To my strong, exhausted friend.

Dear you,

I see you.

You cover it well, but I know how tired you are.

Pretending you are coping, painting on a bright smile and saying ‘everything is fine’.

Worn out from hiding the effort it is taking you to get through each day.

You rarely let your guard down.

Occasionally I glimpse, past the work, the relentless striving and the competency, and I see you holding on for dear life.

Desperately trying to keep it together.

Pretending you can do it all.

Hoping no one sees your panic.

Faking it til you make it in the hope one day you will, and this won’t have all been for nothing.

I can see the frantic whirr in your eyes.

I know you are terrified of what would happen if you finally laid it all down and said, “I’m done.”

You are wound so tight and fearful of what the unravelling will look like.

I watch as you bite your lip to stop saying what you really need to say:

that you are overwhelmed, but don’t know how to stop.

Have you admitted the truth to yourself?

Do you think you know too much to be ill?

You are not used to being the patient, needing support.

You are the one who offers help, not the one who receives it.

Do you know how fragile you are?

(and how precious?)

I am not going to sugar coat it,

it will be messy.

To be honest and give up.

To surrender.

You will feel over-exposed and will worry about what this will mean for you.

How will others respond when you are the one with questions, not answers?

But underneath, at the end of the day when you sit alone, you will find a peace that appears after the storm, when the old masks of competency and achievement and capacity have been burnt to the ground.

You will sit and see beauty in the patterns the ashes make on the floor, in the light as it falls unfiltered through the window pane.

And you will begin to feel the possibilities of the spacious place this fine death has created.

I know you don’t want to hear this and you think you can keep on, keeping on, but really dear friend this end will be so good.

It will make room for the new.

Yes, there is pain ahead. Change always brings loss.

But you are not alone. There are others of us here who have walked this road.

We have felt we were losing our minds, ourselves, everything.

It was only afterwards we saw not what we had lost, but what we had found, and it was beautiful.

So stop.

Unwind.

Unravel.

Let it go.

All of it.

Lay your burdens down.

Come and sit here with me, there is room for you.

 

Big love,

X


I wrote this letter for anyone who has been telling themselves that it is just them – that everyone else copes and they need to just knuckle down and stop complaining.

For anyone who can’t relax and doesn’t know how to stop. For anyone who would love to rest but has no idea how that could ever be possible.

I wrote this because this is how I felt for a long time.

A failure, guilty, unsatisfied, lonely.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

If you are needing some help to remember that there is hope I have made a seven day series just for you. Fill in the form below and I will send a note to your inbox every day for the next week. I hope these meditations are words of life and comfort for you.

Each email also comes with an audio download so, if you prefer, you can choose for me to speak these words over you instead of reading them for yourself.

Love, Elli x

21 Comments
  • Lisa
    Posted at 08:54h, 17 August Reply

    I love this!
    This encompasses all I was 13 years ago… not anymore. I stopped and broke and then mended!! Thank you for being so honest and eloquent with your story.
    Keep sharing x

  • Jane
    Posted at 12:17h, 23 August Reply

    Thank you for writing this. I am just at that exact place right now. It is so helpful to read someone else write exactly what I am feeling! My husband has Anxiety also, and your blog posts are so helpful in realising that we are not the only people that feel this way! I recently got in touch with a trusted friend and Psychologist and she is helping us to put some plans in place for a better future, so we’re at the very beginning of the journey. It is so true, I have actually felt much worse since I made that first visit, but I am trusting that God has got this and recovery and ‘learning to live’ is possible.

    • ElliJohnson
      Posted at 13:23h, 24 August Reply

      Thanks for your words Jane. It is overwhelming at the beginning. I know that too well. I felt as though every element of my life was going to have to change – and to be honest, most of it has! But it has been such good changes. All change is hard, but it is so good and worthwhile. Glad the posts have helped – my anxiety was very unmanageable for a while and it was very difficult for my husband for a while. Knowledge is power here though, as once he (we) knew we were not alone but that other people also struggle and have found ways to live in a healthier way – it was a great relief. I have had many people who have shown me the way in the past few years – some in the flesh and some through books and podcasts, glad to be part of that journey for you. Good luck! Big love x

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  • Samantha Anne
    Posted at 11:01h, 27 September Reply

