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As you wobble through life in attempt to digest what the universe throws at you, not losing yourself in the process is an understatement.
We’ve learned from childhood that being strong is a foundation of ability to pedal far on our journey. It is like a double standard in society. A survival tactic that isn’t bringing us closer to any resolution we’ve set for ourselves. September is suicide prevention month, and to help raise awareness, my heart goes out to those who are still here trying to make it, in hopes that it will help someone bounce back from their tough road patch.
I lost a childhood friend in my teen years. No one knew she was in distress, and her family did not see this coming. The last sleepover at her place was the night before she hung herself. I could not wrap my head around the idea that she was gone. This was my first experience with death. And I denied myself a proper grieving since I knew nothing about it. Reality hit me afterward when law enforcement called me to investigate her death. And then I got the double slap on my face at a funeral home. Standing by the open casket, staring at her, hoping she was still breathing, I thought it was a dream, but she never woke up.
Accepting the truth that my friend was gone, to move on with my life as best as I could, was like standing at the bottom of an ocean without oxygen. I found myself reminiscing about our old days and the tragedy I lived through until I reached a breaking point in my life. I moved to a new country with little to no money, jobless, basically homeless, and pregnant. I was lucky to get help to stay afloat. I had my son alone in a hospice, and things were a bit more settled, but I was breaking inside.
My bearings collapsed before me the moment I immigrated to another country. Lost and scared out of my skin, walking on the rubble to rebuild my life, depression knocked on my door, and now I was collapsing.
We say people struggle with depression, but I’d rather say we scuffle to handle the reality we face.
The adjustment period to a new life progressed in slow dullness. It felt like strolling on hot coals, and I couldn’t shake it off. I was stuck on those coals and could not whine it away. Continuously blaming and hating myself for being such a mess, I realized that the only solution was to exit. I didn’t want to hang in there any longer as a 24-year-old who was already exhausted from life; my choice was to end it. Unable to drug it, eat, drink, or weep it away anymore, I caved in.
Meds sucked the feelings, and tetany panic attacks scared the sh*t out of me. Feeling no joy, no excitement, or passion for life. Not even my baby could light my fire back on. Every day felt excruciating, and breathing was painful.
I fed my son and tucked him to sleep. Seated on the floor with a bottle of Effexor (prescription meds), I got myself some alcohol. Sobbing uncontrollably, all kinds of thoughts went through my mind, but none of them nudged me to think twice. I generously poured myself a handful of pills and reached for alcohol to chew them down. Then my cell rang. That’s right, my cell rang, and I had to liberate my hands to answer it! Call it luck or some divine intervention, I snapped out of it. The alcohol went to the drain and the pills back into the bottle. With tremendous amount of effort and help, I bounced back from a near tragedy.
I took the time to get off meds, to take back on my hobbies, to go out in the sun, and to give myself loving attention, which I craved so much. After grieving the emotional pain that I had previously stuffed my body with, my health improved gradually. Step by step, I gained back control over my life, and I am grateful for a second chance. I am grateful for the timely help I’ve received from the people around me.
There are souls out there who struggle to show up for themselves. There are those who never bounce back. Often, a person in distress or emotional pain will exhibit little to no symptoms. Sometimes depression has no signs whatsoever. And almost always, such people will be good at hiding their struggles. When someone is unwell, they feel uncomfortable being vulnerable with others because it hurts to expose the wound in the open. They are ashamed to share their experience and do not want judgment or pity from others. Being gentle and listening to a person who’s going through a difficult time in their life helps. There is a difference between listening to hear and listening just to give a reply.
And I hear you!
No matter what you do, where you are on your journey, or where you go from here, no matter what happens to you next, I want you to know that you are deeply loved. Whatever you choose to do with your pain, don’t throw your life away.
Choose to live and bounce back because you are more than enough. Your experiences and emotions are valid.
What small steps can you take today to help you contribute toward your healing and recovery? Take those small steps and pat yourself on the back for each victory from here. If the steps seem too much of a gap for now, then crawl. It is okay to take time to bounce back, and you don’t have to do it alone. Ask for help, and keep knocking on the door until someone opens it for you. Permit yourself to stand again because you can do it.
I pray for the courage and strength within you to help you rise above the storm.
Thank you for reading these lines, and thank you for listening.
With love and gratitude.