Two years ago, I was in a fight for my life, and nobody knew it.
I had almost given up when I decided to really try living.
I’ve hated myself for as long as I can remember. To say that I had low self esteem wouldn’t even scratch the surface of the amount of self-loathing I had. Why I was the way I was really isn’t as important as what came to be.
Two years ago, me, my husband and our two kids, lost everything we had. Our house, our cars, our clothes, our memories. We faced near homelessness twice. We had nothing. Thankfully, we were able to stay with family and we had a roof over our heads. The one thing keeping me and my family from homelessness was the kindness and generosity of our extended family.
As you can imagine, depression starts to creep in slowly. We all have that inner voice of negativity that sounds off from time to time. Mine was beating me up left and right. I could only think of the pain my children were going through. I could only think of how badly we had failed and how our kids were suffering for it. My world got darker and darker, and nobody knew. Nobody knew because I didn’t tell them. I never let on how sad I was or how lost I felt.
I never told anyone what my real true thoughts or feelings were because there is such a stigma surrounding mental health. I worried that I would be deemed “crazy”. I worried that seeking help for what I knew was slowly taking over could possibly do more harm than good. That’s the fear though, isn’t it? If we speak up and if we let someone into our minds or thoughts, we’re making ourselves vulnerable and sometimes that fear is stronger than anything. Depression can be tricky.
It was during this time I started having suicidal thoughts.
I started to think dark, awful thoughts. Thoughts that a person should never think or have. I started to think about all the things I would never do. Which then led me to think about all of the things I hadn’t ever done in my 42 years of life. It’s morbid and it’s terrible but it’s necessary for you to understand how unbelievably close I was to a very jagged edge.
Days turn to weeks, weeks to months and soon, you can’t find a reason to smile. Your hope is gone. Soon, it’s hard to find a reason to get out of bed. All too soon, it doesn’t take long before you can’t find a reason…for anything.
That’s a fine line my friends and I pray to god that if any of you are ever this close to breaking, you remember what I’m going to tell you next.
I remember laying in my bed, in a hell of my own making, drowning in a sea of awful, dark thoughts. Thinking about all I would never do and hadn’t done. Thinking about a life wasted. I had always wanted to write and never got around to it. I’d always hoped to someday travel and hadn’t. I started making a list of all the things I hadn’t done in my 40 years of life.
I hadn’t actually lived it.
I had worked a thankless job as a corporate drone for the last 10yrs. I hadn’t done anything impactful or meaningful the way I had always hoped I would. Our family hadn’t traveled or taken any vacations ever. My husband and I had both hated the jobs we no longer had. Maybe I was looking at this all wrong? Sure, we had lost our things, but they were just… things. What if we had actually gained our freedom?
It was that one small thought. That one, simple, fleeting thought changed everything.
This wasn’t an end to anything. This was our brand-new beginning.
I followed that small ray of light slowly out of my darkness. It took everything I had to pull myself out of bed. Everything I had to look my husband in the face and say “I’m not ok, I think I need help, no… I know I need help and I need to be honest with both of us”. He didn’t think I was crazy as I had worried and it’s important that you know that too. All too often we worry about what others might think. The people who love you will never think you’re crazy.
That one small step changed everything.
Six months later one of my dreams came true. I was incredibly lucky to be in the right place at the right time. My story moved one of the ladies I was speaking too. I was offered a public speaking position with an organization I believe in whole heartedly.
With no formal training and no degree, the girl who once hated herself so much she couldn’t look herself in the mirror, now stands in front of crowds sometimes of 100 people or more and I share my story. I tell them who I am and how close I was to giving up and I hold my head high when I do it, because I’m not ashamed of where I was. I’m not ashamed of what happened. I survived it and I want to help others survive it too.
It’s now my job, my passion to help other adults who are struggling see that there is hope. It’s my job to extend that helping hand and be the light that they so desperately need. It’s my job to help them understand it is never ever too late to chase your dreams. Just keep going.
In the last year I’ve authored children’s books under a pen name, and I’ve started freelance writing regularly. My story is really just getting started. And to think, it almost didn’t start at all.
I’m incredibly grateful for the life that I have. I’m grateful for the few close friends around us who have remained by our sides this whole time. I’m grateful for the family that loves us, for the job I have now and for the second chance life has given me. I’m grateful for all of the possibilities, but mostly I’m grateful I didn’t take them away.
About the author
"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring" -Marilyn Monroe
People who aren't afraid to admit we are all a little ridiculous at times, are my kind of people.