subject line: you are not alone

 

Massachusetts

I’ve wanted to tell my story many times — to go into the difficulties that I have lived through. It is a long story, though, and as time goes on, the purpose of telling my story has changed from wanting sympathy to wanting to encourage people that things get better with time, but most importantly, that they are not alone.

I want to tell you that you are not alone in your struggles, even when you are positive that you are. You are not alone if you aren’t feeling well — physically or mentally. You aren’t alone when you sometimes wake up and just want to sleep until noon, and then stay in your pajamas eating pancakes and watching cartoons all day — because that kind of life seems easier than dealing with reality. You aren’t alone when your heart rate skyrockets because you are overwhelmed with near crippling anxiety at the most inopportune times, like right before an important meeting at work. You aren’t alone when someone you love calls you to ask you how you’re doing and you lie through your teeth with the words, “Oh they are great, and how are you?” — then cry when you hang up because you were too ashamed of yourself to tell the truth. You aren’t alone if you get dumped and feel like you will never find love again. You are not alone if you’ve ever gotten divorced. You aren’t alone if you think you’ll never get married. You aren’t alone if you take medications every day to treat a disease that will never go away. You aren’t alone if you increasingly worry about the good parts of your health, especially as you get older. You aren’t alone if you constantly worry about your children and their well-being and their futures. You aren’t alone when you are afraid of your parents dying someday, and not having them in your life. You aren’t alone when you are angry with the state of the world and with politics. You aren’t alone if you have a soft belly. You are not alone if you worry about your money, and constantly whether or not you have enough of it. You aren’t alone in feeling upset when you are grumpy on a perfectly sunny and gorgeous day outside. You aren’t alone when you want to unfollow every person you are friends with on Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat, because they are seemingly happy and leading seemingly perfect lives. I assure you, their lives are not perfect. They feel all of these things, too.

You are never alone. Look around you. This is life. We are all going through the same things. Talk to your friends. Talk to your family. Tell them when you are not okay, and they will love you and hug you and try to make you feel better. And when you are at the bottom, try to remember that things can and will get better. But not instantly. A newly diagnosed disease or injury will take time to heal — you will take time to adjust. A fresh breakup will become the past soon, and you will love fiercely again. You will save money for your future in time. There will be other sunny days. Your children will grow into strong and resilient humans just as you have.

Look back at your happy days, and always remember to look forward to the ones yet to come.