Treat everyone how you want to be treated…even when you’re low 🖤

It’s been a hard week. My creative juices have completely dried up at the hands of some careless people who choose to be unaccountable for their actions.

I’m not a bitch, let’s just lay that on the table. I’ve spent my life trying to treat people with the same care, thought, love and attention that I hope for myself. I’ve made mistakes and I’ve paid the price for them, but I guess you live and learn. At the age of 40 I’ve started to reflect on the past and realise that I have to be accountable too, because one day it’s likely my child will want to understand more about me. I don’t want her to wait until it’s too late for her to ask questions, so my partner and I operate in an honest space with no secrets, something I’ve never had in past relationships.

Why does all this matter?

Well, I suppose when I have these periods where I go ‘dark’ I think about the pain I experience and how other people might feel in the same headspace. It’s sometimes even a relief to put the difficulty on someone else’s imaginary shoulders and offer them support even though you’re struggling yourself.

That statement sounds as crazy as my brain, but honestly it’s true. Using your lowest point to reflect on someone else’s struggle is helpful. In that moment you know, you feel, you hurt with that consuming darkness and you can understand what someone else is feeling far better. Their tears, their disbelief, their shock, everything is easier to understand when you feel it too.

Think about this – there have probably been times when you, completely innocently, dismissed the behaviour of someone else as melodramatic or attention seeking. I’ve done that. I’m not proud of it, but I have. And it’s taken me 40 years to learn to step back from those negative projections and try to find more sympathy and empathy for other peoples situations. You just don’t know what someone is living with and with that in mind, you shouldn’t really judge without real understanding.

I’m no angel. I’m not even a cherub. My devil horns have retracted, but you can still feel the stumps. But I know my life experiences transfer to a better understanding of someone else’s pain.

I neatly transfer to an example of how I recently used my own pain creatively to help someone else out.

I have a handful of friends, but I care enormously about every one of them. So when I recently found myself watching on the sidelines as one of them was breaking I was desperate to find a way to help.

Now, like most people, I don’t have money or possessions that I can throw at the problem, as an agoraphobic I can even visit someone. But I realise that’s probably the easiest but least effective solution anyway. What I do have is the ability to draw something (as an amateur) from the heart with the intention of bringing warmth back to their frost.

I thought for a while about what to draw. This friend has a cat that helps at difficult times and always needs reminders to breathe and centre when things get tough. The obvious answer was a feline friend who can help when I’m not able to answer a message.

Enter ‘Oxygen’ the cat. My imaginary invention, who now 100% belongs to my friend and is therefore on loan to my website. He’s friendly, he’s fluffy, he’s warm and he likes cuddles. But he’s also damaged and has flaws, which makes him real.

I sent him over with a genuine message of love, explaining why he’s been made and officially giving him away with full custody. My friend was so happy, so touched that I’d made it clear I was thinking of them and wanted to help, even if it is in a crazy insignificant way.

So the lesson in my eyes is that you don’t need to be physically rich to help someone. We all have something in our locker that can create a smile. Maybe you could walk someone’s dog, send a letter, write a poem, FaceTime, recommend a book, help decorate, offer a lift, or like me, you could just draw a picture. Support, love and care come from the heart, so whatever you can offer, will help. It will.

This helped me, and that makes me selfish. If you agree with that statement then I understand why. But I had good intentions and in the end I used the only gift I can offer, creativity, to help someone out AND most importantly, it worked. It took someone out of their struggle for a few seconds and made them smile. That’s good, right?

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

So he’s here on loan, as I mentioned. His owner is hopefully looking at him now and remembering that he’s important and not forgotten.

For balance…

You know what else I recommend? Get yourself a Netflix subscription and bash out a whole series of Selling Sunset when you can’t sleep. In my dreams I’m as beautiful as the women and as rich as the buyers. It’s my guilty pleasure that I’m sharing with you 😊.

Whatever you do today, try to throw in an extra smile or ‘thank you’ . Visit that friend. Make that call. Send that card. Write that message.

Raise. A. Smile.

Published by stephc2021

Hi! I'm Steph, an amateur writer and illustrator specialising in Mental Health and being a self-confessed Spoonie. My website is home to any successful fiction I create, with stories that have won so far covering difficult subjects such as baby loss and mental health in grief as well as some funny and heart-warming tales when I get the inspiration. Every drawing and picture on my website was created by me. I spend a lot of time coming up with illustrations to accompany all of my posts and pages. I try to create original content across all of my channels, whether I'm writing about my own fiction or just generally musing on mental health or my own issues. I want to be part of the change because I believe the understanding of MH in the UK is getting better, but has a very long way to go. By being honest about my own struggles and symptoms I think others will relate and hopefully it will encourage them to talk to someone and get the help and support they need. Long term my goal is to help children too, help them understand their own mental health and how to help with the mental health of those around them. I live in the UK with my partner, daughter and dog, I swear frequently and I adore a well made, traditional, gooey, chocolatey, delicious brownie.

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