    Thank you. Just, thank you.
    This letter spoke to me about coping with my physical health. It’s all the same. I recently had to let go and go off work sick for a while (I work in mental health) and when I finally did it was the most incredible relief.
    Instead of feeling terrified (as I had been dreading) about how on earth I would pay the bills and cope in general, I am filled with new possibilities.
    Mindfulness has taught me to embrace and notice all that living with chronic pain has given me (it took several years to find – but it’s there) mostly in the form of the truly incredible people in my life and the strength of the most amazing relationships – I don’t know if they would be there were it not for the battles and the suffering. I connect with the amazing people I work with on a far more profound level too – because I have felt their suffering.
    No matter how bleak and terrifying it feels right now, there is hope and life will feel good again. It won’t be the same and it won’t be how you thought it would be, but it will be good again.
    Thank you for your beautiful words, Elli.
    Much love
    Sam x

  • Vicki
    Posted at 06:16h, 10 October Reply

    Wow..what a beautiful article…thsnk you 🙂

  • Adam
    Posted at 15:17h, 17 October Reply

    Thank you so much for posting the words I have been trying to find from within myself every day so far during my recent depression. I have been suffering this bout of depression for 6 months or so now. The days seem to merge together. I have battled on to prove that my suicide attempt 6 months ago was just a cry for help, not my true intention for life. Inside for a while before that almost final day and ever since, this is how I have felt. I don’t want to give up, I’ve never been a quitter at anything but my depression at times has gotten me so low that I have considered it, including the time I tried. These words you have posted have finally given me a way to explain it to friends and family so they can understand the pain I am in inside mentally and the physical drain it is causing me.

    • ElliJohnson
      Posted at 19:23h, 17 October Reply

      Hi Adam, thanks for your message. I am so sorry you are struggling so much. I am glad my words have put language to how you are feeling. I really hope you find some help that helps. Keep going, eventually it will ease, I can only say that because it always has for me. Much love x

  • Alex
    Posted at 08:54h, 04 November Reply

    Sounds like chronic fatigue syndrome/ ME. Nearly two years since ‘crashing’ (forced stop) l, and diagnosis. Worth looking up The Chrysalis Effect programme for holistic help to rebuild. Getting there… Something in modern life is making this happen to more and more people.

  • Sue
    Posted at 14:05h, 06 November Reply

    Couldn’t have written better how I feel right now but is so hard to admit defeat and ask for help. Off to docs tomorrow and hoping I’ll feel brace enough to admit it then. Thanks for your words.

    • ElliJohnson
      Posted at 17:23h, 06 November Reply

      Well done Sue, this is the hard good stuff. Be brave. Much love x

  • Wenna
    Posted at 15:00h, 10 November Reply

    Thank you. I feel so broken at this hour of my life. Thank you for understanding.

    • ElliJohnson
      Posted at 09:52h, 13 November Reply

      HI Wenna, I am so sorry you are in such a hard place. Sending you much love. XX

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  • Katy White
    Posted at 17:27h, 30 January Reply

    I love this! I was that person in November. I finally acknowledged everything was not ok & massively crashed. I am starting to recover thanks to so much support from family & friends. I am trying to be honest about my mental health & hope that others can be too. Thank you x

    • ElliJohnson
      Posted at 17:30h, 30 January Reply

      Good for you. Well done for admitting you were not okay – that takes guts. And yes, honesty is needed. All the best, much love x

  • Julia
    Posted at 14:20h, 24 February Reply

    Thank you.

  • Caroline
    Posted at 23:59h, 15 April Reply

    Wow! Words can’t explain how much this speaks to me. I’m a twenty something in my 5th year of living with multiple chronic health issues, and I’m currently in a season of feeling overwhelmed at how hard it is to make it through each day. I stumbled across this post online, but will definitely be following your blog for more. Thank you so much, C xx

  • Kim Williams
    Posted at 10:05h, 26 April Reply

    I can absolutely relate to this and have just shared it on my Facebook page. I am coming to the end of 2 months off work with anxiety and depression. By the time I crashed my brain was whirring at 200miles an hour , I literally could not stop thinking! I couldn’t understand why everyone around me looked like they were coping fine and beat myself up for being how I was which only made it worse….It took a good while before I was able to let go of that guilt and shame. As a health professional myself I thought I should be invincible! I’m back to work soon, I need to get back into a normal routine to continue my recovery but it’s been a timely reminder that I need to look after me and be mindful of each day and taking too much on. Thank you so much for writing this……We are all in it together. Much love,
    Kim

  • Helen Galloway
    Posted at 21:50h, 24 January Reply

    This is very helpful . It’s so hard to just be yourself good days bad days and just stop fighting yourself. To face the future knowing that you don’t have to have all the answers or flog yourself to death. To accept that some people are just people and if they don’t like you be able to accept and move on. Fabulous x

    • ElliJohnson
      Posted at 09:51h, 25 January Reply

      So glad you found the post helpful. Self acceptance is the key to everything I think. Much love to you x

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