All of a sudden it hit me.
I felt it coming on like a cold. Like when your throat starts to hurt and you know you are in for it.
I was covered in this blanket of darkness. Totally enveloped in all of these feelings that I couldn’t change.
I began to breathe faster than normal. An involuntary reaction to what was coming over me.
My mind began to fill with all of the feelings of worthlessness that I had within me.
I no longer felt safe in my bed.
Instead, I climbed to the floor and pressed my cheek against the cold wood.
I gasped for air. I prayed that the tears would stop.
As I stared into the empty space under my bed, I began to contemplate my life.
Would they miss me if I left today? Would it make things better for them?
“Snap out of it. Stop being so sad all of the time.”
I hear their words and they make me feel even more broken. Even more unstable.
How could I possibly snap out of this?
This dark cloud has been stalking me for years.
Did it start following me after he violated me? After he took away everything that ever made me feel safe?
Did this darkness creep up the moment she died? Or did it start forming as soon as we got her diagnosis?
With my face against the floor, thinking of all of the reasons why I had no worth, something began to click.
That soft voice belonging to hope began to speak to me.
Hope told me that I had a reason to wake up tomorrow.
Hope began to gently remind me that if I took away my life, I would miss out on those beautiful sunsets.
I would miss out on the moments where laughter forms in the bottom of your belly and fills you with warmth.
Hope said, “You are worth it.”
My breathing began to slow down.
But the darkness tried to take over again.
Darkness said, “You’ll never be truly happy. You’ll never know peace. You’ll always be haunted by those memories – the ones that start to creep up and make you shiver while you look over your shoulder.”
Quietly, hope began speaking again.
Hope said, “You can get past this.”
A calm that I had not known in quite some time began to come over me.
I was able to take the hand reaching down for me and get off of the floor.
I didn’t feel anxious letting that person who cares for me so deeply wrap their arms around me and tell me I’m not alone.
In that moment, I knew I could ask for help.
“I struggle with depression and anxiety. Sometimes I feel worthless, and I don’t know why.”
Despite the doubts that I had before and despite the preconceived notions of how they might respond, that person who loves me simply looked me in my eyes and said, “OK.”
That person didn’t call me crazy. That person didn’t make me feel ashamed.
That person encouraged me to seek help.
With a good friend and hope by my side, I was able to tell someone who could help me that I couldn’t do this on my own anymore. I couldn’t keep walking around under this dark cloud.
And, since that day, I’ve felt like a person again.
I’ve learned that I can let people love me and not feel afraid.
I’ve learned that I can laugh and not feel guilty.
I’ve learned that I can look myself in the mirror and not be afraid of my reflection.
And now… now I know can believe hope when it starts to speak to me through the darkness.
Hope is no longer a whisper but a welcome friend who tells me that life is worth living.
Because of hope, I know I am worth it. I know I have a reason to keep going.
Hope is real.
Let hope find you in your darkness.