Before The Beginning

You are probably feeling something like this:

Please get me out of this.

Please tell me what to do.
Please make this get better.
I can’t do this anymore.
I’m so lost.
I don’t know what to do.
I don’t know what to do.
I don’t know what to do.
Just help me, please.

Before you can begin to move forward, you need to be clear with where you are right now. Because this is your starting place, and you need to know what kind of ground you have beneath you before you’ll be able to take each next step.

If you’ve asked Help Me Please, then you have arrived at a serious personal limitation, due to some overwhelming situation in your life. You are at least in serious difficulty, and possibly in great pain, emotionally or physically or both.

The intensity will vary for each of you. You may be temporarily feeling a little overwhelmed by something that is rippling out to stress a few other areas of your life, and you want some options for right now, even though you feel that tomorrow or next week things will probably be better anyway;

Or you might be deeply despairing, empty, terrified, alone, dying, can’t take this anymore, beaten down and broken, and the many other words and phrases you use to describe what you’re going through. Your problems may be overwhelming to such a degree they’re rippling outward to affect every aspect of your life, it’s all crashing down, and you have no hope for escaping this or turning it around in the future.

You all have one thing in common, and it’s the crux this entire book is built around: the problems that flooded you along to this point may have entered your life as individual and specific, but now they have evolved–or devolved–to a state that is past being comprised of separate isolated circumstances.

If your difficulties were still specific, you would right now be looking for help on how to heal from abuse, how to dig yourself out of debt, how to make money, how to face dying, how to cope with loss, how to overcome addictions, how to manage or escape toxic relationships, or the thousands of other phrases that directly address your specific problems. Before your situation slid down to this present point, you probably did search for more specific help for your issues.

But you’re not searching for those right now. You’re here because your problems don’t seem so separate and isolated anymore. They feel like they’re clumping together into a lumpy mass that may be choking your forward movement, your ability to cope, your happiness, and perhaps this lumpy mass is threatening your health and your life. You may even be approaching, or already within, a state of personal crisis.

So this is not a vague ‘Hey, could use a little help here’ request. Whether you’re temporarily overwhelmed, or whether you’ve been in difficulty for a long time and it’s dragging down your life and health, you are now in a situation that almost everyone in the world has faced or will face at some point along their lives:

You are making a solid and forceful call, arising from deep within you. You are making YOUR DEEP CALL FOR HELP.

And anyone who makes their deep cry for help is not a focused person making a specific request to deal with an isolated problem;

Rather, you are overcome. A large part of you, or the whole of you, is overcome.

‘Overcome’ can be felt to different degrees, according to how much you are being affected. If much of your life is flowing ahead but there’s still something serious affecting you, you can feel generally normal but you also feel an ever-present undercurrent, a constant quiet engine of stress and worry running below your daily existence. It won’t seem to go away, because you don’t know how to solve this problem that’s stuck in your life like a burr.

At its worst, the whole of you can feel consumed, down to your marrow, your cells. All your forward flow can feel stopped, attacked, threatened. You can feel constant sickening dread, so awful it makes you feel hot, sweating, panicked, chilled, absolutely consumed with dread and despair, like a fox being chased by hunting hounds through a dark thick forest. It can bring you literally to your knees, crying, hopeless, challenge your sense of reality, make you feel violently sick inside, shut down every corner of your will to live. It can shut down your ability to look for the right kind of help, to know what the right kind of help is, and maybe even shut down your ability to recognize that help when it arrives.

And you will all show this in different ways. Some of us ‘wear our emotions on our skin’, they’re at the surface and anyone can see how we are feeling. Others of us, even if we’re in the worst possible condition emotionally, can present a stoic, even successful and well-coping outer face to the world, and do it so well that others would be truly surprised to learn that we are hiding such an awful state of feelings inside us.

Regardless of how you ‘show it’, you are overcome. By its very definition this means your mind and your resources are no longer capable of dealing with whatever is happening, you no longer know what to do or where to find help. How did this sneak up on you?

