It Gets Better
This week, six years ago, my entire life changed. I was convinced nothing could get better. There was absolutely no light at the end of the tunnel, why was everyone lying to me? How could I possibly rise up and begin again when all of its force was weighing me down? There were two solutions: end everything or try to and end up in a mental hospital.
In just seven days time, I was in over my head in school work, behind on where I thought I’d be in life, I overdosed on antidepressants, I lied to all of my friends, I cut classes, and I was just shy of alcohol poisoning when I was admitted to the hospital the morning after I was convinced it was the end.
When given the opportunity to admit myself into a mental hospital, I said no. Yet, it was everything I had wanted and essentially achieved.
Because of this, I found myself reading a letter from my university that I was placed on academic probation: effective immediately. If that wasn’t all, it was followed by: If you are found on campus at any time, you will be arrested.
For a while, I had considered my university a safe place. It’s clear to me now that it was far from that. But I had already reached the lowest I ever could, so the threat of arrest just put the icing on the damn cake. For many years, I thought my school handled a suicide attempt poorly. And I think I still do.
But six years later, I arguably more in over my head than I was then. Yet, there are numerous factors that have changed.
- I am stressed with projects I have chosen.
- I am stressed with work in a job I have chosen.
- I have learned coping mechanisms to manage my anxiety and stress.
- I have created a new lifestyle that has so far kept the depression relatively at bay.
- I have learned how to ask for help, and have since this day.
- I have learned how to recognize a spiral and while I may not be able to keep them from happening, I can remain present in them, keeping them from getting worse.
Most importantly, I’ve learned that there is far more to life than school or deadlines. Education is important. College, these days, seems more important than ever. Not to get a degree, but to educate you on the world. But it doesn’t need to define you. Just like your four years of high school aren’t the best years of your life, college doesn’t have to be either.
You do not need to follow the rules. You don’t need a four-year plan. You don’t need to go away. You’re allowed to go where you want to go and study what you want. If you don’t start making decisions for the way your life will lead the moment you can, it only will get harder.
I’ve learned that it’s okay to walk away. To tell someone you can’t do something, whether because you aren’t interested or you need to work on your mental health. It’s okay to miss a deadline if it means taking care of you. The world still spins. It’s okay to apologize and push things off when necessary. The most important thing in life is that you are healthy. Because if you aren’t, nothing else can possibly take focus. Not only is it difficult to see through the thick fog, but there will always be other opportunities, deadlines, get-together’s–what have you. But there is only one you and that needs to be cherished.
Take care of what you need upfront. The rest will follow.
If I were to tell that girl that six years from now things would be vastly different, she wouldn’t believe me. There is nothing I could tell her that would make a difference.
Except offer her a hand and guide her through the next few steps. It’ll take time and proof for her to believe me. But my presence would offer enough assistance to remain upright. Even if that presence keeps her from drinking one more sip or popping one more pill.
It takes time. Gruesome time. It’s exhausting and most days you won’t want to get out of bed. But when you do, and you’re able to celebrate these wins in life, it makes all the hard days worth it.
Each day you’re here is a win. Each time you wake up is something to be proud of. You’ve made it through another day, you can make it through the next.
So if you or anyone you know is struggling, please remember that someone is always there. And if at first you don’t succeed, please, please keep trying. There will be someone who will walk this path with you. There are people who need and want you in their lives forever. There are opportunities and experiences that are solely yours for the taking. Without you, we’d have one less person to make this world a better place, and that just won’t do. We need you. We need your love. We need your presence.
We need you. We need your love. We need your presence.