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To the People I Met on My Mental Health Journey

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Editor's Note

Do you use humor to cope? The Mental Health Memes group is for you.

Thank you for being by my side through some of the worst days of my life. It’s never ideal to meet the way I met each of you, but you made the days on the different wards and in different groups bearable.

Thank you for sharing your stories. I may not remember all of your names, but I remember your faces and the way everyone’s honesty and openness showed us just how much we secretly had in common.

Thank you for passing the tissues when it was all too much and my eyes finally poured the tears I tried so hard to hold back.

Thank you for reminding me to breathe and taking deep breaths with me. It seems so simple and natural until you are overcome with anxiety and find yourself hyperventilating and shaking.

Thank you for taking laps with me up and down the hall when I was too anxious to sit. I felt a little less crazy having someone walk alongside me.

Thank you for all of the notes, coloring pages, origami cranes and coins. I catch myself sentimentally holding onto everything; reminding myself that there was light and love even during my darkest days.

Thank you for making me laugh. Battling our own minds every single day was, and still is, exhausting. Taking a break from it all by cracking a joke was so needed and appreciated.

Thank you for not judging my bandaged and scarred arms. I felt so much self-hatred when I looked in the mirror or saw others staring; you all made me feel accepted for who I was, regardless of the state of my body.

Thank you for listening. Sharing some of the darkest parts of my past was a hard, but necessary part of my recovery journey. You are among the few people I have shared my ugliest traumas with. I hated talking about what happened to me, but acknowledging the trauma and the way it impacted my life allowed me to start healing.

Thank you for encouraging my love of art. Whether I was just coloring pages or sketching more elaborate pieces, your admiration for my different creations helped build my confidence and helped me become the continually growing artist I am today.

Thank you for the long talks about life. From the short conversations on smoke breaks to the long nights curled up on the comfy couches, I appreciated our connections, our vulnerability, and our understanding of each other.

Finally, to all of you who have stayed in touch, even just on social media, I smile when I see your posts and I’m grateful to call you friends. To everyone else, I think about you often. I hope each and everyone of you have found a sense of peace in life. I hope you’re able to see the beauty within yourselves. I hope you’re healthy and happy. Remember you’re loved and you still cross the minds of people you’ve connected with on the path of recovery.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Originally published: May 23, 2020
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