To live will be an awfully big adventure

I must start out by saying that I have edited this post for days now, trying to capture the right words to explain the importance of this week. However I do not think that I could ever capture its significance in one blog post.

This week marks the 40th Annual National Suicide Prevention Week. This week is to raise awareness that suicide exists, rather than sweep it under the rug like most in our society do. This week is as much for the living as it is the dead. This week is not to mourn the loss of friends we have lost to this tragedy; But instead this week is to try to save the living. After all, most people that are suicidal do not want to die, they just want to start living.

This life is a hard one. My generation has some of the highest suicide rates that the United States has ever seen. Yet for some reason many choose to believe that it doesn’t exist, and if they do accept that it exists, they assume it will never affect them in their life.

I have shared parts of my story on here before but this week marks something more. 2 years ago my life as I knew it ended. I disclosed the darkest secret in my life and as a result, I felt like I would rather die than continue to live. I decided that life on this earth would be better off without me. I decided that I wanted to go home to see Jesus, even though I was angry at him too for allowing these awful things to happen to me. Thankfully, I gathered the strength to keep going. I told myself one day at a time. One hour at a time. And eventually I learned to love myself again.

A boy I knew, and a precious family I had come to know and love, experienced this tragedy first hand when the combination of bullying and depression took this young man’s life. I think many times that I wish I had come to know him better. that I would have been able to help him. I wish I could have had one meaningful conversation with a boy who’s life was just starting.

Suicide is a topic that everyone refuses to talk about. Its a sad and heartbreaking topic that makes some people feel awkward and bad. But that is what NEEDS to happen. We should be so passionate about stopping these tragedies that people do talk about it. Our society cannot grow without expressing the hard things in life.

This week is so so vital to our nation because young lives are ending before they even get started. Their stories are being cut short mid-sentence by a period that should be a semi colon. They should not be blamed for the way they feel, they should not be considered “crazy” and they should not be made to feel that what they are experiencing is their fault.

One of my biggest pet peeve’s is when someone says that the suicidal are selfish. That cannot be more wrong because many times, people end their lives because they feel the world would be better off without them. In their minds. they believe that they are making it easier for the people they love.

The shame and stigma about suicide needs to be talked about. The blame needs to be pushed away from these struggling young adults and pushed back onto society to make a change. Me, and many others, have been there. I have been in their shoes. I have wanted to leave this world. Thankfully, I am still here trying to help other that are just like me. People who feel that suicide is the answer, are not broken. They are people who need to know that self love is not selfish.

If you are a person that blames the suicidal for the way they feel, please try to see it from a different view. Know that everyone hurts, and know that some people have no support system. They feel alone and misplaced in this world. Do not blame them or pity them. They are strong, they just need someone else to believe that too.

If you are suicidal and you feel like you have no one, you have me. You have more people around you than you would know. To Write Love On Her Arms has a campaign going this entire month Titled “We’ll See You Tomorrow” 2015. Please read their blogs and watch the video that is posted at the end of this post. Listen to  the words of these talented young people. Absorb their words like lyrics in a song. “If Depression is the verse then Hope is the chorus”. Please don’t end your sentence here. Your story has so many more chapters. Your story matters. No one else can play your part.

Peter Pan said “To live will be an awfully big adventure”. This is one of my favorite quotes because your adventure isn’t over. Your adventure is just beginning. Keep living. Stop the stigma about suicide. You may be going through hell on earth right now but even that sentence will end with a semi colon not a period. This is just one chapter I promise.

Live your adventure. I survived because the fire inside of me burned brighter than the fire around me.

https://twloha.com/blog/world-suicide-prevention-day-well-see-you-tomorrow-video/

College girl’s (or anyone’s) best friend? Support.

As I hinted at in my last post, I was not expecting the first two weeks of college to be this hard. College is supposed to be the best years of your life. But with that said, now that things are calming down and I am settling in, it occurred to me what has been bothering me the most; it has been the fact that I lost my support. Or, at least my support system has changed and shifted.

