Today is my birthday.
Today, I was overwhelmed with words, gifts, actions and affirmations of love. Honestly, I was astounded by the outpouring of affection for me.
You see, last year, I didn’t plan on being here for another birthday. I had planned to end my deep, constant pain and suffering. I had planned on committing suicide. Those words are not easy to type; and for the longest time, I wouldn’t, couldn’t imagine telling anyone about my thoughts, my pain, my plans. I used to think that my secrets kept me safe, but now I know they kept me sick.
I know that if you are in the thick of depression, mental illness, other types of pain and suffering, these words will sound trite ( a year ago I would not have believe you, I would have scoffed and brushed you off.) But things do get better. Is every day sunshine and roses? No; but I can now see that my life does have meaning and purpose. Even though there are dark days; even though there is still pain and suffering, I have come to see how I can be a love and light to others.
Today has shown me that I am loved. You are too! Please believe me. No matter what you are facing, you are not alone. I see so much suffering all around me. So many things that leave us questioning why God why? I don’t have all the answer, I honestly think that I have no answers. Well, maybe I have one. I know that on the night that I was going to end my life, God showed up. You can call it coincidence, you can call it me making it all up. That’s fine. I know that we are all in different places, with different beliefs. All I can tell you for sure is that night, that moment, made all the difference for me. It was the reason to keep living; the reason to try again, to keep trying every day. It was the reason I could get up every day and face all the emotions, feelings and physical pain that comes from depression.
Through that experience, and then from gaining the courage to bare my soul to friends and loved ones, I found the beauty to keep living. I’ve never been pregnant or had a baby, but I know many women forget the horrible pain that labor induces when that sweet baby is laid on their chest. I think that’s something I could relate to, in that, there was unspeakable pain. Pain that you usually cannot convey to someone unless they have trudged through the miry, dark all consuming clay of depression or mental illness. But even though all that pain swirled around me and touched my innermost being, even though it shaded my every interaction, tinged my every thought, I still could see the love and beauty in life. I still wanted to believe in it and be that love and beauty in others lives. So many of you spoke life to me; and even though I couldn't comprehend it and receive it at that time, it did matter, it did linger and comfort me.
I know this isn’t the typical “birthday” post, but if anything, this past year has shown me, is that I am not typical :) I am not run of the mill or ordinary. This past year has shown me that life is special and precious. There are moments that we can lose if we don’t vigorously chase after them. It has shown me that I have a choice; I have a voice. It has shown me that there are others suffering, hurting and feeling alone. It has helped define where I need to be right now, and that is being His hands and feet. Shining His love on the forgotten and hurting; being a bring spot in a sometimes dark world. I know I didn’t just survive this past year just for myself. Today has shown me that in an astounding way.
Thank you for your love. Thank you for your encouragement. Thank you for your care. I know I didn’t always let you in. I know I wasn’t always a joy to be around. Thank you for letting me in. Thank you for showing me I am wanted; I am needed. Thank you for celebrating me today. Thank you for helping me want to see tomorrow.
To anyone struggling, suffering, hurting, (insert anything else here) please know you matter. You are worthy, you are needed. The night will slip away, and the sun will rise again. It will be a battle. It will not be easy; but nothing ever worth having is easy to attain. There will be more beautiful moments for you to experience. There will be more late night talks, more early morning sunrises, more amazing adventures that you can’t even comprehend right now. There will be good day, bad days, birthdays and memories you are needed for. Please don’t give up on yourself. I know you are tired, but keep fighting.
I’ll close with one of my favorite poems…