I haven’t written for a long while. I’m not entirely sure why but I think it had something to do with holding my breath. Holding my breath and hoping, hoping and praying this wasn’t a dream. The last year has been a blur and through it all one consistent thing has rang out in every second of every moment of every day. That is unfettered gratitude for the abundance of blessings I’ve received along with every painful heartbeat of anxiety.
Last August I was in the midst of one of the worst months of my entire life. Everyday was a tsunami of anxiety, depression, and guilt. I was trying to pick my life up and get a direction to start moving in. It seemed impossible and there were days that I was hanging by a thread. It felt so unbelievably unfair. Why the hell did I deserve this? Why was I stuck in an abyss of torment and pain?
I’m learning through out life that those moments of anguish are also met with the simplest joys. Those joys are what get you through it all, no matter how small, how insignificant, how fleeting. They are flickers of light in the night. Towards the end of August I had finally managed to push myself into volunteering in my mother’s classroom and somewhere in the bright eyes and childish laughter I begin to heal.
There is something so incredibly special about children. Their hope, their love, their zest for life, it infects you. Even though it only started with a smile from the corner of a room. It was enough. Slowly moments of forgetting how distraught I was bloomed into minutes and hours of enveloping myself in lives of 9 year old’s and I had finally found a balm for my wounds.
Months flew by and I became an older brother to the most amazing kids. I knew about their lives, I knew what they were struggling with, what they were excited about, what they were hoping for. I lost myself in their lives and I gained back their strength ten fold. Those kids will never ever truly know what they did for me but they saved me. They grabbed me from the brink of despair and pulled me into a man who feels like he can succeed.
I was able to get a job and begin working with one of the most special women I’ve ever had the privy to know. Every day I baffled that I get to spend the day hanging out and working side by side with her. She keeps me on my toes and I am just unbelievably happy when I’m around her. It’s amazing how life can turn around so quickly.
A year later, I reflect back on what I was going through and it seems like a bad dream. I can’t even wrap my head around how awful it was and how happy I am now. So here I am, filled with gratitude, and a new appreciation for life. Thankful for a bunch of fourth graders. Thankful for an amazing boss who took a chance on me. Thankful for the best damn family I could ask for, I’ve received nothing but support, empathy, and love from them. Truly I love them with all my heart. I am also, very grateful for the wonderful friends I somehow managed to end up with. You guys are the zest of life.
To anyone out there who is suffering from anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders. Please listen to me when I say that you are stronger than it is. Your story isn’t over yet. You aren’t defined by your shortcomings and your struggle. Every second is a war. A bloody, awful, violent war. You can do it though. I’ve been there, I am there, and I’ve come back from it. I’m not that strong of a person and if I can make it, I know with every fiber of my being that you can rise up and kick its ass. It won’t be easy, it won’t ever go away entirely but it will get better.
Talk about how you’re feeling. Don’t bottle it up. Let others know what is going on. It’s critical to not only your survival but for those around you to have an understanding about what you’re dealing with. Mental disorders are a BITCH and the more we communicate about them, the easier it becomes for us to share it’s burden. To lift each other.
Get medical help. Do it. I was skeptical about doping myself up on medications but oh my god, the difference it makes cannot be stated. Do it. Use every freaking thing at your disposal to beat this vile curse.
Go to therapy. It’s not all talking about your feelings and why you feel that way. It’s about seeing someone who can give you methods to reduce and cope with your anxiety. Whether it’s meditation or cognitive therapy, do it. You need to find a solution to ease the pain. It’s not a cure but it’s like a pain killer that helps you reduce the injury you’re dealing with.
Love yourself. LOVE YOURSELF. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE YOURSELF! You are the shit. You put up with so much that you keep hidden. You are strong. You are beautiful. You are competent. You ARE NOT THE DISEASE. You matter. You are the only you. The world needs your voice and your presence. It is better because you exist. Please, Love yourself.
Ask for help. No one can help you if they don’t know you need it. Simply ask.
I love you. Hang in there. It will get better. It can get better. God bless you.