What It Means to 'Be the Moon' for Someone in Their Mental Health Struggle
One of my favorite quotes I’ve found on Pinterest is: “Everyone wants to be the sun to lighten up someone’s life, but why not be the moon, to brighten in the darkest hour?”
How profound is that?
You see it all the time. In happiness, there are groups; in sadness, there is no one. Hard times seems to take too much extra work for those around the one experiencing the pain. The negativity can weigh them down, start to seep into their lives, and eventually they just “quit” on you.
Since my diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in June 2018, I feel I have weighed too much negativity on some of the friends around me. “You’re being unnecessarily angry with me,” they would say. “Can’t you just get over it? It wasn’t life-threatening.” Or, my favorite, “You are being so dramatic about this, it’s not even funny. God, you’re so self-involved, you can’t even see it.”
Do you know what comes with PTSD? Anxiety and depression. Do you know how far anxiety and depression can go if you don’t have a strong support system or positivity in your life? Yes, it can lead to suicide.
Thankfully, I have an amazing husband who has helped me through these difficult times. And my reason for living is to watch my 3-year-old son grow up and become whatever it is he is destined to be. The thought of dying has creeped into my mind, simply because it feels like, at least that way, the pain will go away. The anxiety will disappear, and my mind will finally be at peace. But I would never intentionally take my own life.
Surprisingly though, it hasn’t just been my husband and my son and some close friends who have helped me continuously throughout my PTSD, anxiety and depression. About two or three months after I was officially diagnosed, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a friend of a friend of a friend (and so on and so forth) start posting quotes about anxiety and feeling ill all the time. I commented on it, telling her I was going through similar situations, and she reached out to me.
This girl, who I went to high school with but only spoke to in person once because we were on different sides of an aisle at the same wedding, reached out to me and we shared our stories. She has mostly understood my fears and the anger toward them. She gets that being alone is scary for me, and the act of showering is something to celebrate because on any other given day it just sounds too exhausting. We asked each other questions about our symptoms, asked what we were having the most difficulties with, wanted to know what meds we were each on and if they seemed to be helping at all. We’ve both spoken to our doctors about each other. We’ve shared parenting advice, tips on how to fall asleep fast, tips on how to force yourself out of bed in the morning. We’ve explained how our spouses have reacted to our mental health struggles and have offered suggestions on how to best convey some messages we’re having trouble conveying ourselves.
The other day, I texted her to tell her I showered. It was the first time I could bring myself to do it in five days. She was over the moon excited for me, flowering my text message feed with fireworks and happy face emojis. Later that same day, she texted me asking me where I thought she was at. I immediately was excited for her because it meant she was able to bring herself to go into her daughter’s ballet class and sit down and watch for the whole hour by herself. I, too, showered the text message thread with happy face emojis and fireworks.
Two people, who barely spoke in the nearly 15ish years we had “known” each other, came into each other’s lives as our moons to light up our darkness. And for that, I know at least, I will always be grateful for her support.