As many of you know, I’ve struggled with depression for several years. First postpartum depression aggravated by severe anemia, and then seasonal depression caused by living through an Alaskan winter. It’s been rough going. Some days have been very, very bad, especially as the pain associated with my Ehlers-Danlos has gotten worse over the years. I do try to keep my rants to a minimum, but you’ve probably seen one on Twitter or found one of my older blog posts on the subject. Last week, after a particularly bad day, I posted a bit of a pity-party on Tumblr.
This morning I had an Anonymous message in my Tumlbr Ask Box.
Liana, your message about not killing myself made me cry. Thank you so much, so much. This post might only work for now, but it,s possible that that’s one moment longer, one day longer than it would have been
… I can’t reply one-on-one to an Anonymous message, so here’s my response (posted here and on Tumblr so Anon can find it).
Hang in there. I know whatever you’re going through is rough. Maybe it’s something I’ve been through too, maybe not, but I know anything that drags you down low enough that you think about killing yourself is rough. And I can’t tell you it will be over soon, or ever. But that doesn’t matter. Because you have so much potential. So many wonderful things still to do in this life. Don’t give up on it yet.
A new season is coming. There are things to look forward to. There are flowers and new people and who knows what else. Probably some of it won’t be so great, but you and me… we’re pros at dealing with “not so great”, right? Been there, done that, bought the over-priced t-shirt.
People like us, we are so much stronger than the world imagines. We have incredibly bad days. We sink down, and we fail, and the darkness all but consumes us. And somehow, against all odds, we get back up again. We take the weight of that pain, and the crushing despair, and we still stand. We still fight.
Often, no one else knows about the battle raging inside us. It’s a secret we keep.
But one day, you’ll see someone else fighting a battle you know they can’t win. They’ll be in a situation where all is lost. But you can step in, because you’ve fought hard for your scars. You’ve fought to stay alive. And all this pain, and suffering, and frustration has taught you how to build a shield. All the strength you have will be the only thing that saves that person.
You and me, we’re fighters. We’re on the toughest training ground on the planet. Like every hero in every story, depression has stripped us of our friends, our family, our joy, our weapons… all that is left is us, alone.
And like the hero you are, you are all you need.
You are going to get up and win this fight.
Today maybe all you’ll do is survive. Maybe the way you win the fight today is to just keep breathing. I know how hard that is some days. But if you keep breathing today, then tomorrow it’ll be a little easier. Next month it’ll be easier still. And inch by inch you will crawl out of the hell of depression and when you do, you will be the strongest person in the world. You will have faced all the demons of hell and crushed them with nothing more than your will to survive.
That day, you will stride the world as a titan, a god among men. Stronger, braver, and kinder for the battle you have survived.
You will be someone’s hero. You will be there to understand what no one else could, to stand against a foe so foe so few understand. You are going to save someone, because right now you are learning to save yourself.
And, today, all you need to do is breath.
I love you. Keep breathing.