Just talk…

We live at a time when it has never been easier to contact another. With the tap on a mobile/cell phone we can speak by voice, by video, and by text with someone five minutes away to five thousand miles away. We may have 1000s of friends on Facebook, or followers on Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, yet find in an evening we still have nobody to talk to or go to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster with us. We can send a message to say ‘hello’ but receive no replies, which makes us wonder are they ignoring us, scared of what we will say or ask of them, or perhaps their social media erroneously is showing their presence online. The light has gone green, but no traffic is flowing our way, as wonder who are true friends are, and who is truly there for us when we need it.

We have never been so connected with other people, but we have never been so disconnected. Meet up with a friend and they spend all the time staring blankly at the black mirror we keep in our bags, or take selfies to show off where they are and show off their latest look or plate of food, make others look at who they are with but mock that you are not, almost giving the middle finger to those they did not invite. Making permanent records of our lives, but only it may be far from real; creating a version that we curate as want to be seen a certain way by others, composing near fictional tales of just how great truly is for us (but may also want to create the opposite so that gain the sympathy and empathy of others). Making it near impossible to differentiate from the girl that needs help from the boy crying wolf for the tenth time, how do we know when to ask the question ‘are you okay’?

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, a day that should remind us that a conversation is two way traffic, listening does not mean gazing into our black mirrors and pretend that we have heard or even care what another has said, but being an active participant. It only takes a minute to change somebody’s life, be it a passing smile to a strange in the street to a random compliment on a tattoo they have as like the design, or like on a picture just to say we have seen it and acknowledge what its message is. No matter how dark life may seem, how hopeless and lost we feel, there will always be someone who can help, even if it is not the first person. We need to keep going and learn those that are there for us without judgement, and not tell all we tell them in whispers of gossip, but we must remember to be there for them too in return. So please reach out, tell someone that the rain has return, and tired of trying to learn to dance in the rain to our own beat as all too often it is dancing to another’s that causes the problem. Never feel alone, the darkness lies, and don’t give up.

© Fi S. J. Brown

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World Mental Health Day (2016)

If we lived in a world like something from a science fiction novel where we could go for a full body scan at any time that would tell us what was physically and mentally wrong, which would be followed up with a customised pill to cure whatever was wrong with us, would we live differently to as we do now? Would we be free from bullying and abuse or jealousy and envy? How would we define or set limits to what a normal human body should and should not be capable of? Would a human being’s blueprint be just like we read about in science textbooks? What about individualism? Would we see that as dangerous as all should looks and feel the same with a hive mind? Is being different being abnormal?

Now consider the world we do live in. Why when someone is diagnosed with cancer, arthritis or asthma are our reactions different to dissociative identity disorder, schizophrenia, and anxiety? Why do some let a diagnosis change how they see a person was from the person they knew yesterday? Why are they now not normal, and what therefore is normal? We are not robots or clones, we do not experience this world in the same way as anyone else has or ever will again. A book can only so show much of the human experience, but does not allow for individualism that comes from being true to ourselves and living life the way that is normal for the journey we alone are on.

What about the future? In the past we may have swept problems or issues under the proverbial carpet to locking someone up in an asylum as a danger to society, but even now mental health issues are stigmatised as cannot see by looking at someone how much they are suffering mentally. More and more the world is getting darker with fear, greed, envy and jealousy, instead of light with hope, empathy, compassion, and understanding. Unless some of us start to punch holes in this darkness it will only continue until we all stagger around blind and deaf to the needs of others. Today World Mental Health Day, so let us use it as a stepping stone to hold open doors and windows with light today and every day.

© Fi S. J. Brown

The Rowing Boat

Depression can leave you feeling like you’re sat lost on a wooden boat in the middle of the sea. Rowing every direction but forward as you fear the unknown that lies ahead and the pains from the past although distant still leave a bitter sting. Every wave that hits the boat makes it feel like it will soon break into hundred pieces, leaving you stranded with cuts from clinging on to the driftwood and fearing that you will never be rescued, becoming just another one that was lost and drowned at sea.
 
It is at that moment that you should pause, not stop to give up but pause. Let the tears fall from your eyes like rain to a forest for you’re not a robot or desert. It does not matter if you did not pack flares to show your light to others because it is within you. Listen for the birds for they are wise and are your friends and are there even when you cannot see them or think that there are none. Shut your eyes and count to five, repeat this three times, and now look to see the land you never saw before.
 
