Around year ago this week and the weeks leading up to it were probably the worst of my life. It wasn't the first time I was drowning under a plastered on smile. I had everything I wanted going for me so it didn't feel valid to be in such a dark place, I didn't give myself a single ounce of grace.
I've struggled with taking care of my mental health for a majority of my life, I'm a pretty open book about it. Having been diagnosed with Bipolar II among other things shortly into high school after years of not quite understanding how my brain was functioning or why, there was a lot of work to be done.
I found myself incessantly in crisis mode and unable to fathom how to reach out for help, ultimately leading to a brief hospitalization right at the start of the pandemic, when nobody quite knew what was going on in the world. Clearly this added a whole layer to the lives of everyone across the globe, everything seemed hopeless and utterly confusing.
I had already felt that way and only saw one option out, I really believed everyone would be better off without me and have struggled with such ideas for most of my life. You can't really explain such a genuine belief of something so absolutely untrue. To put it as simply as possible, it was traumatizing and I shouldn't be here... I was told that by everyone I crossed paths with in the process of this.
The biggest takeaway though, is that I'm still here when I shouldn't be. I'm here talking about such a common struggle that is so stigmatized and labeled as taboo. I'm here and healing loudly.
To think of all of the life I would have missed is excruciating. I do not wake up grateful everyday, I still do not want to be here most of the time, but I am still here putting in the work to heal. I'd like to hope there's a reason for that.
I know now that I was in a dark place and desperate for help. I know that I wasn't weak, it's not shameful, I'm not broken, I'm not a burden, the world is not better off without me; and it's not better off without you either.
It's completely acceptable to still feel this way sometimes.
This is not to say that it has been any kind of perfect, I still find myself on the tops of the tallest mountains and trying to climb my way up from the deepest of valleys. The important part is continuing to climb. It means reaching out for help, getting comfortable with addressing the uncomfortable, not ignoring where your head space is, creating boundaries, defying everything your brain is yelling at you and learning to yell back the opposite a little louder. It has been work, and there is still a long way to go.
We all deserve to heal and give ourselves grace. Healing has not and never will be linear.
365 days ago, the girl smiling all day long, starting to pack her life away to leave school due to a global pandemic, seemingly put together because she had it all… actually had nothing to her at all. I am so grateful for the people around me at the time and the people who stuck by after and since, there really aren't words to describe something such as that.
This will always be a part of me. it's written into my story. I'm not proud of it, but I am extraordinarily proud to be here a year later writing about it, working on it, being light for those around me when I can, allowing myself to take a step back when necessary.
I share only in hopes that other people can feel comfortable to do the same, to seek help, to give themselves grace. I share to break the stigma that we have been working on so hard for so long, that still lives on. I share for those who cannot do the same.
Mental health matters. You matter. I will be here to shout it from the rooftops to you as long as I can be.
The setbacks are okay, but the strides are epic too. I would not be me without both.
No matter how long it takes to reach even one. No matter how small a thing you hold on for. No matter what.
Heal loudly my friends. Heal so that the world quakes knowing you have overcome. Heal so others see healing and feel inclined to do the same.
You deserve to be here. Today needs you, Tomorrow needs you. All of the days after, they need you too.
If You or Someone You Know Is in Crisis and Needs Immediate Help
- Call your doctor's office.
- Call 911 for emergency services.
- Go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
- Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.
- Reach out to someone you trust.
- Ask a family member or friend to help you make these calls or take you to the hospital.
- If you have a family member or friend who is suicidal, do not leave him or her alone. Try to get the person to seek help immediately. Take seriously any comments about suicide or wishing to die. Even if you do not believe your family member or friend will actually attempt suicide, the person is clearly in distress and can benefit from your help in receiving mental health treatment.