How did this overcome state of being sneak up on you? Because there are all kinds of books and websites and help resources, written by people who have gone through much of what you are going through, and you have probably read many of them and tried what they suggested. But despite being written by people who truly did ‘go through something’, whatever you have read has still somehow… missed you, not really helped you.

And you will have tried everything you yourself can think of, to solve your issues. Which means that your past experience and your present life have not given you whatever tools you need to cope with, manage, or resolve your current issues.

And you have probably already reached out to some family, or friends, or professionals, even some strangers, or all of the above. But the people you talked to, even the professionals and your loved ones, could not say or give you what you needed to hear and receive. Or maybe some of the above are the very ones hurting you, driving you to seek help, so now you don’t know who to turn to, who to trust, who to ask.

No one, whether directly in your life or reaching you through their writing, has been able to reach deep enough into you, in the right way. Most people are at the level of telling you ‘See a counselor, see a therapist’, ‘Things will get better if you just change your attitude’, ‘Just deal with it and move on’, ‘Look on the bright side’, ‘Make lemonade out of lemons’, ‘Think positive’, ‘Everything happens for a reason’, and the hundreds of other knee-jerk repetitious things said by people who may sincerely mean well but… they haven’t been to the edge you’re at. They don’t understand that saying those things isn’t helping you. During my most difficult years I was literally screaming and crying inside for help, and despite all the kinds of help I was receiving from good people, I’d be looking silently at them and thinking, “You’re trying, but what you’re saying isn’t helping. It’s not your fault. You just haven’t been here. You don’t see what’s happening below my surface. You don’t see me.”

Most people don’t understand that what you need is someone who can grasp hold of your heart and brain and anger and terror and aloneness, really penetrate into your viscera rather than just your intellect and spirituality. You need someone who does more than just recycle all the spiritual and self-help catchphrases of the day, you need someone who really sees you, understands you, someone who can be very tough and brave, and also receptive and gentle, with you. There are people out there who can be that… but you haven’t met them. Or at least, they’re not around right now when you need them.

And right now you are also not looking for anything spiritual or religious. If you already belong to a religion, yet you are searching for help from an ‘outside’ source like this book, then your religion–at least for this one area of your life–does not seem to be answering your deep call for help. And spiritually, perhaps you just don’t want to meditate, or join a help group, or buy crystals or burn incense or learn about chakras or adopt some system of behavior and belief. These religious and spiritual avenues have their place, and may help many of you in many ways, but you aren’t searching for those ways of help right now.

You are looking for something different in the way of help, something not in the normal stream of what you’ve been trying. You’re looking for something you hope may trigger some ‘positive shock’, to get some new wheels turning inside you because the old wheels don’t seem to be rolling you toward any solution.

In a help-book, you’re looking for something so… true to your suffering, for lack of a better phrase, that you know as you’re reading it that someone has heard you. You’re looking for a book that is very exposing emotionally, with stark truths about what you are going through and what to do about it.

This is about facing everything. This is your big sit-down with yourself, your big facing of yourself in the mirror. This is not a quick-fix or a feel-good book. This book is a process, a journey, and it must unfold in a progressive order for you.

Because you cannot just jump to ‘the answer’ and have everything get better. First, if you’re in a pretty bad spot, you need to survive. You need survival tools for whatever crisis you’re in, to give you some breathing room. Survival is just a lifeline, something temporary to keep you around and going, however weak or lost you are.

But survival is a corrosive state, it takes its toll on your mind, body, life. Being in survival mode is intense and, if prolonged, can break you down further. So once you have a little breathing room, can cope a little, can shrug off a little of your burden, you’ll need to move beyond survival and into resolving what is corroding you. You work with it, manage it, go down new paths with it.

And you need to go beyond resolving, where you can. Some of your issues, you’ll have to resign yourself to managing them as best you can because some issues will always be there with you; but you’ll also want to transcend parts of your issues, whatever can be transcended.

