I don’t even know where to begin. Maybe with a hug. Yeah lets start with a hug. Sweet, sweet child, you are so loved. More than you will ever know. By your family, your friends, and most importantly by your Creator. I know it’s so hard to believe, trust me I do, and even when you do believe, its still hard. Believe it anyways. The truest thing about you is that you are a child of God, and that is enough. You are worthy of love and attention and help merely because you exist. There is nothing you can do, or not do, that will change this fact. Sit with that for a minute. Take it in. Breathe in your innate worthiness, and breathe out the lies and weights pressing onto your chest. Inhale grace and exhale shame.
You are ok. Your body is ok.
Read that sentence as many times as you need to really let it sink in. And when you forget in 10 minutes, read it again. I still don’t believe it even as I write, so I need the reminder as often as possible.
You are so brave. So incredibly brave and you don’t even know it. You will face struggle and tension and grit like you never knew was possible. And pain. So much pain: physical, emotional, spiritual, relational. But you’re still here. You’re fighting as hard as you possibly can, even if it doesn’t feel like it. This journey is still new and there is much for you to discover, but you’re finally doing the hard work. After 22 years of numbing, rejecting and stifling your emotions, you are letting them out.
This is sacred work.
You have opened yourself up to the immense heaviness of your shame, the crippling effects of anxiety and fear, and the weight of hurt and sadness. You are bravely acknowledging your loneliness and asking for help, something you’ve always associated with weakness. Your heart is starting to see the light of day. Although quiet, your authentic self is slowly being given the space it needs to be heard and seen. It’s terrifying and most days you feel like you’re doing it all wrong, but you are persisting. There is no guidebook for this journey. There are no directions or step-by-step procedures on how to feel, as much as you would like there to be. This isn’t straightforward, and you hate that. You want clarity and black-and-white and efficiency. But that is not the path to life.
This work is long and exhausting and so incredibly challenging. You will want to give up. You will take 1 step forward, then 3 steps back. You will want to surrender to the voice in your head that says you don’t deserve to take up space. I know right now you don’t see another way out, and you’re helpless and scared. You have lost hope in yourself and the power of your Savior. I promise you that this dark place is not all there is. I know it feels safe and comfortable. I know it seems like it isn’t that bad. I know you feel like you’re doing everything right. I know you feel powerful and in control. Listen to me when I tell you, those thoughts are not truth. They are lies masquerading as truth to keep you in chains. They are not keeping you safe, they are killing you.
Precious child, don’t bottle it all up inside. Accept help. Take off the idol on your wrist and smash it with a hammer. Stop pushing away everyone you love. Lift up your hands wide in surrender. Put words to how afraid you are. Talk about what your shame tells you and what you believe about yourself.
You can do hard things.
I am so proud of you. This journey has not been easy, and much is still to be discovered. But you have come so far. You’ve been knocked down more times than you can count, but you’re still getting back up. You have learned more about yourself and how to be in relationship with others this past year than in your entire life. You’ve challenged the dynamic of your family, and as awkward and difficult as it is, I promise the mess is worth it. You have done things you would have never thought possible and faced adversity head on. I cannot tell you enough how proud I am of you.
Don’t get me wrong, you still have hard days. Feeling overwhelmed and confused is normal. No one will tell you how hard the middle is, so I’m telling you now. While coming back to life was hard, this period is harder. You constantly wrestle with the disconnect between a mind of sickness and a body which no longer reflects that. You want to run back to false promises. You want definition and clarity, and learning to accept that you don’t know everything will challenge and frustrate you to no end.
However, I promise that where you are now is still better than the shell of a person you see in the mirror. While you may have more weight on your body, and much more than you would like, you have a life. You have honest conversation and belly laughs. Your mind can focus and your body is resilient. You can eat with friends and have a glass of wine and tolerate stillness. You can think clearly and engage your curiosity. You are feeling strength come back into your body and listening when it’s been pushed too far. You are living.
There are many setbacks and struggles to come. Keep going anyways.
Read a book. Take a walk and pray. Go to a yoga class. Step outside and breathe in the fresh air. Sit in your hammock and stare at the trees. Listen to your favorite playlist and sing at the top of your lungs. Dance in the kitchen. Donate that pair of pants. Ask for hugs often. Do the thing you keep putting off. Laugh at yourself. Take in the smell of coffee in the morning. Put pencil to paper and see what happens. Explore your heart. Go to therapy. Practice mindfulness. Reach out to friends and ask for help. Tell people what you need and don’t apologize for it. Find joy in the little things. Set your boundaries. Watch a sunset. Close the textbook and go to bed. Put your hands on your heart and just breathe.
You are ok. Your body is ok.
I love you,