Reasons to Live

29th Sept 2019

My GP recommended, I see a theatre adaptation of Matt Haig’s brave and honest memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive. It was brilliant and I ordered his book. For those unfamiliar, it covers the subjects of wanting to leave life and depression.

Labels can be extremely damaging. Those with mental health issues can be treated as sub human, whose emotions and intellect are often rationally ignored by the supposedly cognitive elite who are able to rationalise their inhumanity though such labels.

Labels can leave people untrusted, undervalued and ignored. As such children and adults with labels can be depowered and made more vulnerable at the very time they require support.

We can easily help people with a damaged limb, but mental health is often invisible. Those without experience assume that they understand dark places of the mind and often offer little more than basic common-sense advice, whilst standing unaware that their position is one of almost complete naivety, exempt from broad emotional intelligence.

It is all too easy to slip into processes, action or advice that do not actually meet the needs of the individual, even if they do make their helper feel better.

Only those who have been in these dark places can have an inkling of their power.

There can be a huge gap between emotional experience and pseudo theoretical intellectuality, as indeed there can be between being hopeful and realistic, the latter of which avoids repetitive demoralisation. Both need to be combined.

Intellectuals can offer supposedly insightful information based on guess-timates that are far from empirical or evidenced based, even when presented as such. Look for a rainbow to find those with knowledge and the compassion to use it appropriately with a big heart – people of such gold dust really do exist.

One of the two greatest commandments is to love neighbours, irrespective of their labels. Those with mental heath issues are first and foremost PEOPLE and their humanity is never lost. The world might value the size of a person’s status and wealth, but God values the size of their loving heart.

Real love is evident in action, rather than an academic focus on deep dive narrow detail that blurs the full picture, potentially missing its beauty and meaning entirely. This is also true theologically.

Love evident through action is far more challenging than mere synthesis of knowledge. But action is the way to go, and such love shown by friends and family is exceptionally helpful.

Post-accident family care
to and from puppy Artie.