”.
* I have written about my ongoing mental health journey (begat my spiking stress and anxiety levels) in the following posts: Into the infinity of thoughts; Renewal; and No words?; Mental health first response; Glorify; In our darkest hours; At the heart of things; and Open.