You—yes, you—are a fighter.
Looking back three years ago, I would have never believed those words. My entire being was lost in a depression that had lulled my hope to sleep. Every day was a struggle; every day I questioned my very existence and often contemplated giving up on the little life left in me. Self-harm became my way to achieve “comfort” and numb the pain of wounds I had buried. But then, somehow, I found hope and mercy. At first, it seemed too good to be true.
Could I really be loved?
Could I really recover from something that defined me?
Was it worth the effort?
I questioned myself often during the first few months of recovery. There were days where I relapsed. There were days that I swore, ‘Never again,’ only to relapse weeks or even days later. But, there were also days that the light reached my eyes again, days that joy joined my every step forward, and days where I no longer hid my scars in shame. Those were the days that kept me going. Those were the days that taught me how to fight.
To fight for hope.
To fight for dreams.
To fight for myself.
So allow me to be the one to remind you of your will and ability to fight. Surely, there have been days where you’ve wanted to walk back into what the darkness has to offer. We long for the darkness because in a distorted way, it’s comforting. It’s “easy” to stay in bed all day, to cry, to reach for that one thing that gives you temporary “relief” from your struggles. Sometimes, lies are so much more believable than the truth. You can let yourself get lost in the deep abyss of sorrow and let depression have the last word. Or you can reach and ask and search for hope.
We can fight back.
Depression does not have to have the last word.
Suicide does not have to be the only way out.
Anxiety does not have to be your master.
There is light in the darkness, and sometimes that means simply looking inside yourself. It means grabbing ahold of the truth that has been there all along, but somehow got misplaced; whispering promises of freedom and joy.
It’s OK to struggle, to feel pain, to let yourself acknowledge the broken condition of your heart. When you acknowledge the pain, healing has the opportunity to flood the dark crevices of the places you’ve long kept hidden. Wounds won’t heal so long as they are covered with a bandaid. They find relief when they are exposed to the light and the air—not when they are forgotten and pushed aside.
It’s not an easy choice, but let me tell you, it’s worth it. It will be worth the effort, the ups and the downs, and even the possibility of a relapse. Whatever it is that’s holding you back from finding that place of true freedom. It’s worth letting go. It’s worth giving up control. It’s worth sharing your problems with others who can help.
You are not your pain.
You are not your diagnosis.
You are not your past.
You are loved.
You have a purpose.
You are a fighter, and a survivor.