‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.’ – 1 Peter 5:8-9
One of the first impacts of mental illness is isolation – be it sought out willingly or obtained through ostracization.
It cuts us off, separates us from our friends, our family.
Our supports networks.
And its clever – it does so gradually, like the proverbial frog boiled from tepid water.
All of a sudden there’s no escape and our world collapses.
Like the wolves who separate the weak sheep from a herd – it gets us alone, and begins to devour.
Resisting is hard.
When you have fought for so long and tried so hard to hold on however you could, trying crutch after crutch after crutch to get you through the day – its hard to imagine fellowship.
Its hard to imagine anyone else ever having felt as bad as this.
Any way out has been lost, taken from you as the relationships you slowly drifted from seem to far gone to resurrect.
But we are not alone.
Millions of people around the world struggle with mental illness on a daily basis.
In Australia alone, eight people a day lose their lives to suicide.
In a world that is more connected than ever before, how have we become so alone?
How can we, through the same lines of binary code, research statistics on international suicide rates and yet feel so far apart from anything that could help us?
How can we preach perfection on our personal media – the perfection that entails perfect smiles and posed happy snaps – and still fail to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves?
The internet is, as an entity, bigger than any of us.
Yet it leaves us hollowed out, ripped off and lonely.
It gives us the illusion of inclusion, with the reality of seclusion, as we tap away at our keyboards and feel we have somehow changed the world.
Real life isn’t Instagrammable.
Real life is messy, and hard, and so much more than any virtual reality could ever encapsulate.
And when you look at that perfect post, the perfect teeth, the perfect life – remember: a picture may tell a thousand words, but a thousand words can not contain all a person truly is.
Those sufferings you face that make you feel all alone are being felt by people all over the world.
We just need to stop pretending.