This is something I wrote a couple years ago. I was staying in a crisis house, undiagnosed at the time, and someone thought a bunch of empty platitudes would help me.
Someone asked me how I’m doing, said hopefully I see the sunshine now. I appreciate the good intentions.
The issue is not that I can’t see the sun. I do know it’s out there. It’s more like the weather is nice there but I’m in the other hemisphere in the middle of winter trapped with three feet of snow on my doorstep.
The sun is out there but my village is flooded and I don’t know how to swim.
The sun is out there but I’m sick and no matter how much I want to be out there my body craves quiet darkness. Weak and frail, it can’t leave the bed.
I can see the sunshine, that has never been an issue. But I can’t see my way to it. I can’t find a way to enjoy it with the dark burden that consumes me.
Think trying to taste your favourite meal that’s in front of you when you have a cold, your nose is blocked and swallowing hurts your throat. Can you truly enjoy it?
I have always been able to see the sunshine and there hasn’t been a day I haven’t resented myself for not being able to go out and enjoy it. Can’t you not see how much I ache to get there?
I am a house on fire and the sunshine doesn’t matter.
“Put your armbands on and keep on swimming through the flood mate, you will get to the other side. Or build a snowman with a carrot for its nose. Think nice thoughts and everything will be ok.”
How can you reduce my suffering to that.
Can you survive a flood with armbands when the water is rushing sweeping cars away?
Can you afford to build a snowman when you can’t even leave the house to buy food?
Can you think your way out of illness with nice thoughts?
How many metaphors or analogies do I need to use to describe my pain before someone, anyone, understands?
I will be lying on an autopsy table and people like you will still believe I just needed to think nicer thoughts.