If you are reading this, then you have fallen into that void of darkness once again. You're feeling sad, anxious, scared, alone. You don't understand what is happening or why. You are probably laying in bed right now not knowing when the last time you left the house was, or when you last showered or changed your clothes. Your thoughts are spiraling down a negative path and your cheeks are stained with tears. Or even worse, you are numb to emotions.
But listen to me...
I know you're feeling like a horrible wife/friend/daughter/human, but you're doing the best you can right now, and your friends and family love you no matter how badly you feel. I know it's hard to believe, but they do. If they don't, then they're not worth your energy. Stop telling yourself that you're a bad mom. You're not perfect, that's for sure, but no one is. Your kids are beautiful, bright, and happy. They deserve to have you in their lives for many, many years. Don't deprive them of that experience. They love you. They need you. They are NOT better off without you. You are a worthy human being. You have helped countless other people struggling just as you are struggling right now. They have gotten through it and you will too. I can vouch for that.
Tell yourself what you tell others who are struggling...
Bring yourself to the present moment. Use your senses. See the beauty in the world around you. Distract yourself. Watch a funny show. Create. Take photos. You love taking photos, even in your room. Meditate. Be around other people who empathize or care. There are people in your life who love you and want to support you. Let them be there. Use them for a nice conversation or even a silent hug. They won't care what you look like or how shitty you feel. Your dog is good for that too. Use your online supports, like Broken Light Collective. Share your story and photos or view those from others who have been there and are now in a better place. Do the opposite of whatever you want to do right now that is negative, which is probably pretty much everything. If your mind's stuck in the darkness... find the light. Find something positive to focus on, no matter how small. If you want to hurt yourself... hug yourself. It doesn't have to be an actual hug (I see you rolling your eyes), but find a way to do something caring for you. You may think that self-harmful behavior will make you feel better, but it will not in the long run. If nothing else, it will lead to more feelings of shame and guilt, which is pretty much the last thing you need right now. If you want to stay in bed all day... get your ass out. Take a walk. Bring your camera. Even a brief walk to the end of the block is a step in the right direction. Opposite action works. Above all, get help. Accept treatment, whether that is therapy, medication, inpatient, outpatient, or even magnetic or shock therapy. Don't let shame hold you back. Fuck shame. Fuck labels. Fuck all those who don't get it. Do whatever you have to do to get back to the real you. She's still in there. She's worth it.
Lastly, remember the positives...
You are not your diagnoses. You are not Bipolar, Depression, Anxiety, Borderline, OCD, PTSD or any other diagnosis thrown your way. You are not your traumas. You are not anything that anyone has ever done to you. You may be affected by these conditions and experiences, but they are not you. They are just a small part of you. You are so much more.
You are a warrior. You are brave. You are creative, talented, smart, and capable. You are radiant, strong, and compassionate. You are beautiful at any size. You are loved. You will get through this. It may not be today or tomorrow, but you WILL get through this.
Stay safe and believe. Things will get better.
Find more from Danielle on Instagram & Twitter, and the non-profit she created, Broken Light Collective, which empowers people living with or affected by mental health challenges using photography. Join the movement on Facebook and Twitter.