The Best Gift I Can Give Myself

By Emily GallantOctober 4, 2018

Recently, I celebrated my 24th birthday. Well, I guess I should say others celebrated it. It’s been a long time since I’ve actually enjoyed my birthday. Over the last few years, it’s been a painful reminder that with another year passing, I’m still a mess.

365 days go by and I’m no better. My depression hasn’t magically disappeared. My anxiety has worsened. I’m wrestling with urges to self-harm again after being clean for four years. And sometimes I reach for a drink instead of help. Another birthday simply means another year of letting myself and those I love down. But alas, no matter how hard I tried to will it away, the clock continued ticking and my birthday came once again.

It was a day full of people sending love and well wishes, and celebrating me—a concept I struggle to accept since I feel there is nothing to celebrate.

In the days since, I’ve found myself reflecting on my 23rd year. Where it went wrong, but also where it went right? What challenges had I overcome? What steps had I taken to grow and better myself? What memories brought me joy? Who played an important role in my life that year? Through this reflection, I looked forward to the upcoming year. I wondered how I could prevent the dread when my next birthday rolls around, and I realized that I’m going to need to give myself a few things. Belated birthday gifts if you will. Those four gifts are: acceptance, patience, courage, and forgiveness.


I need to accept that I am who I am. I struggle with mental illness. I feel deeply. I wrestle. I cry. I win and I lose. And all of that is OK. I am human. I can quickly accept others and their struggles, so why should I not extend that same acceptance to myself?


Patience is something I quickly run out of. This year I will be patient with myself when I fall down for the hundredth time. Or when unwanted thoughts fill my head and I can’t push them out. I need to be patient when I find myself back in a place I don’t want to be, or simply in moments when I’m tired of working so hard to maintain recovery.


I will give myself the gift of choosing courage every day possible. It takes courage to pick yourself back up. It takes courage to keep moving forward. It takes courage to be vulnerable; to let others in so that they can walk alongside you. Through granting myself courage, I can continue seeking help and healing through friends, mentors, and counseling. It doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t be afraid, it just means that I will move in the direction of my healing despite the fear.


This is a big one for me. I have been covered in shame and guilt for so long because of past choices. This year, I will extend, and accept (with as much grace as I can muster), forgiveness toward myself as a means to unchain myself from all the things that keep pulling me back. Mistakes and regrets are inevitable. Failure to forgive will not help me to move forward, and forward I wish to move.

But ultimately, far above these four things, the best gift I can give myself is love. By loving myself (flaws, impending mistakes, and past mistakes included), I will be allowing myself a shot at all of these gifts I deserve to embrace. And no matter what my depression, anxiety, or past may tell me, I am so very deserving.

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Comments (12)

  1. Gail Porter

    Yes you are deserving and yes you do matter in this life. You have a whole life ahead of you take baby steps one day at a time one moment at a time. This too shall pass and before you know it you will get better. You know more about hanging on than the next person does. You are one step ahead learning about how precious this life is because before you know it, with the blink of an eye, the time will go by. Depression can be like a dead weight that you carry along with you. It may always be there but so will you. Do what you like, like what you do. Give yourself a break, take the time to breathe, make the best of every situation because life is a long learning process and along the way you grow and give a little of yourself to help someone else. Always focus on what is good, leave the bad behind. Run free without the guilt and focus on today, this moment you are in. Stay. You are worth it. You will always be worth more than the troubles that may pass by. There is so much to do in life so much to miss so much to conquer! Life loves ❤️ You! Every piece of you. Go forward on your quest one moment at a time…remember baby steps.?❤️?

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  2. Jordan

    I relate to this in absolutely every way.
    I too have a birthday coming up this month, and as my depression and anxiety have only worsened with age, I’m dreading my birthday this year. With another year passing I am reminded that I still struggle with mental health issues, and I am hurting more now than I was a year ago.

