It’s not a secret that I’ve struggled immensely with depression and anxiety over the years. I share this to shine a light on these dark moments and to share this message with others – you are not alone.
Just under 2 years ago I returned from my Masters in a state of complete disarray and despair. I thought I was defined by my massive student debt. I thought my inability to find permanent work was a reflection of how I had failed following my creative pursuits. I thought living with my parents was blessing and a curse – as it meant I wasn’t able to strike it out on my own.
There are times I wish I could go back and just give myself a hug and a few wise words. I can’t turn back the clocks but I can put this intention of love and healing out to the universe.
So here it is, a letter to 2018 me.
You have come so far from the days of high school. Where you didn’t feel like you fit in. Where you found that spark for music but temporarily traded it for engineering.
You have come so far from the days at Montana tech, where you walled yourself off emotionally to deny your creative spark.
You have come far from the trauma and yearning of your undergraduate days.
You have made amazing friends. You have met truly amazing people. People that love and care about you. People that would be beyond upset if you left. Your absence would ripple out beyond your reach and control and leave a path of devastation in its wake.
You have gifts. You have worked incredibly hard to develop those gifts. You have been on some amazing journeys with highs and lows discovering who you are and what resides in your soul.
You are not equated to a monetary value. Not having a home to call your own will some day change. You will place roots in the most amazing places. You will grow with the most amazing people.
Again. You are not equated to a monetary value. Being looked-over for jobs is not a reflection of who you are. The right job is coming your way. It is ok be devastated as you look for it, but the absence of work and money and the ability to pay your bills does not define you or your work ethic.
You will be a co-caregiver to 2 amazing dogs that will rewrite the very fabric of your being with love. They will help heal your fear of being loved. And you will find endless love for them.
You are not a reflection of the misconnections of love in your life. You will find your way back to someone you truly treasure and begin to build a life with love. It will be messy. It will challenge you. It will force you to grow in ways you didn’t believe you could. And it will be beautiful.
Your life is not a reflection of the disdain in America to support the arts and its artists. You will forge a path that will be 100% your own. You will fight stubbornly to be an artist. You will dare to dream of healing the wounds from your creative life and you will reach out to others to do the same.
Continue to take care of your body. Make mental and physical health your top priority. And when you are able to, find room for joy.
The path does not end here. There is so much work to be done.
You must simply keep going.
While I never got a letter like this at the time, I was able to open up to a few of my family members, my significant other and my friends. These conversations changed my path and opened the door to healing wounds I didn’t even realize existed.
If this sparks new wounds or ignites old wounds in you – I encourage you to reflect on how far you have come in your own life. Reach out to someone you can confide in or a source that will have your best interest at heart: a friend, loved one or better yet, a trained professional.
Perhaps it would be healing to write a letter to yourself of all your triumphs and the amazing things that have happened. To remind yourself of the amazing things you’ve accomplished, the amazing people you have met, the amazing animals that may have touched your life. Heck – even if it’s amazing food from that one time.
We all need a lifeline from time to time. I believe we can strengthen our old wounds by providing a loving lifeline to our past.
In all seriousness, if you are feeling despair – I remind you that you are not alone. You are worthy of finding healing for the wounds in your life. You have people that love and care about you. Confide in a loved one if you can and remember that help is available. Even if you don’t think you need to – keep someone informed of how you are doing.
If you are at a loss of who to turn to, the National Suicide Hotline is: 800-273-8255. There is also a chat feature available @ https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/