Being an adult was not what I expected it to be. It’s a hectic and confusing mixture of happiness, pain, security, insecurity, loneliness, and anxiety all at the same time.
Frequently, this voice in the back of my head tells me to just give up, give in, stop trying, and just end it all. If I’m dead I don’t have to worry about eating, sleeping, homework, failing, repaying thousands of dollars in student loans, disappointing and burdening the people around me, being abandoned, being hurt by others’ addictions and abuse. Sometimes the voice makes a lot of sense, and sometimes it stays with me all night and keeps me awake in a dark room. Alone. While people sleep. It tries to convince me to hurt myself, because physical pain is easier to feel than emotional. It knows how and when to bully me. It knows when I’m most vulnerable.
But what the voice doesn’t realize, is that it underestimates me. I’m stronger than it thinks I am. I have a life where I can choose to keep breathing for another day. The voice is good at making surviving seem like the last thing I want to do, but I’m good at finding something to stand for and sticking to it against opposition. The voice is good at constantly telling me I’m alone, no one cares, no one is listening, and that I will be abandoned. But I’m good at reaching out to people I trust and respect for advice, help, and support. I’m good at trusting that people are good and willing to listen and help until proven otherwise. And I know how to step away from negative and poisonous people in my life. People that want to bring me down and that need to see me fail to feel better about themselves.
I didn’t realize during my high school years that I was learning what it means to be my own person. To believe what I know is true and right, and to live it despite what others think or say. I didn’t realize that my desire to connect with and confide in people older than me was helping me safely distinguish between the people that really care, and those that just pretend. And I didn’t realize that a handful of the people I associated with in high school would still be here for me now.
I’m a lot stronger than I ever knew I was growing up. Some of that strange I had to build myself, but most of that strength has been inside me all along. Because my physical and mental struggles are not a reflection of my spiritual and eternal character. I am not the depression, anxiety, fears, doubts, or voice inside my head. And I can choose to keep living, learning, and overcoming, and creating my own story.