Mental illness pulls you in, it is a black vortex and deathly cold. Sitting with a close and much loved relative who was in the centre of deep depression the illness was in the room and was manifest. He needed me to sit beside him and read as he tried to sleep. And I could feel with absolute reality a force that was there feeding on him, consuming him. Sitting there on those nights I understood why people believe in possession because it is a possession. There is a manifest presence which intends to consume them, that bloats itself on their blood and love and humanity, an obscene parasite but one which we need to see and show no fear before. A dear friend is at this moment struggling with this force with a bravery that is beyond my comprehension, his level of endurance and his continuing defiance fills me with admiration. Seeing this, feeling this potential destruction of those we love is terrifying but as they don’t give in neither must we. What I believe we have to do is stand beside them in the trenches, look their enemy in the eyes, listen to their stories of their battles and show neither fear for them or ourselves. We must stand beside those who are engaged in the fight not behind them; we mustn’t tell them what to do or that it will get better; it may not. We must tell them that whatever happens we will be there with them that we will never leave them alone.
We must not got drawn into the battle, we can’t fight it on their behalf, but we are in their corner and we will watch and comment and listen unflinching.
We also must take care of ourselves; the vortex can pull us in. We need to ensure our personal defences are in good shape. We are no help if we are drawn directly into the conflict.
I have said before how I use my writing to keep my head to the waves, to keep me calm, to allow me to be aware of the foe. I think writing can help others and I’ll talk about that a bit more another time when I have it clearer in my head; for now I just want to say I am with you as much as I can be.