Trigger Warning

A little something about holding onto hope, When it feels like it’s the end;
The struggle always bears strength.

CigarettesInTheSand

When I first had a panic attack, I was quite literally in the middle of a laugh. I spent the night in the hospital, unsure of how to make sense of my erratic heartbeat and my uneven breathing. It was shortly after that I got a prescription.

It was a great system while it lasted; I’d wake up in the morning and pop a pill and an automatic smile would spread across my face. I called them happy pills. It really was that simple. And then, it wasn’t. It took about a month for the bubble to burst. I wasn’t feeling any better about myself, and the idea that the world would be better off without me was rooted firmly in my head.

I won’t dwell on the reasons I felt the way I did. I won’t even tell you what happened that day. All I can tell you is that I hurt myself. I was angry. I was hurt. I was frustrated. I was helpless. I felt as though I had lost control over my life. No one was listening. They had already painted me ‘psycho’.

To those who knew what I was going through, they knew of circumstance. They couldn’t empathize. They tried, and I will always be grateful for those who gave me a shoulder or lent me their ear, but at the end of the day, the only face I needed superimposed on Superman’s body was my own.

It’s been a long journey to get to where I am today, having broken the chains that they call ‘self-destruction’. My guilt spirals, self-esteem issues, body-image issues and lack of self-worth, to name a few of the ingredients that contributed to the cocktail of my struggle to find myself.

The only reason I’m sharing any of this is because I want to believe that my experience can help someone out there. I want to be able to shout it out from rooftops, that it really is true: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s quite literal an interpretation, but it’s true. I woke up one morning and I realized that I had survived, and it was a second chance for me.

You know those clichés people talk about? They’re only clichés because they’re true. The biggest one that I now advocate is this: one day at a time.

I wasn’t strong enough then to be able to reflect on the reasons that I had chosen to take such a drastic step, so I began small. I had to begin somewhere. And with smaller goals, there were smaller achievements, but every small achievement contributed to bigger motivation.

What I heard was, “You can’t always be sad.” What I needed was, “Whatever it takes to help.” At the time, I felt like nobody understood me. I recall writing this in my journal because I couldn’t find it in me to say it out loud; “You don’t get to decide what’s wrong with me, you don’t get to diagnose me just because you know me. If I tell you what’s wrong, or even that I feel like this is something I need to deal with – you either support me or you don’t. There is no alternate solution – you don’t get to tell me differently.” I felt caught, being unable to explain to someone who just wants to help that their help is less helpful and contributes more to making me feel helpless if they didn’t accept the way that I felt.

As the months progressed, I felt more in control. I felt like I was slowly equipping myself with the tools necessary to actually sit down and address my problems instead of running away from them.

My toolbox was polished, and slowly but surely, I began using them all. Self-love, self-care, forgiveness, gratitude and most importantly: learning to live for myself.

I don’t pretend like my experience makes me more empathetic to those who are going through something so devastating that it breaks them apart. But I want to be able to. I want to be able to tell someone who thinks of taking their own life that it’s not the solution. It never is. Whatever you feel right now, it’s temporary. You have the power to do something about it, if you just try. You just have to want it. Reach out. Be it to your friends, your family, a therapist, a medical practitioner, a stranger on the street – just ask for help. There’s no way that your request will be denied, especially if it’s fueled by the will to live.

I can’t promise that things work out. I can’t promise that whatever situation is tormenting you right now will be okay overnight. I can’t promise that you will come out of this stronger or even wiser. But I can promise you that the moment you start loving your life, you will find the strength to fight whatever comes your way.

No one should have the power to devastate your life, regardless of their stature. No one else should be able to tell you who you are, or who you can be, and especially not whether your life is worth living.

If you’re thinking about it, don’t do it. Seek help. Go to therapy. There is plenty of mental health help available online. There are helpline numbers available and people you can talk to. But ending your life serves no purpose. And I say this as someone who has considered it and lived through it and can vouch for the fact that if you try hard enough, you will learn to love your life again.

I’m writing this to tell you that life is beautiful, flaws and everything, and you have to embrace every aspect of it! Not everything will always go your way, and that’s okay. You have to learn to make your peace with the cards you have been dealt, and then play them to your advantage. That’s how poker works, and at some level, life too. I do believe that we need to talk about these things, because you don’t know what someone is going through, and you don’t want to be there when they’re gone and you’re left thinking, “But she was such a happy person, no?”

You never know what someone is going through, so don’t be unnecessarily apathetic towards your fellow humans. If you don’t want to help, that’s perfectly alright. But don’t stand in the way of someone getting help, or contribute to the reason that they need it. Find your solace and live for yourself. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people, whether you know them or not, and give them a chance to show you how beautiful you are, and beautiful your existence can be.

P.S.: If you feel like you need to talk and you don’t have anyone available to listen, I have started a portal called The Venting Machine to lend you an ear. I hope that it helps, and I sincerely hope that you know that whoever you are and wherever you may be, you are loved and your happiness is prayed for.

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