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Well, it has been a while, hasn’t it?

OK. I admit it.  A very long while – since I have done any sort of writing of note.  Including writing posts to go on here.  And yes there are numerous reasons for this.  Too many (and some too complicated) to go into now.  Although I will – because it is relevant to this particular post – share a small insight into some of them.

In truth, I have been slowly and quietly isolating again.  Not completely, you understand.  I learned many moons ago that if you fully isolate folk start to notice and then make noises about your doing so.

No I have not withdrawn or isolated completely. Just mostly.

Like those who we used to call ‘Functioning Alcoholics’ – folk who had serious issues with alcohol but who could – in the main – control it just enough to appear to be OK. I have learned to interact just enough to not be of any concern to anyone.

Partly this is through design.  But mostly – it has to be said – this is a Godsend as a result of my faith in Christ and my resultant involvement within a local church.  You see my faith, and my belief that we are called to be part of a local family of believers, prevent me from totally isolating.  And in truth, I am extremely thankful for that.

You see, whilst I am acutely aware of my tendency to isolate and indeed whilst I am freely willing to admit that actually I have grown to prefer isolation over social interaction. I am also still able to see how unhealthy – even harmful and dangerous – this can be.

Being alone with your thoughts – especially if you, like me, suffer with mental health issues – is not a good place to be for any great length of time.

Looking at it from a mental health perspective, it places you in an arena where your thoughts – which we already know are often unhealthy or even harmful – outnumber you. An arena were you are also isolated from any respite or rescue.  One where you don’t have more detached or objective, or even rational, input or any real chance to benefit from external processing resources.

And that is so very dangerous isn’t it?

Looking at it from a spiritual perspective, it places you in an arena where you are facing the enemy alone. An enemy – let’s not forget – which desires so very strongly to keep you isolated.

And, let’s be honest here, whilst your faith might be extremely strong, mental health issues can, and often do; reduce your ability to pray properly, to praise properly, to read the word properly or to even break free or see any light.

I share this – and am writing this post now – not as some cry for help, because the fact is that this post really isn’t about me at all really.  I have shared my personal experiences purely as a way of demonstrating how real this issue is.

But in sharing that part of my personal experiences, I also- in the interest of honesty – have to share that actually reaching out sometimes fails miserably and this can often  add to the tendency, or the urge, or the perceived need, to isolate.

Especially when you finally get up enough strength to give a voice to your need, or to your pain.  To admit your isolation and are then met with well intended, but effectively empty, promises.

And what about those who haven’t actually chosen – or made the decision – to isolate? Those whom life seems to have simply let slip into isolation.  Those who time or the pressures or demands of our lives have simply distracted and then separated us from?

The few people who actually know me well enough to have had more than a throw away candyfloss conversation with, will know that this is something that has been on my heart for some time now.  But it is also something which is even more of an issue around the Christmas period.  As this is one of those times when that ‘isolation’ can be even more acute and have even more of an impact on folk who are isolated.

And this, in truth, is one of the reasons why I am writing this post now.  The other reason is what I will close this post with.  Whilst waiting for a video I was making to finished exporting, I scrolled through my facebook page this morning and saw a video which my friend and fellow blogger Cate had shared on her feed.

The video is one for a simply excellent song written and performed by Lucy Spraggen and which she co-directed, alongside Damien Reeves at Noisebox Films. And which features Thomas Turgoose.

This song, as she explains on her YouTube feed of this song/video, is “about the impact mental health can have on us; whether you are the person suffering or you are a friend or family of someone who isn’t well.”

And as she goes on to say…

“I think the most vital thing to remember is that if you are in either of those situations or something similar, it’s time to reach out.”

So I close this post with that wonderful video and with an encouragement for you to subscribe to her channel and indeed to purchase this song – both of which you can find out how to do by clicking on the YouTube link at the bottom of the video.

But before I do close this post, I also want to add a personal statement and encouragement onto Lucy’s statement that “it’s time to reach out.”

Yes it is ‘time to reach out’.  In fact it has been time to do so for some while now. But please don’t reach out and then drop the person you have reached out to.  Don’t keep reaching out and dropping them every now and then.  Be consistent, continuous, feed your relationship with that person and let it grow and blossom and bless you and them and all around you!