As you and your boat head to the land do not expect it to be heaven or hell, take each moment as it comes and tackle any of your problems as they occur before they suffocate. As you reach the shore, make a note place your boat somewhere that it can remind you of your journey to get there. Now as you land, take that first step on the beach feel the grains with your hands and feet, you are like those grains; a small grain in a big world, but also each one matters just as you do to others.
 
© Fi S. J. Brown

Love and light

Events over the last few days in Orlando to West Yorkshire have sent many of us in tears and asking for answers we do not even know how to formulate the questions to beyond the simplest ‘why’. It is times like this that can bring us together in love and grief but equally tear us apart in hate as wave the finger of blame with a thirst for revenge; there is enough blood being spilt worldwide right now without us adding to it.
Consider for a minute why do we paint a sky one shade of blue or grass one shade of green, when they are many different shades? Just as these events are done by one grey shade of humanity that does not mean they represent all of us; nor for example will every person that worships an afro haired Martian called Bob will do extreme things such yarn bombing trees, some are happy to knit hats and scarves in their homes.
Now pick up your matches or lighter, not for a fire but to light a candle, and let us set off a light beacon of love and hope throughout the world, driving out those that want us to live in fearful and hateful darkness. Then pick up your phone to ring, text, email or Facebook those you love to remind them just how special they are to you and do this often as today is now, where as tomorrow is a whisper but not a promise to anyone.
© Fi S. J. Brown

Beating depression

Depression you will not beat me:

I shall turn your rhythm upside down and turn you into a happy song of colour not grey melancholy blues;

I shall sing a melody that echoes the birds outside my window and not that of a caged ones lament;

I shall survive with the lyrics written my left wrist and “believe it again” as their wisdom echoes within my soul;

I shall play it like Sam until my dying day and never give up on myself or others, or wave that flag of white.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Comfort and joy

Tills and bells ring to the tune of the festive season, mimicking the sound of Santa Claus’ sleigh on that night that make young and old rejoice. Yet every night in the sky the stars ring out but few stop to listen to them toll, as grown deaf to their gentle chimes. They bring comfort and joy wherever they ring, but many would rather the sound of a new iPhone 6 held in their hands.

Do not let the ransom notes of the advertisements tease and torment the soul, and fill it with nothing but greed and envy instead of glowing from inside out like the moon. A gift does not have to be bought to show the sounds of our heart when the recipient is near, for it echoes in our words and actions every day; feeling the most precious gifts of all – love, peace, hope and light.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Black Friday

Today has been termed “Black Friday” where retailers try to entice us to buy yet more goods we do not need; it won’t improve our lives to own something and nor will we look cool to show off what we bought on social media. At a time when many people are struggling to pay their rent, bills and food, do we really need to buy more?

Instead I would like to use it as a day we think of the darkness or black in the world. Not everyone has a place to call home, a job or people to call family. Equally, many live with physical and mental conditions or coming to terms with terminal ones. Also, many these days have a sense of “as long as I’m ok!” Where is the empathy?

As well as thinking of black in the world, let us send hope and peace with light of multicolour to brighten up the world. We need love, empathy and compassion to all living creatures of this world. Finally, let us breakdown barriers and labels we use to judge others, respecting and appreciate all.

© Fi S. J. Brown

The Tunnels

What is depression? If you have not ever experienced it, as it is not physical disease like heart disease or high blood pressure, or visual so others cannot see internally what damage it is doing, so therefore is hard to explain in a way for others to be empathetic and try to understand. For me at my worst it was like a series of tunnels, constantly under attack by forces unknown, whilst scrambling on my hands and knees trying to find an end with a light that was the end. When pulled from the tunnels by some incredible friends it felt like I was pulled from a well. At first as I was adjusting to what could be light, I often could feel my fingers slipping back down only for them to grab me and pull me back. I am now free from the tunnels and learning to enjoy the light, even if it burns my eyes at times. I know I do not want to fall back among the maze of tunnels, so found writing and photography give both a voice and image to how I feel and give hope to others still stuck among the tunnels.

© Fi S. J. Brown

tunnels

Don’t stop believing

Believe in yourself as the unique, beautiful and talented human being you are,
Believe in your love as has created a you-shaped hole in the hearts of others,
Believe in your dreams so make the first step to fulfilling them today not tomorrow,
Believe in your strength that no matter how hard today seems it will get easier,
Believe in your instincts if does not feel right on any level better to walk away,
Believe in your heart that you try and give your best to those that deserve it,
Believe in your light that radiates giving hope and love to others that you meet,
Believe in you are here for a reason but finding it is part of the mystery of life,
Believe in you and do not give up as tomorrow maybe the day it truly begins.

© Fi S. J. Brown