Let’s be honest here. I struggle. You know this. I struggle most every day. I won’t deny that. I also won’t deny that on most of the truly dark days, it’s blatantly apparent. I can’t hide it as much as I’d like to. Yet, I need to provide some clarity about those moments when I’m beaten down and barely standing.
Yes, I struggle, but I am still capable and successful. I am still here. I am still achieving. I am still purposed. I am still believing. Somewhere in there, I am still hopeful, despite the overwhelming hopelessness.
Do not patronize me. Just express your love for me. I need reminders on those days.
Here are a few things I need you to understand a bit better on the darkest days:
1. I am not “crazy.”
Irrational thoughts may plague my brain, but I am extremely rational. This is why I struggle most. There is a continual effort on my part of taking the irrational thoughts and replacing them with the rational. Constantly. I must take captive every thought I have. It is exhausting. Do not call me “crazy.” I hate that term.
2. I never fake symptoms or bad days for attention.
Ever. If anything, I fake that I am not experiencing symptoms. I smile the widest and laugh the loudest on the roughest days. I don’t want to seek attention. On the contrary, I’d rather not have an audience for an anxiety attack or emotional meltdown. Attention-seeking has never been my intention, and it never will be. So, please know I trust you. I trust you with the pain, shame and guilt I sometimes experience.
3. I am independent, but I still need people.
Everyone does. I need you. I need love. Thankfully, I am able to accomplish my day to day tasks, like going to work, school, church, doing laundry or eating. However, when I can’t see the light or find hope, presence is crucial for me. Having another breathing person who expresses even an ounce of love and care for me makes such a difference. There is a comfort and a safety I embody that I cannot begin to describe.
4. I am not weak.
Not in the slightest. Rather, I am powerful and incredibly strong. To admit my shortcomings, I must push through so many obstacles. This takes humility. I have to lay down my pride. Asking for help feels weak, but it requires tremendous amounts of strength. Do not look down on me (or anyone else for that matter) for being transparent and honest. I love you, and I trust you. Please respect, value and protect my vulnerability.
5. There are times when you don’t have to say a word.
Don’t worry about what to say to me. I don’t always need a lecture or an uplifting, encouraging speech. Sometimes, it’s comforting to be reminded that quiet isn’t always violent. (Go listen to Twenty-One Pilot’s “Car Radio” for this beautiful reference.) Just being there is enough. It has been enough. Be there with me. Be there for me. You don’t have to be my counselor, psychologist, pastor, psychiatrist or my mom. Just be you. Be. I love who you are, and I love that you love me. I love that you care and that you are willing. You stand by me even in the ugly or scary times. You are here. That is enough. My expectations are realistic, and my love is unconditional. I’m eternally thankful.
Just know even when I am not OK, I am always trying to be. I will get better. I will be better. I will help myself. I will help others. I may struggle, but I am not a loser. I am an overcomer. Thank you for being a fan of mine. Thank you for being on my team. You are a blessing.
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