Let’s Be There For Each Other

I’ve been finding myself inspired by quotes lately. It might sound cheesy, but we live in a world where it’s so easy to just post a quote on social media. I have a friend who does nothing but post inspirational quotes on Facebook. Many of them have been what I needed to hear in that moment and some have led me to think and ponder. The quote I’m inspired by today says, “Someone who drowns in seven feet of water is just as dead as someone who drowns in twenty feet of water. Stop comparing traumas, stop belittling you or anyone else’s trauma because it wasn’t ‘as bad’ as someone else’s. This isn’t a competition. We all deserve support and recovery.”

Something I’ve come to learn in life is that no one “has it made”. At least I’ve never met anyone who does. We all have struggles. We all suffer. In this age of social media it’s easy to look at someone else’s life (through the lens of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.) and think everyone else is having so much fun, doing awesome things and living this great, struggle and trauma-free life. But that just isn’t true.

It can also be easy to think that others must not be struggling as much or that they must be happier because of all the things they have and are doing that we don’t have or don’t get to do. That also isn’t true. The past year-and-a-half I’ve got to travel to San Diego and Hawaii. I even got to go to The Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame (a life-long dream of mine) several months ago. We’re building an addition onto our house that is going to give me and my husband this big dream closet. There are good things happening, but there has also been so much hell that I’ve been through as well. It got so bad at one point last year that I tried to take my own life. From the outside looking in it may appear that I am one of those people who does have it made. But just because I’ve been able to travel some and am getting a big closet doesn’t mean that horrible things haven’t happened. It doesn’t mean trauma hasn’t punched me in the face and beaten me to a pulp. Because it has.

As an advocate for mental health I believe it is so important not to judge and not to compare struggles and trauma. Instead, I believe we should be looking for connection and extending empathy and compassion—even when we can’t see or don’t know what someone else is going through. Some people, like myself, are very open about our struggles and seek to educate others on mental illness issues. Others keep those things to themselves, and that is okay. It took me many years to open up about my depression, anxiety and OCD. And even now, there are things I choose not to share or go into detail about—for various reasons. I respect everyone’s choices about what they do or don’t share with others. Through my own painful experiences I have learned that no one has a perfect life and everyone has trials, struggles and suffers through difficult things in life. This means we all have more in common with each other and aren’t as alone or misunderstood as we might think.

My hope is that we can all be more loving, understanding and compassionate with each other. Just because our trauma is different doesn’t mean one is worse than the other. And one of the best ways to help ourselves is to be there for each other.

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The Next Step

I just finished reading Rhythm of War, the fourth book in the Stormlight Archives, by Brandon Sanderson. Yes, I know I’m a bit behind, but life has been crazy the past year like life often is. It got me thinking about some of my favorite quotes and lessons I’ve learned from reading these books. There were so many good ones in the third book, Oathbringer. And yes, I’m going to share some more quotes.

“The ancient code of the Knights Radiant says ‘journey before destination.’ Some may call it a simple platitude, but it is far more. A journey will have pain and failure. It is not only the steps forward we must accept. It is the stumbles. The trials. The knowledge that we will fail. That we will hurt those around us.

“But if we stop, if we accept the person we are when we fall, the journey ends. That failure becomes our destination. To love the journey is to accept no such end. I have found, through painful experience, that the most important step a person can take is always the next one.”

I’ve always loved these words, but they especially mean a lot to me right now. I was on a good path. I was in the best place I had been in a very long time. And then everything crashed, and I found myself at rock bottom again, cut, bruised, bleeding in the bottom of a deep, dark hole, wishing I could erase the past, not knowing how to move forward.

But I can’t erase the past, and I have to move forward. In a twisted way, it seems easier to accept stopping, to accept the person I was when I fell, to tell myself I am horrible and awful and undeserving. But my journey isn’t over. I have to accept the mistakes, the stumbles and trials, knowing that I had failed and will probably fail again in the future. I have to accept that I’ve hurt others. That is part of the journey. Another part of the journey is accepting that we can do better, be better and move on. We can take the next step. Because that next step is the most important one. It may a shaky step, unsteady, awkward even. But we can take it. We are more than negative things we tell ourselves. We are the positive too. I have to believe in myself. You should believe in yourself too. Take the next step and keep moving forward. The journey means so much more when we look at all the beautiful and positive things that have happened as well.

Still Learning

There’s a quote from The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson that really stuck out to me, this past time I read it. “To lack feeling is to be dead, but to act on every feeling is to be a child.” I am a passionate person who feels intensely. I feel so much, so strongly. As I read that line recently it really hit me. I realized that I probably, too often, act on every feeling I have.

I think it’s true. I don’t think we need to or should act on every feeling we have. Sometimes it does more harm than good. I also, however, don’t believe it’s healthy to keep everything inside. I guess there has to be some sort of balance. Unfortunately, I still haven’t completely found that balance. Or I at least haven’t figured out what to do with the feelings I do keep in instead of acting on. I’m still learning. I’m still trying to figure out which feelings don’t need to be acted upon. What are your thoughts? And have you found anything that helps?

Save Today

A few days ago I watched Wonder Woman. A quote at the end really resonated with me. Steve tells Diana, “I can save today, you can save the world.”

I thought about how this applies in my own life, especially when my depression or anxiety is bad. I often feel like I have to be perfect all of the time. I have to “save” my own little world every day, and it becomes so overwhelming that it’s easy to not even try, to give up completely. It’s easier when I remember that I can take one day at a time. Example—yesterday this is what my house looked like:

It was the biggest mess, and I almost left all of it because thinking of having to clean my entire house made me panic. Then I remembered that it was okay to just do part of it. Today my house looks like this:

The living room still looks like a tornado ran through it, and my kitchen isn’t totally organized, but it is clean. It is definitely an improvement over how it looked yesterday.

So, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, like you’ll never get everything done, that it’s too much to handle—whether physical, emotional, spiritual or all three—remember that you don’t have to get it all done, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just do what you can, and realize that that’s good enough, even if it is small and seemingly insignificant. You don’t have to save the world. Just save today.