By Hendy Friedman
At my therapy session yesterday, my therapist asked the requisite question about whether I had any thoughts about hurting myself. Thank G-d, I don’t, but the question started me thinking…
During and on the heels of this pandemic, the world is facing a truly horrific mental health crisis. I can attest firsthand to being brought to my knees by trauma, grief, and hopelessness. I’ve struggled, and continue to struggle, with constant and debilitating feelings of pain and sadness. I think of the thousands of people who are living in so much darkness that my experiences pale into insignificance in relation to theirs, and I must admit that I am awed by their strength and courage. I direct these words to them.
This is to you, my fellow denizens in the world of darkness.
I only reside on the outskirts, but I see you.
Yours is a quiet heroism, but it is a heroism so profound, so powerful, it may well be the glue that keeps the entire world from shattering.
Mere mortals could never summon or sustain the kind of strength it takes for you to keep going, to keep breathing, for just one more moment, and then another, and another.
You open your eyes to darkness, yet you keep opening them.
You breathe in suffocating despair, yet you’re still breathing.
That is heroism of the highest order. Respect.
The world needs its heroes, needs you, needs your cosmic and impossible strength more than ever. Please know that if we lost you, the fabric of the universe would be irrevocably fractured.
I cannot tell you that the darkness will dissipate, though I fervently hope it does, but that’s not a promise I can make. I cannot tell you that you will feel better, that you are assured relief from your pain. What I can tell you is that I applaud your courage and envy your strength. I can tell you that the world is so much better with you in it, that you are irreplaceable. I can tell you just how much I want you to stay, how much all of humanity wants you to stay.
In a world torn asunder by pestilence and grief and hatred, your strength is our best hope and without question, our best teacher. If you cannot love yourself right now, please know that you are loved completely and absolutely. You are a part of the human family, and you never give up on family.
If you can manage to reach out for help, please know that there is so much love and support just waiting for you. If you can’t, please, just try to hold on until help finds you.
Whatever happens, we’ve got you, and we won’t let go.
You are my hero, and I will always root for my heroes. Love, hugs, and kisses.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hendy Friedman is a single mom of four children. Her oldest is a remarkable 26 year old young man with Asperger’s and her youngest (and only) daughter is 16, and twice exceptional. She has been running a thriving Special Education private practice for over three decades in addition to her position as an elementary and middle school librarian. Hendy’s superpowers include literacy and social skills/thinking. She is driven to write almost daily and now that her children are older, she has gone back to school where she hopes to eventually earn a doctorate in psychology. Hendy loves to cook, especially gourmet healthy foods, enjoys inventing her own recipes, and she loves hosting Shabbos guests.