“I’ll see you later, mom.”
Those were the last words 10 year old me said to my mother. She gave up her ghost in the early hours of the morning on July 4th after she lost her short lived battle with stage 4 lung cancer. I swam in a daze that summer, trying to find myself from a tender age, after I had lost a part of me from the moment I threw roses on my mother’s casket – my childhood. I could paint that part of my life in a beautiful way, but just like the stars in the night sky, you need the darkness to see the light. That was the beginning of my journey, my own battle. The pain my mother felt in her tired lungs has echoed for almost 5 years in the form of depression for me. Even if the theme of my adolescence seems like one of melancholy, it’s not. It is one of setting the pain I’ve held onto for so long on fire, it is rising out of the ashes of grief. I haven’t risen fully yet, but I am not doing it alone. And neither does anyone else who struggles. I pride myself in my resiliency but I have learned that it is okay to be fragile. It is okay to not be okay. I have learned that the fear, the anxiety, the sadness that lives in the night sky all dies and fades away into the morning light. Just like the sun, we all can rise. Sometimes it’s as little as being kind to yourself. Treating yourself to a cup of tea. Reading that novel or playing that video game you love. But we can’t stay in that state forever. Depression becomes comfortable, so it’s easy to fall into that pattern with other things too. What is really bold, what is so daring, is to stare down your demons and say “No! Not today.” But we are all allowed to have bad days. Nights in with Netflix. I do know, though, that pacifying depression isn’t as simple as watching old Friends episodes or having a nice hot drink. We all start somewhere, though. Do what you know will help you. Sometimes we have to let go or break away from what won’t. Depression might always be there, in some way, but our life will not be! It is s! o short and despite everything, it is beautiful. The fact that so many people could leave this world but stay here, living, breathing, existing – makes me so proud of them, and I don’t even know them. I have learned that being happiness starts with “Just be.” No words attached. You and you alone create your path in this world. Happiness is NOT the flick of a switch, but you can forge your way, whether it’s through a field of flowers or through a thick, foreboding forest. You will survive. You will come out alive, and you will live. You will be able to say that you did it. It won’t be easy, but is anything in life, really? Depression is a scary journey, and even if it might seem like a solitary one, it isn’t. Help is as easy as one message, one smile, one hand reaching out – away.
“I’ll see you later, mom.”