My best friend is in Kentucky, my mom is in Atlanta, my teachers are back in high school, and my boyfriend is in Augusta. I have always leaned on my family and my friends and these people so much and I had them around (for the most part) all the time. Now that I am here, everything has changed. Not for the worse, it’s just different. I am moving on with my life, but in a totally new and different place. I am meeting tons and tons of new/great people but in two weeks you cannot just develop a whole new array of best friends and family.

I am balancing my school schedule, a new job, managing the soccer team, starting up my own organization, living with new people, and being in the honors program here. I love each of these new adventures and I love the new experiences I am having but it is a lot to balance when your world just shifted.

I am (well, was, as of this coming Sunday) in a support group called “Starbright World” for kids and teens with chronic disabilities and illnesses. Starbright World connects sick young adults around the world. The people on this website bond and create friendships with people across the world with the same challenges that you face on a day to day basis. I have very good friends that live across the U.S. and all the way in Australia because of this website. Yesterday every member was informed that as of Sunday the website with go dark and no longer exist.

Last night (and even today) I feel like I am losing another set of support I had gained in high school when I was diagnosed. But, I am teaching myself that I can rely on myself as well as others. I am teaching myself that it is ok to need other people, but it is also okay to love yourself so much you do not have to rely on other people to make you happy.

The last 3 years have been rough, to say the least, but it was because of other people AND myself that I made it through. I want you to know that you do need support. You do need people to help you through the hard times when you cannot bear the burdens all by yourself. But you know what? Through the support of others, you can learn to rely on yourself as well.

Jamie Tworkowski emphasizes the fact that people need other people. People need love. People need compassion. People need the strength of others as well as themselves. These last 2 weeks I have had a hard pill to swallow. I had to learn to set boundaries for myself and I had to learn to rely on myself while I form new relationships with the new people around me.

When you are starting a new chapter in your life people do not tell you the hard stuff. They don’t tell you that you can be surrounded by hundreds of people all day long but still feel like you are alone in this new world. But, I am here to tell you that you have yourself, and you have me. Start trying to learn to trust yourself. Learn to embrace self confidence and self love.

I HATE when people say that no one will love you if you don’t love yourself. I didn’t love myself for 2-3 years. I didn’t love who I was. But it was because of the love of my friends, boyfriend, and my mom, that I retrained my brain to love who I am.

Please stay strong. If you are feeling alone and like you have no one to turn to, turn to me. Message me, call me, text me. I will listen. Keep fighting guys. Breathe. Your story isn’t over yet.

I moved a mountain

I have always gotten a knot in my stomach when even thinking about talking to my dad about everything gone wrong between us. I wasn’t scared of him, but I was scared of the aftermath. I was scared of causing someone else to be uncomfortable. I was scared of tearing down an already fragile relationship. But this week, things changed. This week I took a leap of faith. This week I had courage like no other. This week we began to heal our relationship.

My dad and I have always had a gap in our relationship. There has always been something missing. What he thought was best at the time, turned out disastrous for me later down the road. He thought he was doing the right thing, and I was too afraid to tell him any different. I am a peacekeeper. I do not like drama. I do not like fights or arguments, and I would rather have myself get hurt than anyone else around me. But going through what I have been going through these last two years has shown me that sometimes those difficult conversations have to be had in order to move forward. You cannot live in the past and you can’t dwell on things you cannot change. But, you still have to acknowledge those things because they were real and they hurt us.

Before this week I had never told my dad what happened throughout my childhood and the trauma I went through. I never told him what happened and I always held that against him. I held something against him that he was not even aware of. Through my own healing and self-reflection lately, I was able to see that. And this week, we both took responsibility for our mistakes and we took the biggest step forward we ever had.

In my heart I know that my dad would lay down his life for me in a second. I know that he loves me and I know he feels guilty. But this week I could see it for myself. I saw that my pain hurt him. I saw his raw emotions and I saw that he really wants to be a daddy to me like I always wanted. This week I saw a great foundation being built between us that we can move forward with. He cannot go back in time and neither can I, but this week I saw that he would go back and change what happened in a heart beat and that is what I needed. I waited years and years to hear the words he said this week and I felt a weight being lifted off my shoulders.

