one year later.

lately i have been thinking a lot about this last year.
how my recovery journey began.
how it continued.
what it took.
and why i even did it.

stories inspire me a lot.
seeing another person go through something relatable gives me hope.

if you are struggling with something.
if you are wrestling,
if you are striving,
may these words find you,
may these words give you hope.

—————————————————————————————————-

june 20th, 2018 was the day i was going to die.
good way to instill hope in people, huh?

this is now one year and some change from that date.

so, i started by adding new people.

ones who built me up.
slowly. slowly. slowly.

i was hesitant.
people are everywhere.
i have been hurt.
no one wants to be lonely.
you don’t need any superficial commonalities, you just need to show up.

honestly, we have more in common with one another than we do differences.

it didn’t end there.
people were essential, more than that,
honesty was the most important.

for years i believed that keeping it together was normal.
i shrugged off the things that happened to me,
abuse, death, failure, depression, anxiety.

i went through therapist after therapist as a teenager.
i passed with flying colors every time,
because i know the game.
tell them what they want to hear, make them feel good,
checkmate.
you’re out. i’m done in that office.

you can’t play chess with demons though.
they cheat. they lie. they steal.
the demons i carry with me are nothing short of the best conman.
always one step ahead, always ready for the offense.

when i made it to my breaking point i had this very clear moment.
i stared at my therapist and realized i wasn’t going to win.
and even though she knew what i was thinking, planning,
she made me say the words.

it was right then that i realized i was standing on the precipice.
i am no stranger to cliffs, i am no stranger to turning points,
there was no other way this time.
the wolves had caught up to me and it was time to trust what was below.

it was time for me to jump.

the fall was terrifying, for sure.
i winced every step of the way.
not because the fall broke me,
but because i had forgotten what freedom felt like.

i said the words out loud over and over.
slowly, shyly,
with my arms around my torso as if i had to hold myself together.
i felt weaker than i ever had,
those secrets had a hold on me like no other.

the moment i gave a voice to them,
the moment they became tangible and shared,
i suddenly could see how i could conquer them.
i could grab hold of the hands reaching out to me this whole time and be lifted up.

when the world had felt like it was crumbling,
when every lie i had told
“i’m fine” “i’m okay” “i’ve got this”
shattered and i was in the middle,
the collapse didn’t break me.
i was surrounded by a world i once lived in, now in shambles,

and i was able to walk through it.
it took time, it took steady hands surrounding me,
there were moments i had to walk without anyone,
but make no mistake they were there on the other side.

though this year felt like freedom,
there were times i still hadn’t figured myself out.
i listened to voices i thought were right.
and in fact, they were very wrong.

there were times i got sad,
and i relapsed.
i stopped taking my medicine.

but that doesn’t mean my journey ended.
it doesn’t mean that this is any less of a success story.

mental health is the most difficult beast of any.
even with the right medicine,
even with the right support system,
even with everything in place,
your brain is in control.
we can’t always win the battle.
but we can allow ourselves to heal.
get back up,
and get back at it.

when i made the choice to get better,
it was out of necessity.
i got to the point where my once very safe (ha), familiar demons,
were killing me. they were annoying, tbh.
i wanted to shake them off and rid myself of every piece of them.

that is, in fact, not how healing happens.

it happens by embracing them.
by having a very real conversation with them.
you basically invite them to dinner with you for months,
they show up very confused,
eventually you figure them out as much as you figure an old friend out.

for me, i was told, they will never go away.
now, i have made friends with them,
when they go back to their old shenanigans,
i know what to do.

it starts with me being very aware.
then i utilize my resources:
my rockstar therapist.
the notes that got me through when my community was gone.
memes can help me escape myself as well.
(thank you internet)

remember when i mentioned i started adding people that were good to me?
they are one of my favorite/least favorite resources.
they are the hardest for me to use,
but possibly the safest.

my people are honest, stubborn, loving, and uniquely kind.

i have been truthful about my journey with them,
in turn, they didn’t get scared,
they took my hand and walked with me.

i never knew it was possible.
i felt i had no one, just one year ago.
maybe you feel the same way.

what i’ve found is the more secrets i keep,
the farther away people are from me.
but we need one another.
as close, as messy, as real as possible,
those are the relationships we need.

the journey to recovery starts in a million different ways,
in a million different spots.
i hope yours begins now.
there is still some time.
to begin. to be surprised. to start over.

i have to be honest,
when faced with the decision of jumping off and getting better,
or being eaten alive by wolves,
i almost chose the wolves.

i was terrified that the love i wanted most in the world wouldn’t follow me.
i was scared i wouldn’t know love again.

i had to trust that something was on the other side.
that love, laughter, kindness, and everything that i was filled with,
would be there too.
and this time i would feel it.
maybe it wasn’t the exact one i thought it would be,
but love would greet me nonetheless.

it was the biggest risk i have ever taken.
it was the greatest reward i have ever received.

i now see that i have created a safe space within me for love to grow.

recovery looks different for everyone.
the fears of starting are different for everyone.

i belong nowhere,
yet i feel comfortable everywhere now.
because the harbor that i find refuge is at home within me.

what we share is the same need for safety.
we share the undeniable reality that we deserve love,
not because of where we have been, or who we are,

simply by existing are we worthy.
we are enough.

it is not
“once i change, people with love me.”
no, thank you.
life is not a conditional statement.

you are loved now.
you are enough now.
you are deserving of safety.
hope is yours for the taking.

for all the people you think are so different from you because they are loved.
you are no different than them.
all the messages of hope you have delivered,
or the ones you have so longed to hear,

they are yours.

humans have more in common than you think.

every person has experienced heartbreak.
that alone should make us compassionate.

you, my lovely friend, have experienced heartbreak.
you deserve compassion.

i guarantee if you heard your own story told to you,
you would rest your hand on your shoulder,

and tell yourself to breathe.

you are as worthy as your best friend, your favorite human
of rest.
of love.
of friendship.
of kindness.
of laughter.
of hope.
of healing.
of being seen.
of compassion.
of feeling.
of good things.

you and i are no different, you see.
your story and mine have different details.
but we get the same ending.

we don’t have to try for anything.
this life wasn’t given to us so we can achieve anything.
we were here to enjoy the land,
take care of it, and each other.

we are here to love.
we are here to rest.
we are here to make life the best possible for each other.

my story may look different from yours,
my hope is that you know we can find the same peace.

that if no one has told you,
you hear this now:

recovery is possible.
it is hard, it is scary,
it is life giving.

you are deserving of this freedom.
love is out here.
let it consume you.
let people hold you close.
for every minute that you are scared,
you will feel comfort multiplied.

i cannot do the work for you,
but i can offer you my hand.
should you choose to take it,
i will walk by you the entire way.

i know people who will join me.
i know there are others longing for you to take the step.
take it from someone on the other side, yet still in it with you.

this is a space i hope you feel welcomed.
this is a space for the wilder.

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