I’m glad I chose life.

Yesterday marked 6 months since my life “crumbled”. 6 months ago yesterday I found out about my now ex-husband’s affair. I knew at that moment, despite fighting for 3 weeks to save it, that divorce was in my future. Everything I had come to know, everything I had accomplished, everything I was dreaming for all flashed before my eyes and was gone.

Those 3 weeks of fighting were the hardest 3 weeks I’ve had in my short 24 years in this world. Every second, even in my few hours of sleep I managed to find, was a battle. A war I almost lost several nights, a war many people never knew I was fighting.

I’ve really learned that you never know what someone is going through, even if you know them. Until now, only close friends and family know my true weakness in these 3 weeks and the months to follow. I hope sharing my demons and telling my story helps one person reading this choose life, not just this time, but every time.

Mental health is not something to mess around with. Depression and anxiety can consume you and make you do/think things you would never imagine. I was put in a place where I could not control my feelings and the negative thoughts in my head. Unfortunately, ending my life was an option, a possible solution. I had several “plans”, I had researched “painless ways to die”, I had attempted cutting to see if the pain would go away. I had lost 15 pounds in those three weeks, gotten to the point where water couldn’t even go down and I begged my ex to take me to the hospital. I sat in bed, cried out loud for some higher power to take me in my sleep. You name it, I felt it and life didn’t seem to be an option but I’m glad I chose it.

If I could talk to myself when I was at ground zero or give hope to you reading this, I would tell you to choose life. Not just this time, but every time. There is so much more to this world and your life. This is what you would have missed:

Those little ones that look up to you: You are a role model. Whether you know it or not, you have tiny eyes, hearts, bodies and souls watching you, looking up to you. Hearts that would be broken, unless you choose life. Memories and milestones you will miss. Like birthday’s, graduations, holidays, sports games, drawings, snap chats, phone calls, Facebook messages and more! Your great niece will write about you in her English journal saying how she admires you. Don’t make her write about how she misses you. Your nephew will reach out to you for advice on finding a college, he looks up to you too. Your little cousin will ask you to spend time with her and you will. And your family will grow and there will be other tiny eyes looking up to you, you need to be there. And don’t forget, you need them too. They will help you heal, smile and appreciate the little things in life.

Mom and Dad: These two will become your best friends. Up until now, they have been parents, you love them, miss them but there is still that “line”…until now. Choose to live and you will learn so much about your parents, connect with them and have a friendship you’d never imagine. You will all step outside and enjoy time together and talk openly no matter what the topic. Life has never been better and they need you just as much as you need them.

The Cats: It may seem silly, you don’t have kids, but they are basically little babies in furry bodies. They cuddle you, kiss you and miss you. They are your family and would they be lost without you. When you took them in you committed to caring for them and providing them a better life. You can’t leave them. (Oh, and you will have two more cats come into your life to make sure you become that “crazy cat lady” you put in your Tinder bio…yes you create a Tinder and it was one of the best “out-of-comfort-zone” decisions you will make).

Old Friendships: Those friends who have been there for you from the start, they aren’t leaving anytime soon. Your “life-lines”. The ones who are there to laugh with you and cry with you will continue to do so. They are just as angry as you, they will support every decision you make no matter how good, bad or ridiculous it is, they will be behind you. They will look out for you and be there no matter what time of the day. They will help you through this and you won’t be alone. By choosing life, you will help them too and see them through greatness and achievements in their own lives!

New Friendships: You will meet some beautiful souls. People who have suffered like you. They will reach out to you and support you. You will meet new people, through work, the business and life in general and they will have an immediate place in your heart. Don’t miss out on these friendships, they will bring you happiness.

24th Birthday: 24. What a difference this year will make. 24 looks good on you, it is a new start, a new you, a new life and you are kicking ass at 24. You brought it in with a bang with someone special and even though you were hugging the toilet he didn’t leave ❤ This will be one of the best birthday celebrations you will have had and you definitely won’t be alone!

Your Career: You will never believe how strong you are. You will separate personal life from work life and use work as a wonderful distraction from the short-lived “emptiness” at home. You will perform at a higher level than last year and as a result, you will find yourself ranked as a top performer among your peers. You will continue to enjoy the perks of the workplace. They will send you to Chicago two more times and you will see your associate plan a wedding, move to Colorado and because of that you will bring on a new team member. Use work as an outlet for your emotions and turn negative energy into productivity. The quote isn’t lying when it says “life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”.

