Well isn’t TimeHop just lovely? We’ve always wanted a time machine to be able to go back and relive or change the past, so we invented an app that allows us to see what we posted on social media on this day last year, two years ago, etc. Now obviously this is meant for us to reminisce on the pictures we took in high school, laugh about our young and naïve Facebook statuses, and question what the heck we were even talking about in that tweet, but sometimes you unbury something that wasn’t meant to be exposed.
Yesterday, I was scrolling through and pleasantly remembering that exactly one year ago, a friend of mine and I explored Little Italy downtown, ate too much pasta, splurged on a cannoli, and navigated the streets of Baltimore like pros. As I continued to scroll, I reached the bottom and came across a Facebook status from 5 years ago. Now usually my TimeHop doesn’t go back that far because I wasn’t as frequent a social media user and didn’t have much of anything interesting to say, however, on January 17, 2010, I did.
“and as my world crashes and burns around me, I’m forced to stand on the highest and narrowest cliff, isolated, knowing the disaster will reach my little slice of safety because I can’t be safe forever, nothing is perfect, everyone is going to fall off eventually.”
Okay, high school self, take it down a notch there. Funny thing is, I remember writing this, I remember posting it, and I remember the feelings that surrounded it very clearly. I’ve always been a writer, and I’ve always admired flowery words and visual metaphors. At the time that of this status, I was 16-years-old, a junior in high school, and currently experiencing my lowest of lows. This was the time when depression had taken me over and swallowed me whole. I was killing myself in AP classes, but my ‘B’ grades were never good enough. I was playing sports, but my performance was never good enough. I had friends who tried to reach out for me, but I was not good enough. Who wasn’t I good enough for? Me. I never lived up to my standards for myself, I could always have done something better and I always felt like I was letting down everyone around me.
I’m going to be honest, because we’re all friends here, but suicide was not a foreign thought to me. I never attempted, or even planned to, but the thoughts were there, and it is a very scary feeling when you don’t want to live anymore. According to my status, everything was falling apart, I was alone and facing impending doom. What a tough thing for a 16-year-old girl to be feeling, and here I am 5 years later, and I wish I could tell myself that things would get better. (Maybe we should look into a FutureHop so we can give ourselves advice from the future…) It was saddening to read what I wrote so long ago and be reminded of those feelings, but at the same time, it was also eye-opening.
I am in no way going to sit here and say that I have made a full recovery from the mentally sick teen that wrote that Facebook status, because I still struggle with mental illness every day, however, there is a big difference between that girl and this girl. When I was 16, I didn’t admit that I was depressed, I thought it was normal. I didn’t realize that my neuroticism was driving me up onto that narrow cliff. Today, I can say that I’ve accepted and embraced the way that my mind works differently. I know when I fall into my pits of depression, I know when my anxiety is inhibiting me from normal functioning, and I know when I’m being neurotic and irrational (most of the time). I no longer throw around the idea of suicide, but I do still experience days when just being alive is hard enough and breathing is my biggest accomplishment. Although I am not at my lowest point, I also know that I’m not at my highest and there are some things that I am dealing with right now in this season of life.
This TimeHop surprise gave me hope though. I have overcome so much since then and while sometimes I still feel like my world is crashing and my slice of safety is disintegrating, I know that I am not going to fall. I am not isolated- I have friends who understand and listen, I have a mother who has learned empathy, and most importantly, I have a God who loves me in more ways than I can ever comprehend and who anchors my soul, and will not let me fall. Nothing is perfect, yes, I was right when I said that, but the good news is that we’re made perfect in our imperfections. Mental illness will forever be a struggle for me, but I’ve become who I am because of it, and I will continue to learn, grow, and recover. Maybe I’ll look back at this in another five years and reflect on my continued progress.
Time gives us hope. Hold on. Don’t quit. You’re worth it. You’re good enough. You’re not alone. You have purpose. You are here for a reason.
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