When I woke up this morning, I felt relatively normal. I didn't have any major red flags minus the fact that I was tired from waking up from numerous times throughout the night. Like any other morning, I fed my dog and let him out. I brushed my teeth. I put my face on, grabbed some snacks and a bottle of water and I left. The thing is that I did it all really slowly. In retrospect, it kind of feels like I did it in slow motion. This should have been a red flag, but I assumed it was because I was tired. After all, Tuesdays are hard. Then I get to work and step foot into the training room. It was the moment I sat down that it all began. The heaviness began to build. I found myself overcompensating for my guilt of being distracted inside my own head by answering questions that I wasn't even prepared to answer. When it came to introducing myself, my palms were cold and sticky. My heart was pounding. I felt the slight pulse of a headache in my eye sockets. I am sure I looked normal to the rest of the group, but I was petrified inside. The mask I wear everyday to conceal my struggling heart is effective in moments like these.
When asked what I wanted to get out of the training, I said I wanted to learn about how to de-escalate a group of escalated individuals rather than just one. I think, really though, what I wanted to learn was how the hell I could de-escalate myself in that very moment. How I could continue living in a body that doesn't know how to handle my spirit-doesn't know how to handle my mind. The worst part, is that I can't blame my body for not knowing how to deal with the intruding thoughts and the effects they have on me. The feeling of someone sitting on your chest is a feeling I don't wish on anyone, and certainly not one I wish upon myself. Sitting there today, slowly taking my Ativan out of my purse and sneakily putting it under my tongue, I began thinking to myself a bunch of things. They weren't things I wanted to think about, but with my brain it doesn't matter what I want. It gives it all to me anyways. The thought of whether this field is good for me-how can I help other people when I am such a mess myself? How does a hurting heart try to heal the hearts of others who are also hurting? How can I put someone else's pieces together when I don't even have all of mine? All valid questions, I would say.
In all honesty, if I was talking to someone else who was having these thoughts and fighting this internal battle, I would look at them, I would smile, and I would say without hesitation that they were in the exact place that they needed to be. I would say it without hesitation because I know that having been broken is the only way that someone learns to heal. I know that missing pieces doesn't make you any less whole. It just means you have to work a little harder at your puzzle. You have to get creative. Sometimes you have to make your own pieces and maybe, in some cases, you have to start all over. I would tell that person that they were in the right field for the simple fact that they are more concerned about how to help others rather than attending to how they are feeling in that very moment themselves. That very thing makes someone fit for the kind of work I do. So, if I can imagine saying this to someone else, why couldn't I say it to myself?
The answer is that I don't know. I don't really know what I don't know. All I do know is that whatever sense of strength I have left, I need to use to figure it out.
I left my place of work today at 4:41 pm. When I approached the door, it felt like it was fifty feet away, and when I got to it, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. I had been holding back and holding down all of my feelings and thoughts and emotions all day. I was sitting in the training wondering if anyone in the room had these same struggles. I wondered how many people really knew what it felt like to suffer inside their own temple-the very place that is supposed to be a personal sanctuary- a place of refuge from the world when it doesn't accept you. I didn't know. I still don't. But I sat there and breathed throughout the day. I told my eyes to vacuum the tears when my eyes started to well. I told myself repeatedly "you can do this, Morgan. Just breathe it out. It's okay that you feel this way but you need to keep it in just for a little longer. Find your strength. Fight. Keep fighting." Needless to say-it worked. I got through the day. And at the end when I stepped out of that fifty feet away door and felt the sun on my face and I smelled the air outside, I felt overwhelmed with the freedom I had waited all day for- the freedom to cry. Finally. I can collapse. I can sob. I can do the things I need to survive the rest of this day. But then I had to get to my vehicle. So I looked across at the street and looked at how far I still had to go. I wanted to fall to the ground. I wanted to become one with the pavement. I wanted to disappear. But I didn't. I put one foot in front of the other. I spend each moment, feeling like eternity was approaching. I spent the time avoiding thinking of anything but the next second that was coming because I didn't want to think of what would happen next. I didn't want to think about the class I had to go to. I didn't want to think about the assignments, and I certainly didn't want to think about tomorrow. So I didn't. I thought about the pavement on my feet as I was taking the steps to my car. I thought about the strength It was taking me to make it there. I thought about the fact that the vehicle was getting closer. That I could make it there, and when I did, I pressed that button and I threw my bag into the passenger seat and collapsed. I collapsed directly into the seat. I slammed the door. I collapsed into the sea of emotions I had been holding back all day, and I sobbed. I did for as long as I felt that I could at that time and then I started my vehicle and made my way to my school.
Long story short, I survived. I survived all of the pressure in my mind and in my chest. I survived the thoughts. I survived the long walk to the door. I survived the longer walk to the car-knowing I was so close to replenishment, yet so far. I survived the moments that felt like years. I survived the negative self talk and fought it with positive self support, I survived the entire day. I survived the heaviness of the emotions I felt and still feel. I survived the paranoia that someone would find out I was broken. I survived the lump in my throat that persisted throughout the day. Today was a fight I wasn't expecting, as many days are with a debilitating mental disorder like depression. It was a battle I didn't have the weapons ready for, and I could have given up and let it kill me. But, I didn't. Why?
Because my fight is not over. Because I am worth life. Because my pain does not diminish the happiness that exists somewhere inside of me. Because I have come too far in this war to give up now. Because I have the tools to beat this thing. Because I am good enough. Because I am worth fighting for. Because happiness is worth fighting for.
I am not telling the people reading this that you wont have days that you feel like you've already lost. I am not saying that the dark place is bearable. I am not saying that it's not the most terrifying place to be in the whole world. It is. It's a place cloaked in darkness upon darkness. It's a place that even the scariest of creatures would find unbearable, and it's a place where hope simply does not exist. I know these things first hand. But it's a strong belief I have that in those very moments that you cannot possibly find the light in the room, you need to find it within yourself. You need to find it somewhere in there-even if it is buried deep inside of you and covered in dust and cobwebs. Find that spark. Find that light. I promise you that you don't need much. A little spark will get you a long way-it's the very gift that allows you to continue long after you stop believing that you can.
Find your spark in the moments where the world isn't giving you light. In the moments that no one understands you, fight to understand yourself. When you feel unloved or unlovable, compliment yourself.
I don't care what anyone says-not my own little voice that tells me I'm not good enough and not the little voices that tell you similar lies. I am good enough. You are good enough. And nothing worth having comes easily. In our case, it's the fight to survive, to find our inner light, and to find our grit to move forward when we don't know how. You can do this. You have the tools. Find them and keep fighting.
My name is Morgan and I have a passion for writing, just as I have a passion for supporting those that suffer from various mental health concerns. I fully believe that each day is brand new and we can do with it as we wish. Mental illness is crippling, and you may lose the battle but that does not mean that you will lose the war. Keep fighting and know that you are not, and never will be, alone.