These last two years have been about healing: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The stress of what happened made me sick. And I will deal with that for the remainder of my life. But my dad is sick too. And that loose end was tied up this week. That loose end is now a knot that we will continue to work through.

This week could have went 2 drastically different ways. And it went the best way possible. My leap of faith was the best choice I have ever made. Having that little ounce of courage helped me and my dad heal. I was scared, but I was fearless. It sounds like an oxymoron but it isn’t. Because I was scared and I overcame that fear with faith and strength. I found the strength inside myself. I want to tell you that just because you have had a bad relationship with someone (maybe parent, grandparent, friend, aunt, uncle, brother, sister etc.) your entire life does not mean that it is beyond repair. Just because you have not spoken to them or had a real conversation with them in years means nothing. I want you to feel the strength that I felt. I want you to have God on your side. I have no doubt we had angels in there with us this week. I want you to know that taking a leap of faith can change your world, and it can help you heal. Having faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain. Imagine it, you moving a mountain. That is amazing to think about. You need to hear that I believe in you. I believe that you can move that mountain. I believe that you can be honest with the person who has caused you pain. I believe that you are strong.

What being a fighter means

I think that at this point, the whole world knows that the United States Women’s National Soccer team won the world cup. I love soccer and I love watching this team play and I followed each player and their journey to becoming the world champions. Carli Lloyd, the MVP of the world cup, said something in an interview that caught my attention. She said “I am a fighter. I will stand strong. I will stumble and I will fall but I will never give up.”

She didn’t say that she “may fall” but she said “I will fall”. There is no doubt about it that in this life, you will fail and experiences hardships. But, your reaction to those are what makes you, you. No matter how great of a person you are and how nice you are, there will always be someone that pushes you to your limit, and convinces you that you should give up. That your fight isn’t worth it. Well I am here to tell you that it is so worth it. Your fight for life is worth it.

Being a fighter does not mean you won’t fall and you wont experience obstacles. Being a fighter can only be defined by you. You may struggle with an addiction to self-harm but you haven’t reached for a blade in 2 weeks. You are a fighter. You may have a chronic illness and go to the hospital once or twice a week. You are a fighter. Or you may just be having a hard time and you got out of bed every single day this week. You are a fighter. A fighter can cry and kick and scream because that is how we as humans experience emotions. Some may get angry and some may just cry (I just cry). Being a fighter or classifying yourself as a one doesn’t mean you don’t have feelings. You do not have to be a brick wall with no emotions to be strong. You just cannot ever give up.

I will not sugar coat it. I almost gave up. I almost ended it all because I didn’t know how to cope with what I was going through. I felt like I ripped apart my family by being honest about my trauma. People were cruel to me and I couldn’t handle everything I was feeling. But I was a fighter, because in the end, I didn’t give up. I never truly wanted to. I just wanted someone to tell me that it was okay to feel what I was feeling. I feel all of my emotions so deeply. I love deeply and I get hurt deeply. It is a blessing and a curse because I love with all my heart but that can hurt sometimes. But I embrace it because that is who I am. That is how I make connections with people. Some “friends” used to tell me that I wasn’t tough because I was sensitive and they said I wasn’t strong. No one ever told me that I was allowed to feel deeply. No one ever told me that I was a survivor. No one ever told me that I had all the strength and spirit that I needed already inside me. But through my own healing, I learned that how I deeply and how much I feel is okay. Just because I hurt doesn’t make me a wimp, it makes me human. People knock me down 9 times but I stand up 10. (Sometimes it just takes longer to stand up than others and that is okay too).

I want you to know and hear that your small victories that maybe no one else notices but you, are meaningful. I want you to know and hear that you are a fighter for surviving. And some days just surviving is all you can do. That is okay. You are a fighter and you stand strong. When you are backed in a corner with no one else there to help you, let your strength take over. Feel your emotions because that is how you heal. If you need to cry for 2 hours straight one day to let everything out, do it. Never let another person take away your fighting spirit. Because we all have that spirit. We have to know in our hearts that if you let that spirit take over, the pain will get better. You have more strength in your heart than you could ever imagine. A fighter like you and I never gives up. Do not ever give up. I have your back and I am so proud of you for coming this far.