If I told you I was thinking of a three-word phrase – one with eight letters – what comes to mind?
Upon hearing this description, you might automatically think of “I love you.” However, I’ve learned that the phrase I’m referring to can be more powerful than that. This phrase holds more weight, more depth, and more impact; at least it does for me.
I need you.
I’ve battled with depression since I was 13 years old. No one was aware that I struggled with the illness until the brink of my 22nd birthday when I made an attempt to take my own life. I spent two nights in the hospital, and once the secret was out that my injury was not the result of an accident, I was transferred to the psychiatric ward.
Even in the depths of my depression, I recognized how desperately I needed other people. I needed people to get me through the episodes. I needed people to get me through the dark thoughts. I needed people to get me through the negative emotions.
But I never once thought about who needed me.
I will never forget when I came to this realization. It was during a conversation with a friend who has played a significant role in my healing process since the attempt. I already knew how much I needed her, but during this conversation she turned the tables. She said, “I need you.”
The unmatched power of those three words shook my entire being.
Looking back on my life, I realized I had never been told I was needed. Whenever the cloud of depression would overtake me, I tried to remember my family and friends, but it was never because I thought they needed me. This didn’t become a reality until I heard the phrase spoken out loud. When words leave your mouth, they take on a new form and are brought into existence. Hearing that I am needed and understanding what that means transformed my perception of the value of my own life.
We don’t live only for ourselves; we live for others. Think about those who need you today. Maybe you’ll think of your parents, your siblings, and your friends. Now take a minute and envision the people in your future – the nameless, faceless people that you have not yet met – who will need you one day. They will need to know your name. They will need to have your friendship. They will need to hear your story.
It has taken me time and effort to accept the truth that my story is unparalleled and powerful. I play a necessary character in the narrative of those around me. I am called to inspire others to live an unbounded life. I am here to remind them to fight and face their fears, to step out in courage, and to realize and embrace their purpose.
Countless times I’ve wanted to quit fighting. I live with the constant fear of losing my battle with depression, but remembering that I am needed gives me the will to fight for another day, to fight for my life. If you find yourself facing the same fear, I challenge you to continue to fight for yourself. Fight for the characters in your story that have not given up on you. They need you. We need you to stay alive.
Declare this, out loud, to yourself right now…
“I am needed. I have a purpose.”