Despite its hollow and sombre apparitions, the sky holds all rain in a state of barely-stable overruling suspension. Walking in the chill of the night air, lit by streetlamps and car headlights, her breath forms a surreptitious trail, coercing her, supernatural-like, towards the headlights of the car taxiing down the ghostly road but a few feet sideways. She steps out. The flask she’s been holding drops to the floor, and-

Hold on.
Hold on.
This isn’t Hollywood, after all.

This is, for many, daily life. Not so literally, needless to say: but the battle of mental illness and feelings of despair are experiences held by over one in four of the population, at any one time.

This is not a love story, where the super-sexy, groomed and flawless man in the business suit saves the tragic heroin from the depths of her mind, or where the man on the bridge jumps, only to be caught by the future love of his life. Neither, I should emphasise, must it end in movie-like tragedy.

Because in this real-life version of events, there are things you can do to manage, challenge, and even overcome the horrors of psychological diseases. Even though you may feel alone, isolated and even as though you will never feel joy again, I can assure; you are not, and you shall. There is no proof, no absolute certainty, that you will, at last, find a place of emotional freedom, away from your mental anguish-life comes with no guarantees. So, all I can really ask, from one human to another, is that you trust me when I tell you, sincerely, that it does exist, and it can be done. I’m not saying that managing mental illness is easy; I’m saying that it is very strongly possible.

There are people who understand the demons you’re facing-if not with you now, you will inevitably find them at some point within the near future. Never forget that there are over 7 billion people on this planet, all with their separate lives, fables and dreams: statistically, from a mathematical point of analysis, you will find someone like-minded to share the pages of your story with and emotionally intertwine with.

I say that not to give you a false sense of security, to sound fluffy and cliche, but because it is true. Soulmates do exist: romantically, but also, very much platonically.

We are all, technically alone: but through sharing, listening and understanding, we have the ability to become one body and soul. And that amazing connection happens between billions of people every day. There is no reason to lose hope. I am sitting here writing this, and if you’re reading this, then I hope that it is true to say that you and I have already connected in some bizarre and abstract sense.

Life is a roller-coaster: ups and downs. True ,there are days full of loss. Full of heartbreak and despair. But most of all, overpoweringly, there is a force that combats all of these things:

It is, quite simply, hope.