I believe in the power of loving relationships in our lives.
I think I am such a fortunate person to have people in my life who will celebrate my happiness and alleviate my sadness. A close confidante can bring clarity, relief, and hope closely resembling light shining from an enchanted, inexplicable source. But despite this magic there is one tenacious con: This light can be turned off.
For as long as I can remember, I have had this incredibly sensitive, temperamental quality that would interfere with friendships I made. This moodiness eventually morphed into a great puddle of severe anxiety and depression that only made eighth and ninth grade, awkward years regardless, almost unbearable. I tried to form a “positive outlook” on myself, but the only favorable thoughts I could muster were idealized versions of myself my insecure mind had created, which only allowed the self-revulsion to increase. I had pink scratches on my face and hands from trying to erase the “bad thoughts”, I usually didn’t go one day without hyperventilating, I was stuffing worries down with concealed troves of chocolate chips and peanut butter, and I had actual visions of stepping into a shower and plunging knives into my skin. For the majority of the time I was feeling this way, I never told anybody, feeling that I needed to become a better person before I deserved to. But once I opened up about my struggles, despite feelings of doubt and disgust, I began a long and winding journey towards greater self-acceptance.
A defining moment in this journey occurred around 10:30 one June night in 2014. My sister was away at camp, and my parents were getting ready for bed together. In that moment, lying in my dark bedroom where no one could hear me, I felt completely, utterly alone. My pillow was covered in tears, and I needed to tell someone about the despair I felt. I got up from my bed and sent my mom a long text about how I was feeling, that I needed her to come into the room quickly. Minutes passed, and louder wails of despair escaped from my mouth onto my wrinkled pillow, hot with my shaky respiration. Finally, I saw a light flicker on from underneath the door of my dark room. My mom opened the door, turned the light on, and sat down beside me. I told her part of the story, and she reminded me she would always love me no matter what. She left the room and closed the door.
It didn’t stop there. I collapsed crying several more times just that week. There were two more therapists and four kinds of medication. But this was the beginning of a new form of communication, a form that has saved my life.
I believe in the power of remembering the relationships we have and the ones we can make. I believe that no matter how bleak the world seems, if you have someone to stand by you in your darkest moments, your life can and will get better. My life did not change overnight, but when the world turns black, I try to remember the light under my door.