t was my birthday last Friday, the 8th. I went on a canoe trip and I floated down a river feeling like the happiness would cause my heart to burst.
This is still so radical. I spent most of my life wanting, trying, to die. I felt for so many years that I was a mistake, my life was a mistake, that the world would be so much better off without me. I struggled to find happiness, and I hated myself for not being able to ‘just be normal” and enjoy my life. Even in the midst of my depression, I knew there was so much to appreciate and to feel grateful for. I just couldn’t get with it. I felt damaged, like I didn’t even deserve life.
I made it through somehow. I have had friends help me, I have had family stay close even as I pushed them away, I have had strangers offer kindnesses, hugs, smiles. dollars, food. I’d see a sunrise, or hear a song, or pet a dog, at just the right time to encourage me to keep trying for one more day. I miraculously kept waking up after binges and enough drugs in my system to put a small village to sleep for good. At the time I was angry to keep waking up, to keep plodding along without any real ability to function, without any sense of purpose or joy. Things used to be very sad for me.
And now I get chills when I feel how good things have gotten and how close I was to missing out on this wonderful life I get to live. Every day I feel amazed. Every day, even with struggles, challenges, annoyances, and pain, I still know I am damn lucky to be alive and very, very grateful.
Wait. Grateful…That’s not the word.
I feel like I had someone looking out for me, pulling me through the shit like,”hold on little one, I want to show you something beautiful, just hang on, it’s just around this bend. ” And I was bloody and tired but kept dragging myself up hills and through the dark, and something helped me, carried me, called me, and then WHAM, we rounded a bend and the sun rose and the view was breathtaking and now I’m in paradise. I feel like sobbing because it was so hard to get here and it was so worth it to hold on.
And so, to you, if you feel like I did, like “what the heck am I doing here, something’s gotta give”, if your heart is heavy, if you are hurting with big pain, I promise, there’s a break coming just around the bend. Keep walking, even if it’s slow. Keep reaching, even if you can’t see who’s holding your hand. Keep trying, even if it feels pointless and exhausting. It gets better, it always will get better, you just have to keep yourself alive to see it.
Hold on, hold on, hold on.