Today, the first Friday of September, marks exactly one year since I was taken to a psychiatric ward for being suicidal. I committed myself voluntarily, but it would have made no difference as I was considered a big enough danger to myself to be committed against my own will. Today, I can look back on the past 365 days and see that recovery, tough as it is, is entirely possible. Today I can say that I turned my life around, fought on, and found a way to live on, when life seemed worthless. Today, more than anything, I would like to sincerely thank those who have been there for me from the bottom of my heart. Today I can see that life has immense beauty to offer and I never want to lose sight of that again. Today, I spent my day in a meeting with the Speaker’s Bureau for the Mood Disorders Association of BC, which I am now a member of and can’t wait to speak to people about my struggles and how I made it through.
Part of the reason I fought so hard to recover wasn’t for me, but it was so I wouldn’t have to be back in a hospital, and I wouldn’t have to be a source of pain for those who loved me. My support system, which consists of my sister, my parents, some close trusted friends, and mental health care professionals, are the reason I’m not only alive today, but am happy to be alive. I think back on how bad I was before, and it terrifies me. It terrifies me that my own mind is capable of having such thoughts and wanting to act on them. I know that my depression is so much better now, and I don’t want to get to a place where suicide is my only option, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t seem that way sometimes. Even now, I have days where those thoughts creep in but I am more equipped to handle those thoughts, and get the help I need in that moment. I’ve changed a lot in 52 weeks, as most people do, but I truly feel I’ve become a different person. I believe I’ve changed for the better, and while that may or may not be true, I’m still standing today. In fact, I’m more than just standing – I’m thriving, and it feels damn good. There’s nothing better than being able to look back and say, “I accomplished something big. I accomplished it and no one did it for me”. People helped me, yes, but they could never make me better – only I could. Along the way, I’ve lost people and I’ve gained new people, but I’m not bitter over the ones I lost. I was once told that we are never given more than we can handle, and for a while there, I stopped believing that, but I know now that I’m capable of handling a hell of a lot more than I ever imagined. I’ve stopped running away from challenges and problems, and now adopt an attitude where I embrace the challenges hurled my way, and know that tackling each and every hurdle only makes me stronger.
So again, thank you to everyone who has been there for me. Thank you to the strangers who reached out when they heard my story. Thank you to the friends who never abandoned me when it would have been the easier choice. Thank you to my family for supporting my choices and never discounting my ability to make decisions for myself. Thank you to those who left me in the dust, and showed me that not everyone in this world is nice, but made me see how good the good ones really are and how lucky I am to have them. Surviving b y Living is by no means possible alone, even though it’s a personal journey. Today, I not only am grateful to be alive today, but I look forward to tomorrow, and all the days I still have left.
Keep Surviving by Living.