Yesterday, I scavenged the internet for jobs, internships, volunteer opportunities, applying for interviews and orientations like a madwoman. Today, I fall asleep in tears near 1am with pages of research on “suicidal gestures” and “why am I suicidal” exposed in my Google history. Still, when it is 9:30am and I decide to blow off my volunteer orientation at the local animal shelter, I get out of bed and I give my dog a bath and I didn’t wake up in time to fast and I probably won’t take Daisy to the park like I promised, but still, I am alive and out of bed today. I tell myself that counts for something, though shame and surrender loop in my head and I miss Sally.
My heroes Jenny Lawson and Lilly Singh and Sheryl Sandberg are here, seeing me. Sheryl is not ashamed to cry with me. Lilly, random as usual, jokes about how dumb sports interviews are. Jenny says simply that depression lies. Over and over again. Depression lies. Depression lies.
I repeat this to myself when it feels like my world is in a state of constant ending. Right now, staying alive is my top priority. When the weight of expectations and labels and boxes threatens to crush me, I try to congratulate myself for the small wins: I published a video yesterday. I haven’t hurt myself in 15 days. I gave Daisy a bath. I got outside and played cricket with my brother this morning.
Depression lies. I am not weak or silly. Whether God-inspired or not, I have to believe that these struggles are here for a reason. I promise myself that someday I will conquer the world and draw from my struggles to make a huge difference in the lives of those who battle mental illness everywhere. I tell myself that it is okay if that day is not today, but I have to get through today for it to come. These feelings are temporary and I tell myself that if there is any story that can tie together the events of the past year, it is the story of strength and resilience amid roller coasters, not the story of signs leading to my fated demise.
On dark nights when I feel alone, I try to remember that there are people in this world who are terrified for me. And even though right now, the thought of living feels scariest of all, sometimes when I walk the halls of my grandparents’ house, a picture of 2-year-old, 6-year-old, or 8-year-old me catches my eye and I think, what am I doing to this sweet girl?
This is my anthem. I hope that someday, even in my darkest moments, my whole body will glow with the will to live. For now, I tell myself that hope is enough. And it is. And I am. Even if my life is falling apart, here are the dandelions. Here is Daisy licking me because I am her favorite, even though I pour cold water on her sometimes. Here is the sun. Here are the cardinals. Here. I am right here.
And that is enough for now.