Sometimes, life does everything within its power to tear us down. It throws everything it's got at us. It can be exhausting and can leave us lying there on the floor, with all of the energy drained from our bodies.
Everything becomes black - although black doesn't seem dark enough, or all-encompassing enough to describe the thick fog that smothers everything and makes it so hard to breathe.
Moving becomes hard. Moving hurts, it really hurts. It's exhausting and it hurts. Reaching to take a sip of a cup of tea can feel as energy-consuming as going on a 10-mile run. So we don't.
We can't face going to bed, because going to bed means waking up, and waking up means doing another day. We can't see any light. We can't see any future. We have no hope.
We don't know how to live any more.
I'm not going to sit here and tell you that 'it gets better', because it's probably the last thing you want to hear. It can feel really frustrating when people keep saying that it gets better, because when things are that dark, we can't see it, and we can't believe it. It can almost feel like everyone's just saying it so that they don't have to talk to us about how crap things are any more. Sometimes we just want to shout 'when?!'. 'When is it going to get better? Because it's been really rubbish for a really long time and I'm tired and I don't have the strength to fight this anymore'.
When we can no longer carry some hope, we have to let others carry it for us for a little while.
We have to let others carry it for us, until a time when we can pick it back up again.
This can come in the form of colleagues telling us they're looking forward to us returning to work. It could be a boss reminding us that we have skills and talents. A GP saying 'see you next week' or a health care assistant telling us about their weekend. It can be a friend hugging us while we cry and cry, or another friend who spends their Friday evening helping us to write a list of '30 reasons to stay alive until Saturday'. It can be a family member inviting us over in a few days time. It can be literally anyone at all who refuses to believe that we might not be able to recover from this.
We need these people to keep believing in us. We need these people who can see us having a future. We need these people who refuse to let us die.
Eventually, in time, we will find glimmers of hope again. We will find cracks of light. We will begin find things to believe in, and our little pile of good things will grow. We might find them in the most unexpected of places - a podcast that speaks to us, the ability to read a page of text, or the joy of being able to taste a cup of tea again. It might take weeks, it might take months, it might even take years, but it will happen.
Until it does happen, until we can carry our own hope again, we have to let others carry it for us.