Written by Laura D'Amico
I know that waking up this way is never the plan. I know that your panic attack began before your eyes even had the chance to flutter open, and that the floor beside your bed is raging water. I know how badly you need to go back to sleep, and how guilty your mind will make you feel if you do. I know that it seems like there’s no right answer on days when mental illness’ foot slips through the crack between the door and the doorframe, the same crack you’ve been trying to seal for so long.
I know how it feels to be sure that letting go of the raft that is your bed means drowning, and that you can’t possibly face the waves that the day will try to engulf you with. I know how it feels because I’ve been there one too many times. Dear friend, I’m not here to tell you to let go of your raft if you’re not ready to do so today. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to wrap yourself back up in blankets, take a deep breath, and shut your eyes.
Strength is not always letting go of your raft and facing the water. Often, strength is finding the courage to tell people that don’t see the waves the same way as you do that you can’t face them today. It’s texting an employer to say that you won’t be at work; it’s asking a friend to send you class notes. Sometimes, it’s letting go of the unachievably perfect human being that you want to be, and letting the truth set in that you are loved in your genuine brokenness.
If today is a day that you can face despite the intense battle you’re facing, be gentle with yourself. Treat yourself to your favourite food. Talk yourself through the tough things. Drink water. Show yourself extra love, the same way you’d treat your best friend if they were facing something so difficult.
Remember, dear friend, that you are the farthest thing from alone in this. Sometimes it seems like people don’t understand, and you’re right- nobody can say for sure that they know exactly what you’re going through. Just remember that there are people who see the waves the way you do, and will never stop swimming alongside you.
I will never stop cheering you on.