Friday, December 31, 2010

27: A Letter To Someone Going Through Hard Times

(Note: I know several people going through hard times, so I am addressing this to all of you.)

Dear Friends,

Depression is like Lake Hefner. From far away, the water appears to be crystal clear. As you move closer, you see the Oklahoma dirt has turned the water reddish-brown; you see the beer cans and cigarette butts floating on top. For a less than average swimmer like me, trying to get from one shore to the other seems like a daunting task...practically impossible.

I know that feeling well.

The night I attempted to take my own life was really just ordinary. Nothing truly heartbreaking or agonizing happened--I was just tired. Tired of failing. Tired of trying. Tired of hurting. I wanted to feel something other than that same numbness I had felt for over four months. More than anything, I wanted to be free.

I do not remember all of the details, but I do remember walking into the kitchen and grabbing the biggest knife I could find. I remember Shayla jumping over the table and tackling me to the ground. Even at that moment, I didn't feel anything but that overwhelming numbness. And then, I felt her tears falling on my face. Somehow, that reached me in a way nothing else had for months. I heard one of my best friends praying for me and the icy shell around my heart started to crack.

I was on the other side of the shore, but I was ready to start swimming again.

That was seven years ago. I won't even begin to tell you that everyday has been sunshine and lollipops, but here's the kicker: it doesn't have to be. Even the bad, difficult, heartbreaking moments of life have a purpose, if only to teach me how to bounce back. I have. You will too.

I know that what you are going through right now seems to have taken all of your energy. You are not living, just existing. That lift of hope in your chest gets smaller and smaller with each passing day. You just want to see some change.

It will happen. That's not something I read about or saw on a television show; I lived it.

After that night, I had to take a step back and look at myself. First of all, I had to be real and realize that in that moment, this was bigger than me. I had to get down on my knees and really get honest with God instead of just skimming the surface. I had to call my dad and let him know that this was more than the blues. I needed help.

Slowly but surely, I reached the other shore.

You know how I knew I could make it? My smile reached my eyes. In previous months, I looked at pictures of myself and noticed how sad my eyes looked even when I was smiling. And all this time later, that smile still reaches my eyes.

Thank you, God.

I used to be embarrassed to talk about this, but I know now that someone needs to hear me say it. So, picture me standing on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro screaming this at the top of my lungs:


I don't care what "it" is; I don't care who told you "it" was impossible. I am telling you, YOU CAN MAKE IT.

Consider this a postcard from Point B.

Be Encouraged,


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