To My Anxiety and Depression,
I acknowledge you and all of your dreadful wares. From physical exhaustion to mental fatigue, you make me feel weak and powerless. Thanks to you, I question my every decision. The resulting guilt ravages my brain until I feel like I have failed, at life, entirely.
Living with you keeps me in a constant state of fight or flight. Sometimes, my mind spins until I am dizzy. Other times, I think I will drown in my own tears. Then comes the rage from utter self-loathing that makes me want to rip at my own skin. I am exhausted, but I can’t sleep. When I finally put head to pillow, rest is like a mirage that teases me from afar.
Lately, you have managed to win more battles than I would like to admit. Hear you me! You won’t win the war.
P.S. To that end, I attach the following letter to anyone who lives with your unfortunate company.
Dear Silent Warriors,
You are some of the strongest among us. Unfortunately, the roar of anxiety and depression escalates to a deafening crescendo that leaves you feeling powerless. It is seemingly impossible to drown out that negative noise all on your own. For that reason, even though I am the author of this letter, I will not be able to hear this soundtrack from within my own darkness. Still, I can turn my negative experiences into a positive if I can reach just one person in need. Allow me to roar alongside your mental monsters. Our stories are not the same, but the pages have familiar undertones. If you can hear me, then I ask that you trust me and do the following:
Find that grain of sand; it is your self-worth. You haven’t lost it. It is hidden deep inside where only you can reach. Others can see your worth, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t believe you are worthy. And, YOU ARE WORTHY.
Find that thread; it is your tenacity. From here, you will grow your future. Yes, you have a bright one. It is a future filled with choices and possibilities. You have been holding yourself together because you are tenacious. YOU’VE EARNED THIS FUTURE.
Find that straw; it is your endurance. At times, it may feel like it is the last one you will hold. In reality, your endurance has been developed to high thresholds from years of this fight. You will continue to find it when you dig deep. YOU CAN WITHSTAND THIS CHALLENGE.
Find that needle; it is your patience. Comb through the suffocating haystack. Take the negative thoughts one by one and toss them aside until you are holding that needle. Each time you take one more step, get up one more time, or choose to stay here one more day, this is the ultimate display of patience. YOU WILL OUTLAST THIS STORM.
Assemble your collection: a grain of sand, thread, straw, and a needle. These are your tools. They are locked inside, protected from even the scariest of monsters. Only you hold the key. It is hard work to find them. NOW REAP THE REWARD.
Take that needle and use it to sew cover with the thread and straw. Use the grain of sand like a rock to toss at my window. I won’t be bothered. Instead, I will be honored. I will join you under the cover you have created. I will ride out the storm. I will roar louder than your anxiety and depression. I will sit quietly without judgment when you react to your monsters. I will hold you when you need to feel an external sensation that is greater than the pressure cooking inside of your body. I will give you a safe space when you need to find yourself. KNOW THIS: I WILL NOT LEAVE. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. When it is time, we will move in tandem.
You are meant to be a part of this world. You have purpose and meaning. The weight that you carry daily is massive, and you are mighty because of it. You collected these tools because you are resilient. You threw the rock because you are brave enough to ask for help. This will not be easy. I wouldn’t dream of telling you otherwise. However, I will dream with you until you are well enough to make happiness your reality. IT IS POSSIBLE. YES, IT IS. You have taken the first step. Let’s keep moving together.
In a Crisis, Simply Wanting to Help Isn’t Enough
Think about the last time you worried about a friend, a family member or a neighbor. Many of us can sense when something isn’t quite right, but the fear of being intrusive, overstepping our bounds or saying the wrong thing can prevent us from acting. So, far too often, we do nothing to help.
Mental Health First Aid takes the fear and hesitation out of offering support to someone in an emotional crisis. It provides critical tools for helping people that can mean the difference between life and death.
This Mental Health Month, become part of the Be 1 in a Million movement. Get trained. Spread the word. Offer support to someone in need, because recognizing how and when to step in and offer help can change, even save, a life.