The next season of Open Me has begun, in brief it is a series of reflections for those working with young people, to encourage their own spiritual growth and engagement. The theme for this series is tenacity and I’ve been thinking about how important this quality is, not only in a faith context, but in many other areas of life.
Tenacity is the ability to cling on, to keep going, to persist. The image that springs to mind is that of a barnacle, this creature’s continued existence depends on its ability to cling to the rock it finds itself on. Perhaps a woodpecker is a more positive image – continuing to knock against the tree trunk despite little evidence of progress until breakthrough occurs! It occurred to me then that this quality is an important one when it comes to mental health. Matt Haig in his must-read book Reasons to Stay Alive talks about carrying on with life even though everything seems impossible, the guys at To Write Love On Her Arms are intent on celebrating that most ‘normal’ of things with their slogan And So I Kept Living. Of course for those who struggle with panic, anxiety or depression, among many other illnesses which affect our mental wellbeing, the idea of keeping on living is far from ‘normal’. In fact if you know someone who has suicidal thoughts (you probably do) or suffers from other forms of mental illness, the very fact that they are still alive means they have this tenacity in spade loads. So tell them. Tell them you’re thankful that they are still here, tell them that they are enough/amazing/loved, tell them the world, your world, is a better place with them in it. Write it down, post it on their social media newsfeed, say it every which way you can, regularly and especially when they need to hear it.
And let’s be tenacious in the fight against these awful illnesses which threaten to rob us and those we love of hope and joy.
Connect with Matt Haig through his twitter feed: @matthaig1
Connect with To Write Love On Her Arms here
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