This is another one that I can add to the vast collection of life lessons I’m gathering – and this is one I’ve only recently learned in the past few days – however, it may be one of the biggest, most imperative ones.
It would have been useful a tad earlier, but we all learn at our own pace.
You have to save yourself. You have to. It is your responsibility as the sole proprietor of your body, your vessel, your thoughts, your heart, to reach down and pull yourself out of darkness.
A month has gone by since I’ve lost control of myself. My mind has been in a permanent state of unrest and anxiety and my body has been shouting at me because any and all motivation to care about it has been abandoned. It had gotten to a point where I looked in the mirror and couldn’t recognize who was looking back at me. An empty, sick girl has been my reflection. Melodramatic? No. True.
That is the moment when it clicks, and you know you have to save yourself. Because on the other end of the line, your friends and family are listening and aching but they can’t see you. You’re far away – geographically, metaphorically. And they’ll always listen to you – but they’ve heard it more than a million times. And they feel tired, they feel frustrated, they feel helpless. And the shoes that you’ve been walking in, putting holes in, washing, patching up, destroying, sewing, mending, fraying – are not the shoes they are walking in. Your shoes don’t even fit them.
And I’m here now, to warn you, that it doesn’t seem like you’ll ever be able to rescue yourself. It’ll seem like you have been belittled and demeaned to the point of truly believing it as fact, and no one inside your iPhone or in a Facebook chat box can tell you otherwise. If you are being told enough times that you are something that you’re not, that you’re doing things you aren’t doing, that you are exactly what those derogatory words mean, that your life’s passions and goals are artificial and insubstantial – then that is what you will truly believe. That is when you’ll truly believe there is no escape because you are not good enough or strong enough to walk away.
But I’m also here now, to warn you, to tell you that all feelings cannot last. Example – Your body cannot physically endure a panic attack all day (science) and those feelings will end. They will not end in a nicely sealed gift box with a thank you card. Oftentimes the feelings will last days, weeks, months and they will become your reality and you will get used to them. You will believe that your only option is to endure and tolerate. Loved ones will tell you they cannot and will not understand your state and you will (have to) accept that. But everyone has a breaking point, and that breaking point is your own hand reaching out and telling you to take this opportunity and do something.
I’m here to tell you that you’ll know when it happens. It’s that one insult or teardown or negative action that just won’t stack onto the pile with the rest. That breaking point is your strength bubbling over. It is strength disguised as a total collapse. Do not ignore it. Ignoring it is you ignoring that last exit on the highway that you choose not to take, so put your foot on the gas and take that turn. To save yourself. Not a single other person in this world is driving that car for you.
It’s not a smooth road. It is rough and dark and treacherous, but just keep going. It will be the scariest decision of your life because the unknown is always scary. You’ve been taking comfort in pain, and that isn’t natural. You are strong enough to take a stand, to save your own life. At the end of that scary road is a beautiful sunrise. You are that sunrise. Your friends and family are waiting to watch that sunrise.
Well, in the night forlorn, oh, the morning’s born
And the morning shines with the lights of love
And you will miss sunrise if you close your eyes
And that would break my heart in two
There’s a reason why flight attendants tell you to put on your own air mask before helping someone else. Stop trying to save someone else (especially if they don’t want to be saved) if you can’t even carry your own weight. You come first.
phoenix Griffin you know you are and rise from the ashes. You can be an ambassador. You will have worked hard and deserve all the credit for saving a life.