My daughter, who at 13 is one of the most beautiful spirits I know, inspires this post. This morning was a difficult morning for her. She struggles with depression/anxiety due to the bullying she has been through at her school. There are mornings where getting her out of bed takes over 20 minutes and this was one of those mornings. She knows about my past journey with PTSD and major depression and knows I survived the many dark paths I journeyed on. This morning I discussed with her my personal letter of thanks. It has not been written on paper until now. Truly it has just been a mental note penciled in within my mind, but my daughter told me I needed to share it.
I am almost 40 and for the past few years I have embraced the fact that I am reaching an age that at one time I never thought I would attain. Ten years ago I sat in an ER getting my stomach emptied of all the high blood pressure medicine I had taken. It was a moment that could have taken me from this world. My depression and PTSD almost won. In that very moment something also began to change. A light came into my soul and began to slightly flicker. It would take two years before that flicker became a blazing light within me. In those two years I would become pregnant and give birth to my second child plus lose my father. The light blazed within me and I realized I was finally in control and no longer needed to hold my dark friend’s hand. I became grateful. Today I will write my letter of thanks.
Thank you depression and PTSD for allowing me to know true darkness and helping me to see my strength. You were a dear friend when I thought I had no one else. You deceived and suffocated me. Yet on our journey you introduced me to determination and emotion that have now become my closest friends. You reminded me that I am capable of standing tall. Through you I was able to meet amazing people. You taught me to let go and embrace each moment. I will always be grateful for our many walks together, but you are a friendship I will never embrace again. Now I tell our stories to help others.
Thank you doubters and gossipers. You watched me fall and doubted my ability to get back up. Perhaps you talked about me and told people I was crazy. Maybe you think that I should remain silent about my past journeys. I forgive you. Truthfully, I am grateful for your presence in my life. You have taught me that it is okay to be honest and have a strong voice. I have seen that there are others who may be walking paths I once did and they need me to speak. Your doubts and the words you threw that hurt me only drove me to be stronger. You allowed me to see that in life it is okay if there are people who do not like or believe in me. I have learned how to cheer for everyone, even those who do not cheer in return. Through you I have learned to love who I am. I own my emotions just as you own yours. This is how we end stigma.
Thank you silence. I used to fear you. There was a time I thought spending time with you would only make my dark friend hold me tighter. However, I have learned that I am an introvert. When I tried to be an extrovert and fit in with others I was only allowing my dark friend to have a stronger grasp on my spirit. By spending many a quiet moment meditating or running I have learned to love who I am. Through the silence I have found myself.
Thank you transparency. You allowed emotions to honestly enter my spirit and for me to embrace them without fear. There is a clarity now that was not present before. Through your presence I have been able to truly embrace those people who love me and have constantly believed in me. You have made the world more clear and vibrant. You have allowed me to live without fear of showing my emotions and myself.
Thank you mountains. I have fallen down many of you. Climbing up is the hardest part. However, one day I reached the top. I looked out over the world and I let go. It was the scariest and most invigorating moment in my life. Your vast peaks and crooked edges reminded me that I will struggle many times climbing you, but it will be worth it.
Thank you universe.