I see you. I’ve been watching; holding my breath, wringing my hands, anxious for you. I can see your deterioration in the Zoom meetings. Four weeks ago, you were glowing. Time away from the office was good for you. The pressure was off. You could think rationally again. Two weeks ago, that frantic look began creeping back into your eyes. You were spiraling but holding it together. This week, the dark circles are back. There is no power in your voice, and your smile does not reach your eyes if you smile at all. Actually, smiles are rare these days too. There is anxiety wafting from your emails and messages, and every word you speak.
And I just know you are back to square one. Except, there is no escape. No outlet. No distractions from yourself or your thoughts, and no way to pretend that, for at least eight hours out of the day, you have it together; that you are fine.
I know we aren’t friends, but I don’t want to see you hurting. It has been too long. Too many years of people offering suggestions. Read this. Here’s a card. Maybe you should talk to someone. You are not okay. Yet, you won’t budge. You hold tight to your beliefs and delusions and wrap your pride around yourself like a magic cape, praying like hell. You believe if you dominate the conversation with a good, animated story, no one can tell you are holding on by a thread. You believe your struggles are invisible, that you are invisible.
Your greatest fear is that people are talking about you, discussing your shortcomings, weaknesses, and failures. You are right, some of us are talking, but we are trying to determine how we can help. We discuss what can be said to you to give you the courage, the fortitude, to seek help this time.
I joke and talk about my therapy sessions, not because I want to share my life with you, but because I want to normalize those types of conversations. I want you and everyone else to know that therapy is not a dirty word. If a black Christian girl from Baltimore with southern roots can seek help, so can you. We’re all adults here. Your family does not have to know. Maybe, prayerfully, the freedom you find will far outweigh the stigma you’ll face in your family.
I pray for you. Whether you are ready for change and healing or not, I pray. I pray for hope and courage; I pray for deliverance and healing. We are not friends. I’ll never want to hang out at your house, but I also don’t want to see you lonely and dejected. So, I pray and pour strength and love into the connection.
Every day, each of us interacts with someone who is on the brink of falling apart. We each know someone who is so clearly crying for help while simultaneously shunning every offer. Sometimes that person is the one in the mirror. There have been so many times in my life when I walked around grinding and smiling, all while praying for help yet hoping like hell no one could tell I was faking happiness.
I can’t make the storm pass, even though I wish I could. I can pray for you and remind you that you are not alone. It is okay to not feel strong, and it’s okay to not be ready yet or to be ready and afraid. For those of you who were hurting, feeling isolated, depressed, grieving, heartbroken, or stuck, I pray for your healing. I pray for your strength, protection, guidance, and for a loving, supportive circle. I pray that you hold a vision of a brighter future that buoys you through the difficult times, and one day that future comes to pass. Just hold on.