Let me start off by wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!!! For me, 2018 held amazing things, good things, bad things, and ugly things. Usually, I just chalk that up to “that’s life.” The ups and the downs, the good and bad. Well for someone who battles with things such as anxiety, depression, self-harm issues, and suicidal thoughts/ideation, those ups and downs can be pretty intense. There were moments where I felt like I was on top of the world and other times where I questioned if I would even make it to 2019. I’m sure so many people that suffer from the same issues have struggled with that same thought. That same dark and scary thought.
This is my letter to you and myself…
You made it to a place you questioned a million times over the last year. You probably had some amazing days and created incredible memories that truly brought you joy. I’m sure you’ve spent time laughing and enjoying life with your friends and family. You genuinely smiled. You genuinely laughed. Life was so great at times this year no doubt.
You also might have had some setbacks that threw you for a bit of a loop. Maybe you relapsed or began to isolate yourself from everyone from time to time. You might have sat alone in your room and cried yourself to sleep because you feared that you would act on these thoughts the enemy was planting in your head. Thoughts of suicide or just that thought that “I am not sure I will make it past this year.” No one should go through moments like that but it’s very real and scary.
I want to let you know how truly strong you are for getting through that. In those dark moments, it is SO hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel. But if you are sitting here reading this, having gone through any of the things I mentioned above, you are AMAZING. I want you to realize just how remarkably strong you really are. Sometimes for those suffering from a mental illness, keeping yourself alive is like a full-time job and it can be exhausting. So exhausting that you truly feel giving up is your only option. IT’S NOT. YOU had the strength and power within yourself that led you to survive this past year and for that, I am extremely proud of you. That is an incredible thing. Pat yourself on the back, celebrate yourself…because YOU MADE IT another year! Even when you may have thought you wouldn’t! You will continue to make it!
You belong here even if you are not sure of the reasons why. Those answers will come to you in time. Remember you are important and you have a purpose in this world. The one thing I think we all forget to do is to take care of ourselves. Not only physically but emotionally as well. Be gentle with yourself. It’s okay to feel sad or angry, but recognize it, evaluate it and come up with a solution to whatever it is. I know it’s not easy in those dark moments, but I do know to practice that would be beneficial to us all. Inside of everyone, there is an inner child that needs to be taken care of as well as the adult part of you. You deserve to be patient, loving and compassionate with yourself.
Another thing to remember is you are not alone. There are so many people that suffer through the same things. I know it can be very difficult to reach out sometimes to anyone, and isolation feels safer. That’s when the enemy attacks even more. Reach out for help when you need it. A lot of times I looked at reaching out as a weakness and am learning more and more that it is actually a strength. It takes a lot of guts to say you need help. Find the right people to help and remember not everyone in your life is meant to be there to help through difficult times and that is okay. You are not alone like the enemy is whispering to you constantly at times.
So to YOU reading this, take a step back and reflect on what 2018 gave you. The good and the bad. Think about your losses and the things you gained. Not everything is going to be perfect but we can all learn from our experiences. Think about the fact that you have made it and it may have been a huge struggle at times, but YOU MADE IT! You survived this year and I am so grateful for that.