September is suicide prevention awareness month. And although that may be what sparked this post, one month isn’t nearly enough to bring awareness; to all aspects of mental health. While this blog started with mental health at the forefront, I seem to have gotten away from incorporating that into what I’m saying.
Over the past few months, writing has become a form of therapy for me, and I guess then you could say that the root behind all of my posts have to do with my own journey with mental health. Oftentimes I get here with the intention of writing and I leave behind an empty page, the perfect depiction of how I’m feeling. But tonight the words hit the page a little harder, and while suicide prevention is an important aspect in this, mental health is where it all begins. This past weekend weighed heavy on my heart for a multitude of reasons, but one in particular that brings me back to why I began writing in the first place.
I want to bring light to the dark. That’s such a cliche sentence but it couldn’t be any more true. A lot of those who struggle with their mental health may not even know how far they’ve fallen until it’s too late. We get so wrapped up in worrying about all the mundane things in our day to day that we forget to check in; with our friends, our family, even with ourselves. And then we realize we’ve been so busy, no one has checked in on us. There’s a video I see go around on social media all the time that says “who takes care of you?” and I had forgotten about it until my mom asked me the same question earlier. The answer has always been “me.” Some days I’m afraid I do not know how to be any other way. A lot of us give so much to others we leave ourselves empty. We take on all the weight to lighten the burden for others until we can’t even stand on our own two feet. And even then, we’re afraid to ask for help.
I always talk about how some of our lowest lows come right after the highest highs, and I have been riding this low for much longer than I needed to. I let myself wallow because I no longer knew how to be any other way, but at the bottom I learned I would never be able to stand under all this weight. I’m slowly learning that it’s okay to lay down the armor and let someone else care about us for once. How much of what you are carrying isn’t even yours to carry? Please, set it down. Breathe it out. When your friends ask how you are, tell them the truth.
So much of who we are gets lost in what we are carrying. It’s ok to not be ok. But that does not have to define where we are going. I’m beginning to learn there is a balance between being able to love others and love yourself. How can you expect to be what others need if you can’t even be that for yourself. I got lost in the heaviness, and for a minute I’m not even sure I recognized myself. But the moment I let the weight fall off, I saw the light. For the first time in months, I knew tomorrow I would be able to put one foot in front of the other and it would feel so much fucking lighter.
Check on your friends and check in on yourself. If we all do, maybe this month will be filled with a different statistic of all the lives we saved instead.
If you are in crisis, or know someone who is: call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline