Being Strong For Everybody Else Is What Keeps Me Strong For Myself

Through sleepless nights, endless amounts of homework, hospital stays, family issues, meetings upon meetings, and so much more, there’s one thing to be clear: I feel like I’m failing at life. My depression, which I thought I beat for good, has finally spiked again, and at this point in time, I just have to persevere and push it to the back of my mind. And truthfully, I’m okay with that.

Because through this hardship of life, people have needed me more now than ever. I have friends reaching out to me wondering who they are anymore; I have strangers coming to me with suicidal thoughts. I have the whole works from everybody, all while trying to stay on top of school and fight my own demons.

Now, although I said that the only thing clear about my life is that I’m failing, that’s not the truth. I often feel like it is, but it’s not. The truth is, I’m not failing, I’m just struggling. And I may be struggling, but I’m making it.

I’ve gotten less sleep in the last two weeks than one would normally get in two weeks. I’ve sat and held the hand of a person I barely knew as she cried in a hospital bed. I’ve completely terminated the relationship with my biological mother. I’ve lost a good friend. And no matter how hard and long I study, I still can’t get the grades I want. The list could go on and on.

Yet, to other people, I’m the smiling face. I’m the one they go to when they don’t know who to go to. And I love that. They come to me for smiles, for laughs, for someone to talk to, someone to cry to, or even just for a friend. And if I’m being honest, that’s the only thing keeping me going.

Being strong for others is what’s keeping me strong.

Because behind the smiling face and the hand holding and the endless jokes, there is a fragile girl. There’s a girl who refuses to go into her room unless she absolutely has to because she feels trapped and knows where her mind wanders in there.

In my room, I can be weak, and I don’t have time for that.

There’s a girl who every time she gets a moment alone, tears start dripping. My car, my room, the elevator. I don’t even know the last time I didn’t cry myself to sleep.

Through this all, being strong for everybody else is what is keeping me strong, knowing that I don’t have time to be weak. I don’t have time for self-pity. I have people to care for and smiles to put on everybody’s face. I have to be the example that things get better in life, even when they don’t feel better at the time.

When I finally get alone time and I’m faced with my own thoughts and I realize I need to take a breather, I go to the mirror. And as soon as I see my reflection, I am broken.

Completely, wholeheartedly, broken.

Not only because I can’t stand the person I see, but because I get to see me; I get to actually look at myself and see all that I’m being put through, all that I’m carrying on my shoulders. I get to see myself in a way that people don’t see me, and all I see is brokenness.

Yet every time I lock eyes with the girl in the mirror, tears dripping down my face, all I can hear is Arizona Robbins: “I’m a good man in a storm.” I’m a good man, facing trials and tribulations, hardships and war, but I’m still a good person with good intentions and a heart of gold.

I have the weight of my the world on my shoulders as I walk through a storm, but yet I carry a smile on my face, a smile that makes that world feel a little lighter. No matter how hard my life gets, I’m still a good man.

I know things will get better because it’s just a storm, and storms end.

I swallow my pride and my self-pity, my hurt and my anger, and I continue to be that good man. And like she says, “I was raised to love my country, love my family, and protect the things I love.”

No matter what I face, I’ll continue to be strong, because being strong is what keeps everybody else strong, and keeping everybody else strong is what keeps me strong.

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