Positive Changes: You will do things you would have never done before…and that’s a good thing! You will find yourself in tattoo and piercing parlors, you will find yourself in bars and restaurants meeting new people, you will go to more concerts this year than the last 10 years combined, you will drink a bottle of wine on a weekday just because you can, you will travel but more importantly you will step slightly out of your comfort zone and it will be amazing! You will act like you are 24 and it will be okay!

You’ll Love Another: This might be the craziest thing I’ve told you yet. While you are on your knees, crying, begging for something to save you, I’ll promise you he isn’t far away. It will come quick, it will be sudden, it will be scary but girl, you will meet a boy who will steal that broken heart and piece it back together. You’ll laugh because you never believed in “soul mates” but now you understand because everything falls right into place the moment you meet. He’s a lot like you (which may be challenging at times) but he has a big heart, he understands your anxiety and he won’t try to fix you. However, he will teach you how to better yourself. He will teach you how to be alone but not lonely, he will teach you that you can trust another and he will open your eyes to a new world of happiness. You’ll question how this could happen, you will overthink because that’s what you do and you will love hard even if it scares the hell out of you. All I can tell you is go for it, it will be worth it and it will be better, better than you could have ever imagined your life turning around to be ❤.

Oh, and P.S. Don’t be afraid of the distance. It allows you to grow and truly appreciate your time spent together. You are confident that you are in this relationship for the right reasons. This isn’t a rebound, this is a relationship you are building from the ground up and communication is the foundation. It is exactly what you need. You need a balance of time to yourself to build you back up and you need the support of another beautiful soul ❤

And You’ll Adventure: You will make time for yourself. You now know that get-a-way’s are important. You need some time to be away from home and need time to get to know him better. You will see places you’ve never seen before and take a road trip that could end in a disaster or be absolutely beautiful and believe it or not, you want to take that risk. These “risks” you are willing to take are bettering your life and you have an amazing time. You are just outside your comfort zone but not too far. You embrace the moments and have found the value in not being so uptight and set in your ways. Get out there, make memories, smile and laugh your ass off. You deserve to live a little, go get ‘em tiger.

Survival: As if divorce wasn’t enough stress, you are battling with the fact that your brother just three weeks ago was in ICU recovering from brain surgery caused by his chemo treatments. The phone calls you received from November-January are engraved in your brain. You won’t believe it, just as quick as things went downhill, things turned around. Your brother is a survivor too! A different kind of survivor than you of course, but you both have fought for your lives this year. He is always someone you have looked up to and his strength has been even stronger than yours. You are a lot like him, you know. This will bring you such happiness. You both are living another day. Just as you saw your 24th birthday, he was able to see his birthday too. He is another reminder of how important family and a great support system is. Oh and of course, he will continue to encourage your love for mac n’ cheese.

A Better You: Choose life so you can see a better you. The girl you are now, the tears you are crying, the severe pain you are feeling, this will all go away within hours after the toxicity is gone. I know you are holding on because you don’t give up, you are a fighter, but you need to fight for yourself. You are strong and you let go. You are no longer sick, you can eat, drink water and sleep again. And you can do it on your own! You will be able to look at yourself in the mirror again with confidence. You will feel good about yourself and take care of yourself. You’ll get your hair done, nails done and you’ll even find the courage to get a spray tan. You will experiment with makeup and shopping for clothes won’t make you want to cry for the first time in 5 years. You will find a love for yoga, and find a way to calm your mind and find peace within yourself. And you will learn to be at ease being alone. You aren’t lonely anymore, in fact sometimes you actually enjoy being by yourself. You chose life and life in these next 6 months are better than life has ever been before.

But It Won’t Always Be Easy: You will still have your bad days. Which is why I am writing to you to always choose life. You will have to make that decision again, you will have set backs. Like when your car is broken into and everything is stolen from you, when you have to fix your lawnmower on your own and you know nothing about lawnmowers, when your friend lets you down, when you just don’t want to be living alone anymore and when your mind slips and forgets all of the reasons to live. Turn to quotes, hold tight to your pillow and let the tears pour. But never forget your lifelines, your support group and all of the reasons to choose life.

So here is to the old me and here is to you. Thank you for fighting, thank you for life. You have many reasons to live and more memories to make.

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