That’s what you’re looking for right now; some help to immediately survive what is happening, then some help to work with resolving and managing it, and then to transcend whatever parts of your problems can be transcended.

The people around you can help in different ways. But almost no one can say what you truly need to hear until they themselves have entered this state of making their deep call for help. But to do more than just commiserate with you, they had to have gone further: they had to have survived their circumstances, and then be transformed by the whole process, and then they somehow had to have clarified it all to themselves, in order for them to have the insight to help clarify it for you, too.

Then they know. They know how to be around you, they know what to say. They know it’s not a collection of rote sayings, a prepared list of shallow recycled phrases to match each of your circumstances. They know how to be more authentic that that. They hear you in the moment, they see you in the moment, they feel you, they’re there with you. And you feel all that from them. And their validation of you and all you are going through, their ability to hear and see you… gives you strength. It adds some essence to you, it helps remind you of what you have inside you. It helps remind you that you are worthy, you matter, all your issues matter, and that you perhaps have more inside you than you thought you did, hidden resources you can open to and apply.

I can’t free you from problems, or save you. But what I say here can help free certain parts of you, save certain parts of you. And when you begin to realize those parts are there, and are strong, then you’ll begin to trust in those parts of you. And you’ll begin to consider that this little bit of new self-trust is all you ever needed, in order to begin solving your life.

You may wish to read this while you are alone. This book is an intense sit-down with yourself, with your issues and problems and what caused them to appear. You may be facing and releasing more than you ever faced and released before. We’re not avoiding or glossing over anything, we’re going straight through it all.

And you will feel what you’re passing through. This is a survival book, a truth book, which means we’re diving deep into the tough stuff of your life, and you will definitely feel it. But I will carry you through this book gently; I have had enough harshness and ugliness along my own journey through, so how could I wish this book, if not to contribute whatever gift of gentleness and compassion I can toward your own difficulties? Even the harshest of truths can be delivered in the gentlest of ways.

This book is for layperson and expert alike, for believers and non-believers, for you who are with or without hope. Please give each chapter a chance. Your lifestyles and problems are widely varied, so my words in one chapter may seem of sparse help to you, while they may perhaps be of huge help to someone else. And then the next chapter may hit deeply home to you, while not making noticeable impact on someone else. You are all different and each thing I write will have a different impact on you, from very low all the way up to life-changing.

But every chapter offers you another rung to step on, helping you climb the ladder up to a place that will help you survive, resolve, and transcend things better. And if you don’t need one chapter’s help at the moment, you may remember it if, years in the future, you do need that kind of help later.

I do not send you to another book or website or to any author or counselor. Some of those may help you, there are resources out there that may help you a lot more than I can. But at some point, someone has to accept the burden and the honor of doing their best to help you, without ‘sending you somewhere else’. You can go somewhere else whenever you like, but I won’t send you there. Whatever I can say to help, I’m saying it all right here.

Finally, you don’t need to ‘do’ anything in this book. There is nothing you need to buy, no exercises or tests to undertake, no new spiritual or religious words to learn, no new beliefs to adopt. You just sit, just read, and something starts to move inside you.

This is a journey book, not a thinking book
You may not understand it in the beginning
But you’ll pick it up as you go along
Just like you did in life.

Take your deepest breath, and look around you
You are breathing, and you are where you are now

And that is everything you have, and everything I have, to begin with.

You and I will be walking a path shared.

I am just like you, in the important ways: I have hopes for my life. At best, I hope it will be wonderful, deeply fulfilling, I even dream and strive for some form of beautiful transcendence. And I also still suffer through my own pains, ordeals, obstacles, disappointments. When things are at their worst, I am humbled into letting go of ‘wonderful’ and I just ask for even the least in life, I am reduced to hoping that things can please climb up to some level I can call ‘okay’, some level where I know I will survive and to know things will be okay.

