“How are you doing this week?” my therapist asks me every Monday at our 3 pm meeting.
“I’m good, how are you?” I respond with a smile plastered on my face.
She tells me that she meets with some clients twice per week, but she doesn’t think I need that. Because I am doing “just fine,” she says.
I continue to tell her my latest stressors with work, and we talk through boundaries and coping strategies and brainstorm ideas together. What I don’t tell her is… I am actually not fine. Not even close.
I wake up each day resenting the sun for rising and instantly feel a pit in my stomach, knowing I am about to take on another full day in a job I despise in a life I despise even more. I struggle to make it to the end of the day, and when I do, I just want to melt into a puddle on the ground. I don’t want to see my friends, I don’t want to engage in my hobbies, I don’t want to work out, I don’t want to cook dinner. I want to sleep for a month straight and put my life on pause. Then, I want to wake up and make my life into something beautiful and simple. A job that I love helping others, time and energy to do the things that bring me joy. People with who I can be myself around and feel safe. Enough money to live comfortably. A feeling of peace and acceptance.
Instead, I feel intense dread. I know I need to make a change, but I feel frozen in place. Lost. Confused. Exhausted. I feel like I’m barely hanging on, losing my grip. In my darkest moments, a voice in my head whispers,
“What is the point anyway?”
I don’t know. I feel hopeless and empty. I feel like I don’t belong here.
One day, I came across a T-shirt on the TWLOHA website that said: “Hope is Real.” The description read: “There is a boldness in your breathing, a spark still within you that threatens the darkness you’ve known. And even on the days you don’t see it, know that we do. And know that we will always hold that hope for you.”
I cried when I read it. Something about it touched the part of me that is still alive, the part that knows I deserve to feel good.
Some days, I don’t feel like I have the strength to keep going. But I have proved myself wrong for 24 years now. I am strong. I continue to hold this hope for myself even when I don’t feel it.
On the hardest days, I tell myself my only job is to keep existing, one breath at a time.
I feel like a mess. I feel like I’m falling apart on a daily basis. I don’t have my life figured out. I don’t know how to not feel miserable every day. But you know what I do know? I don’t have to lie to my therapist. I don’t have to feel ashamed and suffer in silence. I don’t have to pretend to have anything figured out or under control. I don’t need to pretend that I understand life. I am stronger than the depression, the anxiety, and the trauma. I belong here. And so do you.
Whatever you are facing, there is always hope. And we will hold on to hope until you’re able to grasp it yourself. We encourage you to use TWLOHA’s FIND HELP Tool to locate professional help and to read more stories like this one here. If you reside outside of the US, please browse our growing International Resources database. You can also text TWLOHA to 741741 to be connected for free, 24/7 to a trained Crisis Text Line counselor.