From Alan

Dear You

My friend, please allow me the privilege of calling you this  as I hope by the end of this, you will sense that is what I  am and open to be there for you if you need one. An ear to listen, a voice to calm your fears, a smile to reassure that you're not alone.

Some call our illness, the disease of loneliness. Our illness is invisible and we can and do feel so isolated as to be socially invisible to those around us. Even those that care can not see the heart-crushing pain that you feel right now; the feeling that you can't go through another of those terrible times. The interminable confusion in your mind, the inability to concentrate, the lack of energy just lifting the weight of the duvet and facing the day or worse to fight it any longer. 

Though I know you may not see or know this yet if you're still in the depths of the hole where you can see nothing but blackness all around you, there are people who care. I am one who has seen its universal bleakness and experienced the bleaker reality of suffering without the cushion of love; but that began to end when I started to reach out and talk. And I was surprised by what I heard from those around me, how many had their own similar experiences or just how many cared. Of course there is ignorance too but that is the exception and not the norm. I am one who sees and hears you. And I care. That's why I write this openly to you.

Everyday is still a challenge for me and it will probably remain so for sometime to come. But that's ok. Yes that's right, it's ok. It's ok to accept this because that means we have the strength to take this on - challenge its humbling lows and excruciating pain. I don't always have my shit together - I still have incredibly bad days, if you wonder how I can write this now when you feel you couldn't possibly, don't, because like you a few months ago I could not read more than two words of one line of a single paragraph that you have read so far. 

You currently live in a world that is irrevocably disordered and chaotic. Don't think or wish that you have to totally control the chaos inside your head, keep it inside and not let it out, make perfect choices, be perfect at work. I tried that, it did not work. It could not work. At times you may feel that the illness is spoiling your life and those you love, that without you everyone could be better off without you. But many will owe the happiness of their life to you. It's sometimes just difficult to see that. 

For now, try not to struggle on, know you can ask for help and people will be there for you. Know that I for one will respect you whatever you do. Whatever you feel. Whatever you  choose. Also know that are not alone and never will be.

Your friend