Lighthouse in the Storm
Imagine you are traveling in a small boat across calm water. The sky is clear, there is a slight breeze, everything seems relatively perfect. Then out of the blue, you find yourself in the clutches of an intrepid storm. Icy rain hits your face. You are knocked back by violent waves. You try your hardest to steer the boat away from the storm but the winds are to mighty. You fear that the end is near. You sigh, and begin to surrender your will to fight. But that’s when you see it. It is faint, and it is distant, but it is there nonetheless. A small light. You then muster up all the strength you have left and shift your boat in the direction of the light. For where there is light, there is hope.
The idea of being caught in a violent storm may be harder to picture for some, but for individuals who have ever struggled with a mental illness,this should come very naturally. Mental illnesses like depression sometimes strike completely unannounced, so it truly does feel like everything is ok until you find yourself surrounded by a sea of bad feelings. Many people strive very hard to fight against the darkness that overcomes them, but constantly trying to fight against your own mind is exhausting. That is why it can be so easy for people to want to simply give in and allow the darkness to overtake them. It becomes easier to die than to live. Although, even when you are at the edge of giving up, having a source of light even if it is a small one can make all of the difference in the world.
When I was seventeen, my mental illness was at an all time high and dying had never looked better. My friend had committed suicide, I had been pulled out of school and lost virtually all connection with my friends. At times, there was nothing that I wanted more than just to stop the pain as quickly as possible, and suicide really seemed like the only answer. But thankfully there was an extremely kind and caring individual who was put into my life, and without her, I honestly am not sure I would have ever made it past high school and have been able to go to college. She became my light, and her kindness showed me that there were people in the world who truly cared, and having someone that cared that much gave me a reason to keep fighting.
Light can look different for people. Not everyone will find hope in the same way, although all people need to feel like they are loved and belong. For me, this came from the various phone calls and text messages I received with kind and encouraging words urging me to keep fighting. For others, this could come in the form of hugs and affection or having someone simply sit with you while you wrestle with your emotions. Different people need different kinds of love, but everyone should realize that in order to get love, you have to be open to receiving
When I could see that this person was initially reaching out. I definitely did not welcome her kindness with open arms. I had buried myself so far in my bad feelings that I became numb to everything, and it was virtually impossible for me to even feel any of the kindness that she was trying to give to me. But thankfully she was persistent. She kept calling. She kept checking in, and in time I truly came to value how much she cared. It is obvious that it may be difficult to want to accept other people’s kindness when you are in the mist of the darkness, but it is important to try and give people who truly seem invested in your well-being a chance to actually help you. Without knowing it, you may greatly hinder yourself by putting walls up and not allowing others to aid you.
It is easy to feel lonely with depression. It is easy to feel like no one understands you and can help you get better, but there are actually several people who probably feel just like you. Depression succeeds by secluding people, by making them feel like it is best for them to take matters into their own hands, but by doing this and not allowing others to help they are bound to make some very stupid mistakes. Depression can be overcome when people work together. When people open up and trust someone to really be able to help them. Without working with others, no one can win.
So, I urge you to search for the light in your life. This could be family, friends, or a hobby that you really enjoy. Remember how much your family loves you and would be hurt if something bad were to happen. Think about all the fun memories you have shared with friends and the tears they would shed if they were to lose you. Think about the activities you love to do and how you will miss out on getting to improve in them if you take your own life. Be motivated by others, but ultimately fight for yourself. Next time you feel the darkness coming on, don’t seclude yourself. Do your best to find someone to talk to who has your best interest and wants to see you win this battle. Remember how priceless you are and that despite what the voices in your head might be saying, you matter. This will make it easier for you to stand back up when you feel yourself sinking. Recovery still won’t happen over night, but by stopping the symptoms of The Darkness early the problem will hopefully be alleviated faster. Then once you are better, show the same kindness people showed you to others, and remind them that their lives are worth living.