So I haven’t figured it all out, I’m not your teacher. I’m not a doctor or certified professional, I don’t have advice for your problems. I’m not writing from some exalted, successful, spiritual place, showing how you can reach the stars and attain this too. I’m still on the ground with you, I’m real, I’m human, I love, I suffer.

But I can write all this now, because I’ve gone through something, and I’ve survived and come out on the life side of it. I used to be a mess. I used to be in a terrifying, dark, lonely and dying place, for years. For decades. And now I have reached a place where I’m mostly at peace, even when the shit hits the fan and is blown directly at me. I can still be tipped off-balance into fear and feeling awful–but I’ve become stable and strong enough so the ‘ordeals’ are now very rare, and when they do happen I respond as a very different person, a much more advanced person.

To save me, I had to open to what was inside me. And what I found there, you have inside you also. I don’t know if you can be reached by much of what I say here, I don’t know if anything I say can save you or help you substantially, and I certainly cannot guide you or shoulder your burdens, or give you the secrets to success and happiness.

But I’m going to trust, and write this book. Because I realize I can achieve one thing for certain:

By the end of this book, you will know what you have inside you, and you will know what it can do. And that realization is so powerful, so world-shaking, it’s worth writing an entire book for. After that, how soon you open to trusting what’s inside you, how purely you free it to work its perfect actions into your life and your problems, and how completely you allow it to carry you where you’re going, will be up to you.

Before we dive much, much deeper, this next step–your first step–is one you’ve already taken: you’re asking. Let’s talk a little about that, because we don’t want to miss a single step. Part of any problem is the inability to speak about it clearly, so part of what I’m doing is giving you the words so you can speak clearly about what you are feeling, thinking, doing, and going through. Asking for help is a huge step, so let’s be clear about what is happening within your act of ASKING.


  • emma says:

    Thank you for this page, I don’t know if it will help but I hope so.
    I feel as if I am not old enough to feel this way, and I’m not sure if all of this is genuine or if I am just deluding myself. I don’t have a terrible life. But I don’t want to be alive anymore. I am doing very well in school, but I am still not good enough for my mother. If a grade isn’t perfect, she gets angry. I’m not ready to be an adult. I’ll never be ready. But I’m graduating next year. I have no idea what I want to do or where I want to go, the pressure is killing me, I can’t keep doing this. I have found myself lacking in every other emotional capacity except for fear, guilt, and despair. I find it impossible to feel empathy for others, even when I know I should. I should love my family, but all I find within myself is selfishness and self-pity. I think there is something wrong with me, I am so deeply flawed. I am a burden to everyone around me. I can’t make friends. I can’t even talk to people. But every day I smile so hard because it is all I know, and people think I’m happy. That’s made things worse. Because when I try to explain how I really feel, they get scared. They think I’m joking. The things that go through my head when I’m sad are horrific. My family doesn’t know either, and they don’t believe me when I say I’m not okay. Or else they tell me to snap out of it or look at people who are less fortunate. It doesn’t help. I have come to believe that I am fundamentally flawed, and that there is something missing inside of me that will keep me trapped here forever. I have been considering ways to get rid of myself, but I’m so scared. I’m so scared.

    • Bannen says:

      Hi Emma. I don’t feel there is anything ‘wrong’ with you; rather, you are a very different person than those around you (including your family) and because they don’t understand you, they are very disconnected from you and probably often try to make you feel like there’s something wrong with you. They’re doing that, because they don’t have the understanding to… try see who you are, instead of trying to force you to ‘toe the line’ into being what kind of person they think you should be. You’re really unseen and unheard, so you feel alone and like there’s something wrong with you. But what if there isn’t something wrong with you? I’ve emailed you.

  • Craig says:

    I’m really sorry for wasting your time on me.
    I usually try to stay out of people’s way and avoid them as much as possible.
    I am terrified of everything and have nobody to save me.
    It doesn’t really matter anymore, everyone I care about leaves anyway, no matter what they promise.
    Only been here for 17 years and can’t stand it anymore.
    I don’t know what to do anymore.
    There’s a boy I like but I could never talk to him.
    He doesn’t even know I exist.
    Doesn’t really matter now I’ll probably be gone by the end of the week.
    Sorry again for wasting your time.

    • Bannen says:

      Hello Craig; how empty you are! How empty of self worth, of feeling like you matter to anyone or the world. That emptiness came as a result of something. Let’s find out what. I have emailed you.

  • Ethereal says:

    The perception that one who takes the time to search the Internet for things such as this, and even more so spends what little energy they have to write, does not truly wish to die is true. It is not true for me however. I am in a quandary of something for which words are severely lacking. I understand when a physician says he or she has not before witnessed the survival of an individual who previously did that which you did in an attempt to successfully complete suicide on three separate occasions that you will not be allowed to die until God (my belief) so chooses to allow this. Basically you are screwed, but I digress.

    There is only one time in my life I was granted a will to live. I can not tell you what it felt like to have a will to live but I will never forget the feeling of shock, and very likely awe, of my reaction due to never before having a will to live and the sudden onset of acquiring one, which came of the blue; quite sincerely. I clearly remember thinking, then saying a loud to God something very similar to, “You have got to be kidding me. I get it now. I understand how people live here. Unbelievable”.

    I have not been able to shower for almost 2 months and am sure this is somewhat difficult to impossible to believe. I understand I am delusional in the sense I believe things to be true that are in direct opposition to what those who are “mentally healthy” believe to be true. It really is an unusual experience being completely cognizant of so much about yourself as well as possessing a vast amount of therapeutic insights regarding oneself, as crazy as this may appear to be. I can watch myself as I am behaving in an unkind or unacceptable manner yet not possess the ability to stop or change course as I hate myself as well as the behavior all at the same time.

    I am pretty sure I am not making too much sense yet I have more I need to say. While I am a Christian and also believe in reincarnation as well as pre-birth planning, and while I have zero doubt all things happen for the purposes of our learning, growth and spiritual evolution so that if we SO CHOOSE we can learn, grow and in the process become better human beings and in turn help others. That makes perfect sense to me and it’s what I did until I became too ill (debilitating treatment resistant Bipolar depression and severe PTSD), which was in early 2010. This did not begin then; I have had it my entire life. Having said that, I first received treatment just after my 17th birthday and never once did not take any and all medication prescribed and as directed, as well as received bi-weekly psychotherapy through the age of 30 and weekly therapy to include behavioral therapy (CBT) thereafter until October 2012. It does not matter how, but I have no access to psychiatric care and this is not terribly important as I believe my issues are more spiritually based at this point. Insofar as therapy to address any of the aforementioned, I am too depressed to participate (brain ability and no energy).

    All of this to say (I guess) I don’t want any part of me, speaking of my soul insofar as after immediate death and whatever may follow, to survive or go on. I don’t want to go to Heaven. I want to cease to exist completely. Don’t care how great Heaven may be, or is. Don’t care about experiencing pure love, unparalleled joy or anything of the like. I can and have sat with the most desperate of emotional pain and anxiety as well as a fair amount of physical pain but not the absolute worst by far. The emotional pain has been egregious and unrelenting and a number of additional words and adjectives I could use; however it can always get worse and will, which I fully understand is inviting it. I am just a lot too sick to do thoșe positive projections into the universe types of things at present and have been for some time now, although I did try when I was able. I probably tried and worked harder than most anyone to get better and to heal. I knew at the age of 17 I did not want to feel like shit for the rest of my life and did more than I have the energy to detail so I would not feel like shit the rest of my life only for it to get even worse. I’m out and I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience or harm this may have caused.

    • Bannen says:

      Hello Ethereal, I have emailed you.

      • Raine says:

        You are amazing! I sincerely hope that you were able to make contact with ‘Ethereal’! Thank you for being the person you have grown to be!

