I used to be a victim. I used to believe that everything that has happened in my life was a direct result of me not being “good enough,” or because I wasn’t living a life that was “worthy enough” of good things and good memories. I used to believe that all the trauma and all of the bad things that happened to me were my fault. People couldn’t love me because I was unlovable, and not worthy of love and affection. I wasn’t “pretty enough,” or “good enough” for the world to embrace me. I found myself believing that my life didn’t matter and that no one cared about me. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? A few lies became an identity so quickly. I was consumed by this identity as soon as I told myself, “Yeah, this is true. This must be who I am.” How silly was I! That’s not who I am, and it didn’t have to be who I was going to be in the future.
So I did what I knew best — I went to buy a few lotto tickets. At the time of the draw, I compared my numbers to the winning ones, and was not disappointed! Not to my dismay, I won! 900 million dollars were soon inserted into my account. I bought a Lamborghini Huracan, and a fancy mansion, and decided that I would never have to work again and was going to be happy forever because money fixes our innermost problems…. uh.. right?? Ha. Wrong, but it would be a lie to say that we all don’t secretly wish we’d win the lottery.
Actually, here’s what happened: I went over to Youtube to binge-watch it’s funniest videos, and I came across these gems…
Ah, the internet..
Anyways, I didn’t just “snap out of it.” I didn’t suddenly become the happiest person on earth. These things take time. Yet, I had to get a grip on reality. I started to reach out to friends and family. Honesty was key. I found people who have been through similar things as I have and I got real with them; and you know what happened? I learned that I wasn’t alone, and that my life does matter. I am worthy of love and of good things. I learned that ultimately, I was responsible for my own thoughts and emotions. By choosing to take each day as a breath of fresh air, I allowed myself to be free. In time, I was healing. To be completely honest with you guys, I am still learning and still healing every single day. I am a work in progress. Yet, I believe that you can join me in this journey! Wherever you are and whatever you are doing in life, you can embrace healing and freedom. It is possible! You are welcome here. This is a safe place.
It is my hope that I can be of help to you all. Thank you for becoming part of the family! Before I go, I leave you with this–a personal note to those who are suffering:
You are not alone. Your illness is not a shameful secret. You are strong, and courageous. You will make it through this. To so many people, you matter. You are loved by so many. Even when you thought that you would never make it through the darkest of nights, you made it. You are still here, and although recovery may seem so far away, it can be found in those closest to you. People genuinely care about you; they may just have trouble showing it. You will heal in time. You will experience the fullness of life again. You will smile and it will reflect your spirit in all honesty. Don’t give up, and don’t give in. I am proud of you, and I love you. You are a fighter. You’re going to be okay.
A personal note to those who want to help a suffering family member or friend:
You’re not a failure. It is not your fault because a person close to you is suffering from mental illness. Yet, there are many things you can do to help: Be there, and really listen. Don’t invalidate the person’s thoughts and emotions. Give affection, and show them that you care and love them, even if they are not able to see it clearly. Understand that mental illness is a physical illness, although unseen. Educate yourself. Education can become the strong foundation on which you are able to help loved ones. Through education, you will be better equipped to show understanding, which is essential to helping those with illness. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to talk about ‘the hard stuff.’ Realize that feelings of guilt and shame are normal, and can be lifted. Be calm, and give support. When they push away, draw closer. Show commitment. Even though it may not seem as if you are making a difference in their life, this can go a long way and make a true impact in the person.
A personal note to all readers:
It’s time to stand together. You don’t have to fight alone. I want to connect, and I want to reach out. If you or someone you know is suffering, it is okay to be honest. We can help each other. We are fighters, bold in dark places. We were meant to shine brightly in these places. We will make it through this. We are strong. We’ve got this.
Together, we will be okay. We will be okay.