The One About Heavy Hearts and Hope

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September 2006, they announced the passing of one of my friends on the morning announcements. I’ll never forget the faces of my classmates. I was only in seventh grade.

May 2010, a boy confessed to me on my 16th birthday that he almost killed himself by flushing too many pills down his throat. He said he was better now and I had nothing to worry about. But I worried anyway.

July 2011, I sat on the floor of my room mourning the loss of a girl who had affected the lives of so many of my friends. I didn’t even know her.

November 2013, my friend told me she had an episode. She found a gun in her parents safe. She held it to her head, but was caught before pulling the trigger. She was a second away from death.

June 2014, I listened to the sound of my heart breaking as a girl told me how she thought she could set her demons free by opening up her skin.

December of that same year, God gained another angel. She was a sister, a wife, a mother, and a beloved friend.

Man, bearing just the thought of those moments again makes my bones feel heavy. I want you to know that I’m not speaking this in order to throw it out into an abyss and hope that you feel some sort of sympathy, but rather for it to resonate into your soul so that you may recognize that there is a war being waged.

More importantly, I hope that by speaking this you will understand, that today, in 2016, we can claim victory over those moments.

If you have ever been a person, who can relate first hand to these stories. I want to first say I am so sorry. I am sorry your anxiety creeps up on you like a lion hunting a lamb. I am sorry nothing seems to help balance the chemicals in your brain quite like drugs, or alcohol, or sleep. I am sorry people can never fully understand your situation. And I am sorry you feel things too much, and sometimes not even at all. I am sorry you struggle.

Nevertheless, I hope you know how ridiculously important you are. How incredibly beautiful you look in the mirror. And how much people miss you when you are away. You are not your mistakes, your mishaps, or your past. You cannot be defined by the number circled in red on the top of your math test, or the one in between your feet when you step onto a scale. Your name is not “Crazy” or “Broken”. It is “Strong”. It is “Whole”.

Because listen to me.

YOU. ARE. ENOUGH.

Write it on your mirrors. Paint it on your wrists. Stain it on the back of your eyelids.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Wash the sleep out of your hair. Sing at the top of your lungs. Carry yourself with grace.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Indulge in an extra piece of chocolate. Laugh with friends. Roll the windows down.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Right now. The way you are. Absolutely, indescribably, wonderfully enough.

Please never forget it.

I hope today you found a little bit of comfort knowing you are not alone. That there are people who want to listen to you pour your heart out about your really bad day, and who want to catch your tears on the shoulders of their shirts. Push for support. Reach for recovery. I promise you can do it. There is so many more memories to be made, and stories to be told. Tomorrow is full of so much potential.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

You can do this.

Now, for those of you that have only experienced the repercussion of mental illness, and have witnessed it’s side effects second hand, for those of you that have been the hand-holders, the tear-catchers, the 2am phone calls, and the “I’ll be right there”s, please know just how much you matter.

You have brought laughter, joy, and most of all hope. I know it’s difficult to hear your friends cry, or to babysit them in the bathroom while they puke up the poison they hoped would drown their pain, or to not give up on them when they choose to stay in for the seventh night in a row.

Trust me, they appreciate you. You mean more to them than you will ever understand.

You are changing futures, and outcomes. And there are so many people that wouldn’t be where they are without you.

So stay strong, friend. Your position is hard. Don’t give up. You matter.

Lastly for those of you have can’t relate to one end or another, I hope you may one day fully understand how crazy blessed you are. Hug your friends tight. Say “I love you” to your parents. And don’t ever romanticize sadness. Having a mental illness is not beautiful, it is heart wrenching and messy, and something no one should ever have to understand. Soak up all the happiness because it is truly a gift. There are going to be people in life that will look to you for encouragement and strength. Never withhold it from them.

I hope today you can be encouraged to stay strong. To know that you are not alone in your struggle. I hope you know that people need other people and it is okay to lean in.

Talk about your struggles. Find comfort in a friend. Pray over your loved ones. Because the past does not determine the future.

Because better days are coming. Rescue is possible. Help is near.

In 2016, hope wins.

Tomorrow is coming.

We will rise victorious.

 

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