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    1. TWLOHA

      Hello Jordan,

      We are so sad to hear that you are dreading your birthday. We know that birthdays can be hard for many people, and we are sorry that this is a difficult time for you. We do not want you to feel alone during this time though. Please reach out to us at [email protected]. We would love to talk to you more.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
  3. appsdemujer

    Terria, I relate to this message, and am struggling with God”s forgiveness and forgiving the offense myself. My father, a “Christian sexually abused my daughter, his granddaughter, when she was a young child and when she was a preteen. This has caused my sweet daughter to run far from her home and family through college and work. She connects sparingly and we are struggling to regain relationship with her. I am hurt, angry and feel quite betrayed by the man i called daddy all my life. I only found out a few years ago, and it has crushed me and broken my heart. I must wrestle with God in order to find forgiveness in my heart for this horrible offense. Please pray that I will be able to obey God and release forgiveness soon, as well as prayer for reconciliation with my daughter. Thank you for sharing your story. It brings some encouragement to my aching heart to know this is possible.

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    1. TWLOHA

      Hello friend,

      We are heartbroken to hear about what your daughter has had to go through. Dealing with such a difficult situation can be draining, and we do not want you to have to deal with this on your own. If you would like, you can reach out to us at [email protected]. We are willing to listen if you would like to talk to us more.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
  4. AMC

    You matter.

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  5. John Klingler

    Thank you for this. I shared it with my friends.

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  6. Mabra

    I needed to hear this. My girlfriend left me and for the past days I’ve been so lost. But today as I was on the couch I thought if I want to be and do something, I have to achieve. I have to get up. And I definitely would have preferred to lay on the couch but I had to love myself to get up. (Even though it felt like gravity was pushing me down) so thank you. Thank you for being speaking and sharing. I will keep these as reminders everyday.

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    1. TWLOHA


      Thank you for sharing this with us. We are so proud of you for investing in positive self-talk for the sake of your self-care and self-worth. You deserve to believe in yourself and your abilities. It’s inspiring for us to read this, and we are so glad Emily’s words could help encourage you to find strength in a time of struggle and heartbreak.

      You are always welcome to reach out to our team at [email protected] when you are in need of support. We would be honored to hear more of your story.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
  7. Susan Arledge

    First off nice meeting you and your blog was very wekk written out. It was like I was in your brain and could see what you went threw and still going through.
    I’ve been a follower of “to write live on her arm probably over 8 years. My niece that’s 19 had a anxiety attach at high about two years ago and that crushed me to to know they took her to the hospital and after she was logged in not seeing her mom or anyone until they could see how she acting. All in all I want to say I was so sad getting a call from my mom saying my niece wanted to take her dad’s pills (her friend at school thinks that’s what she heard her say) but thankful she went to the nurse at school and told someone what my niece said! Long story short she go the help she needed and still does but that hit home hard. My best friend for 18+ years has dealt with depression all her life. She has the lowest bipolar and being careful about what medicine to mix and when Botox will have her spinning into a down payment of deep depression. Thank God she figured it out and read what ithees felt after taking botex for migraines. They all felt deep dark depression and wanted ro kill themselves. Not Co and her De. New she couldn’t take that since the side effect was depression. Anyways I feel people that have friends day and family who deal with depression should keep a journal as well to see why they are acting out in a certain way or why are they seeing there head Dr. Twice in a week. Little things like this could help someone and save lives. Sorry I rambles on but my family don’t talk about or let’s say they dont. I try to educate them since my best friend educated me on depression and knowung anxiety is part of it too. I developed a small amount anxiety with math but find myseld beknf at the store with to many ppeoole or my friend getting upset makes me have anxiety but it’s on a different level. I ride my almost wvweyday and that takes everything back to square one. I’m so glad I got to read your blog and educate myself more about depression amd anxiety. I feel like I am a healer in this life and always giving and focus on other feeling and what kind of day they had or they may have problems. You are suck a strong woman and I am so glad you are here today to help other song ,old doesn’t matter you are here today ,you are here to educate yourself and the world on a major important matter. You matter. So proud of your strong ability to voice your life infeont of rhe world.
    Emily, wow you are my hero. Jeep on keeping on and hey if you ever want to chat me I have a great ear to listen okay.
    No on no giving up! Big strong hugs from San Diego. ????☯️?️

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  8. Don Aldon

    U explained it perfectly

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    Great 👌 write ups,we are also very deserving

    Reply  |  
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