Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Hope's Still Here - Tuesday Tune

So day two ... no lie y'all I'm so tired today. Emotionally deep in the bone just exhausted. I mean I wasn't a loaf all day. I went to work, got a little prepared for the upcoming weather (please everyone on the East Coast stay safe and listen to the authorities), handled some adult stuff and went to counseling. But I want to keep the conversation going and keep raising awareness for National Suicide Prevention Week and also bring mental health out of the shadows and secrets.

A little bit of my story: My dad passed away when I was nineteen after fighting Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma off and on for eleven years. And after his death, I went through a kind of zombie/robot phase of I guess shock and grief and survival. But when I came back home at the end of the semester and he wasn't there; the loss got real, it got real real. I don't know if I like the phraseology of "fell into a depression" but there isn't another word for it: I was depressed. The silver lining I found was I knew I could talk to someone about it, I could ask my doctor, my family, and my counselor for help. In December of that year I sort of woke up; I know it sounds strange but that's what it felt like for me. One day it just seemed easier to breathe in a world without my dad. And a few days later I could think of parts of my life without my dad being here on Earth and not break down crying or close myself off in my room.

That's the ending of that particular moment in my life; a "depressive episode" is what my doctors and counselor called it. But the middle of it just plain sucked. I didn't want to do anything and anything I did do felt like it took so much more energy than it should. I was tired, cranky, and just done all the time. I lived between my earbuds going from work to class back to my dorm. And if it wasn't for my friends and family I probably wouldn't have left my dorm other than for classes. I never knew that darkness could be a feeling, a weight and anything more than the simple visual opposite of light. Until those moments, those days. And I don't know if I'm smart enough to even give it proper characterization. Today's Tuesday Tune is Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt "Found Tonight". Play it. Hear It. Listen to it on Repeat.

And what scares me most now that I've fought my way out of it; is winding up anywhere close to that kind of darkness again. My biggest fear, my boogie man, that haunts me if I ever let my anxiety or exhaustion go a little too long before I implement self-care strategies. (Things like a healthy diet, sunshine, exercise, singing, hanging out with family and friends, a sleep routine, working my way back into my faith.) Also its something I praise God for every day. I knew and was able to ask for help when the darkness invaded my life. I had an amazing family that stood there with me in the darkness. Friends that fought to remind me of all the good still left in the world for me. A counselor I got to see free-of-charge because of the college I went to; a school that knew to truly educate a student you have support them and educate them in all realms of their lives. Because I know that I'm the exception to the rule. Even in my darkness, where I felt most alone I still had glimpses of light; cracks in the darkness reaching in to save me. And a lot of people don't have those glimpses of light or are able to see or believe in them when they come through.

So as I wrap up day two (and stop saying "SO") please if you read this and that darkness is haunting you; you are not ALONE. There is LIGHT and LOVE still in the world for you. Reach out and ask for help. It won't be easy but I promise IT WILL BE WORTH IT. Because YOU ARE.

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