        • Bannen says:

          I still contact every person who makes a comment here. I try not to, but I can’t seem to let it go! Thank you for your kind comment, I have emailed you.

  • sally says:

    I am glad I found this site. I have reached the point after struggling with so many different problems and so much heartbreak for so long, and feeling exhausted and burnt out by it all, that maybe someone can guide me through it to the other side. Maybe there is a way. I hope so because I can’t carry on much longer. I’ve tried so hard and I get nowhere.

  • jaie cutler says:

    Ive spent my entire life pretending to be strong, that the repeated beatings, rapes, incest never destroyed me. I cant anymore. Im desperate to not lose my salvation,my sweet pup is truly all thats kept me here. I rescued him and cant let him down. Im scared even that wont be enuf, the pain just wont stop.

  • Gina says:

    I am so at my wits end. I think of going to the highway and diving off the overhead bridge. I just can’t do this anymore. I have been to doctors, counsellors whatever help was available. It’s just a matter of a bandage fix, nothing more. I have reached out for help with a few friends but I am ashamed to tell them the whole truth and nothing but. I feel guilty cuz of the burden of telling them. I can’t live this miserable existence anymore. The only time I may seem normal is when I am at my place of work. I can’t really afford to be dismissed because of the emotional turmoil I am going through. My husband has been very sick in the last couple of years and I am sliding down a slippery slope with drugs(pot) and sleeping pills. I quit drinking a long time ago but I certainly could overdose on sleeping pills. What a nice way to die, in your sleep. I don’t know which way is up anymore. I don’t trust anyone. I have been used and abused. There have been many instances in my very young life that I was sexually abused by a brother, abused by a father, abused and abuser of my husband. I just don’t care anymore. I give up. I wave the white flag. I can’t do this crap anymore. I need to go for walk and get some fresh air. I think I may have to put the bridge plan on hiatus and just enjoy the cold, fresh air as I sink into the blackness of my mental safety. I wish for a normal life. But what the hell is “normal”!

    • Bannen says:

      Hi Gina, I have emailed you. And I was glad to see your next post on the Validation page, where you are obviously taking a step up into considering yourself with more insight… I like to see breakthroughs in people, and I think you’re on the verge of one…

  • Paula says:

    Thank you for being here.
    maybe you’ll help me, maybe you won’t
    I feel like my purpose in this world reached it’s limit and now I’m just wasting time and probably intoxicating others.
    I have a secret diary… only wrote the first page to say what’s destroying me and to say the next time I write something it will be my last day on this world.
    I sometimes think life is overrated, but only feel like this about my own life. Does this make any sense to you?
    I wish you all the best

  • catiya says:

    my mind dips in and out of the thought that i am not able to find a way out of collapse, i pray that i am. i pray in any way that might work but then i think – what worth am i that i be helped, then i realise that i am my daughters mother and i feel ashamed – why can i not find the strength to value her mother, to find a way, i feel so sick with worry and shame and despair; the story of chaos and confusion and a litany of trauma impact and long survival strategy is so long and if i were to truly recover it would be such a miracle – i cannot tell it again, i am exhausted and just want to sleep all of the time, i am afraid that i will give up and my daughter will be left without her mother, i wish i could find the strength and the clarity …every morning i set out to find it….i am still here, i am grateful and i feel instictively sootheed to have found this place of response to my cry for help ,,,,thank you

  • julie says:

    I don’t understand this world.

    • Bannen says:

      Instead, dive into understanding yourself. Go there far enough, and then the world will make sense.
      I have emailed you.

  • Eva says:

    I wish someone out there could help me with all these pain. My mother and her family caused me. How could a mother harm her daughter like this? How Will i be able to heal my wounds?? She is a jealous bad person. Splitted me also from my most loved sister. Is there a god or karma to stop these bad people? They abused me so bad. She and het husband….thanks for being there

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