Gentle reader: How are you coping with all that you are going through, right now? If you feel like you need help, never be afraid to seek it.

I sincerely hope that these words find you in good spirits and even better health, and that you feel you are coping as well as can be with each challenge that life has decided to place as an obstacle in your path.

If you feel that you are coping, then you are doing well. If that is all that you have in life, then life cannot be entirely bad.

But no matter how well you might actually be coping (or might appear to be coping, in the eyes of those who know you well), it is only natural that you might sometimes feel overwhelmed.

I believe that you are up to the challenge of coping with more than you could ever expect. But that is never to lessen the sheer difficulty – the outright torture – of tough times. These times are set to test us, and often.

If you should happen to feel overwhelmed, as if you cannot cope, please do not suffer this state in silence. Never allow yourself to suffer alone. If you let others know that you need help, you will be amazed at the forces that come to your aid. There is a path through all of this. I believe that one day you will find it.

Can you live up to your own words?


It is all very well to share an encouraging word with others, to declare – quite correctly – that we are all of us capable of so much more than we might believe. It is another thing entirely to live up to such words in your own actions, and in how you deal with the most testing of times.

My share of this year’s testing times have been rendered all the more challenging by also finding myself on an unexpected mental health journey.* This mental health journey has been endlessly testing, endlessly changing, never predictable.

Over these last few weeks, my mental health journey has accelerated into a rollercoaster ride. In early September, fresh from a fortnight of much-needed rest, I had a strange, long-absent feeling. It was a feeling almost of being back to some kind of normal. A feeling that not only could I cope with my circumstances, but also that I might even be able to flourish. I could smile again. I could exhale again. I could relax again.

Life will never go in one direction for too long. If life’s pendulum swings one way, you can be certain that it will swing in the opposite direction sometime soon. Don’t get comfortable.

Circumstances have driven my stress levels through the roof once again over the past month. Circumstances I have no choice but to deal with. Having thought I might be approaching some kind of recovery, the horrible and upsetting feelings have come back.

My stress and anxiety levels are resurgent. I have had no choice but to welcome back my familiar symptoms, combined with some unpleasant new surprises.** These feelings want to make me suffer, want to make me feel as if I cannot cope.

But it feels a little bit different this time. For now at least, I feel as if I am just about able to cope. I have learnt so many things on my mental health journey so far. Doubtless I will learn much more over its course. I did not expect, though, that I might be able to find a way to coexist with my mental health issues. The combination of the medication that I am on and the coping techniques I have developed seem to be just about holding, at least for now.

It feels both frightening and vulnerable to write about such difficult times while I am in the midst of them. Feeling that I can cope for now does not necessarily mean that I will continue to be able to do so. I know that I would not be doing even this well if I had not been honest to myself about my condition, and had not sought help from others.

I do not know where this mental health journey will take me next. But I will do my best to write openly and honestly about it, in the hope that it might be of some small help to even one other soul out there.

May today be nothing but kind to you and yours


I sincerely hope that you feel that you are coping well – nay, flourishing – in this precise moment.

But if you feel as though you cannot cope, please never allow yourself to suffer alone or in silence. Let others know that you need help. There is a path through all of this. I believe that one day you will find it.

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 in the following posts: Into the infinity of thoughtsRenewal; and No words?Mental health first responseGlorifyIn our darkest hours; and At the heart of thingsNo feeling is finalRelax harder.; and Anxiety: Your own worst enemy; All these moments; and Mental health: Six things I’ve learnt in 2022.

** One new friend that my mental health issues chose to bring along was a gastrointestinal issue induced by stress. Gentle reader, I can appreciate I might have gone too far in mentioning this, and I can assure you that you don’t want to know anything further about it, save that this particular issue would now appear to be fixed. Apologies for lowering the tone.


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