The darkness can feel like being hit by a wave of emotion - exhaustion, despair, and sadness. The more you fight it, the stronger it gets and the more it pulls on you. When you just let go and fall with it, things get even darker. How do you find your way out of the dark to the light?
Mental health struggles are real. They can be painful. You may feel alone. In some of the darkest times, you may feel like something is “wrong” with you to the core. There may be thoughts of suicide.
There is hope though. You may feel alone, but you don't have to be. Reach out for support. It could come from a friend or family member. It could come from a therapist, a doctor, or another professional. People care about you. They want to help. There are people that you haven't even met yet that care and want to help.
When we open up and talk about our struggles, it may feel strange at first. We aren’t sure how people will react. When we talk to people in our personal lives, we may fear that if they knew the truth about our pain, then they will “know” that there’s something “wrong” with us. Then, they may leave or reject us. Often times though, when we open up, when we allow people to truly see us, we allow for a true, genuine, connection to happen. By sharing about our experience, we are making others more comfortable to share about their own.
We live in a world of airbrush, photoshop, and snapchat filters. People find ways to alter how they present themselves to the world in hopes of being “perfect.” Why do we do this? Maybe it’s because we all have a similar core fear. There’s something “wrong” with me that makes me “unloveable.” We don’t realize that the people around us may have similar fears and struggles. We may think others have found the secret of how to live the perfect happy life. It only looks like they are a duck sitting on water cool, calm, and collected. The reality is, that duck’s legs are moving fast to stay afloat too. Other people have struggles that they may not be talking about.
What would happen if we just stopped using those filters? What if we stopped trying to always cover up the pain and the self doubt that we feel inside. What if, we got real? What if, we let people in and let them see the true us – flaws and all. We all have them. We all have experienced darkness at some point. Our darkness may not be the same. We all have our unique stories and our darkness may be influenced by different things. But we can relate to the emotions and thoughts. We can support one another.
When we share the truth of who we are, where we have been, and how we feel, we can begin to truly connect. We can begin to heal. We are not meant to go through life alone. We need other people. We deserve that support. Through support of friends and professionals we can learn to ride those waves of darkness. Our supports are there to give us light, even when we can’t see the light ourselves. There is hope. People care. It gets better.
May is Mental Heath Awareness Month. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, know that there is hope. Reach out for 24/7 Support. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK, San Diego Access & Crisis Line 888-724-7240, and the Crisis Text Line - Text CONNECT to 741741