I think many of us who suffer from mental illness or poor mental health can well relate to how this animation of a what is termed as a ‘flatline’ – normally used to indicate activity in the heart – could also represent how we feel, often both mentally and emotionally, during a particularly bad episode.
It can be such a distressing time – especially (and often more so) for those who have to witness our going through these episodes. Episodes where we seemingly cease to function, cease to even feel.
And certainly it is very hard to explain or describe – to anyone who has not experienced it or been through it – just what that is like.
And likewise it is very hard to explain or describe the wonderment which can often come when you suddenly, unexpectedly, somewhere from within the silent emptiness of both thought and emotion, realise that you have begun to feel something.
Did you really feel it? Was it really there? Did you imagine it? Somehow create it out of your own desperation?
These are all questions which I have to admit I have asked myself at times such as these.
And of course even the realisation of your being desperate – were you but to have had clarity of thought enough to know it at the time – is in itself an indication of improvement. An indication of some breakthrough. Some sign of life within the death-like emptiness you had previously been experiencing.
But then of course comes the nervousness, even the fear, that actually this new awareness, this new feeling, this new ability to think once more is only fleeting. A momentary blip before you mentally and/or emotionally ‘flatline’ once more.
It’s a harrowing thought isn’t it?
And indeed perhaps you are reading this and can relate to exactly what I am describing here. Either because you have experienced it yourself or watched someone you know, perhaps a loved one, go through this kind of thing.
And if either of those are the case for you, then I am truly sorry. And likewise I am truly sorry for those who have witnessed me go through it in the past.
But of course – when it comes to the heart and to ‘flatlining’ in the physical – we have learned so much and have developed such equipment as defibrillators to help kick start the heart back into action.
Something which we are not quite so developed, not so good at when it comes to the mind and the emotions.
Although I have little to no doubt that many have tried ‘shocking’ even ‘shaking’ their loved one’s out of such a status. Even despite the obvious and very real fear that doing so might to more harm than good.
And I yearn – oh how I yearn – to be able to offer some sage advice, some wonderful key that would instantly unlock such situations as the ones I have described above. But alas I know not of such a key, because I recognise that we are all unique and the very things that drive or drag us into such states can be as unique and personal to each of us as the personal pain and distress that it causes those who have to witness them.
But I do know this. That pain and distress comes from your love. And I truly believe that love can reach into the deepest and darkest of circumstances and offer hope. A hope which can save lives and which can change the tides of desperation.
After all, as a Christian, is that not what I believe that God’s love through Christ has done for me, and for so many others.
And after all, is that not one of the reasons why we – those of us who experience mental illness or poor mental health – blog about our experiences? In the hope of reaching out and helping someone else?
So I want to encourage you, if you are going through this or witnessing someone else going though this, to persevere and to continue loving them through it. Who knows, perhaps one day that very love which you selflessly give will be the very thing which reaches into the deep darkness of desperation and touches the person going through it, so that somewhere from within the silent emptiness of both thought and emotion they can see and find their way out.