Look up the song “In My Lungs” by Chris Renzema. There is a bit in this song that goes like this
“So don’t let me, live my life with this bandage on
Don’t let me, let the fear of what I’m not, make my heart numb”
When I heard this bit my heart crumbled, because I feel it on so many levels.
The easiest thing to do is to take a look at our lives – at our pasts, at our nows, at the things that hurt, and at the reasons as to why our futures seem hopeless – and sit in a pile of self pity. Instead of confronting these things that we are afraid of, these things that ache, it is easier to just slap a bandaid on them, and wait for them to get better. I am sat here today well aware that this is the easiest thing to do, because I have done it for so long. The hardest thing about entering into recovery from eating disorders was letting go of the false safety net that eating disorders offer. Now – as I am confronting the anxiety and depression that have had a chokehold around my lungs for so long – I am finding it most difficult to think about being anything but a girl with anxiety and depression. It makes my stomach ache thinking about how I could be anything else but these labels I have held onto with calloused hands. Now that I am discovering that I am more than these things — it is hard to take the bandages off. It was easy to put them there. To hide them for nobody else to see. When I was younger I remember there a came a point on my scraped knees that my grandma would say the band aid was no longer needed, because it needed to be exposed to the air in order to heal completely. I think I am at this point in my healing from mental disorders.
I don’t want to cover my hurts from the wind that holds healing anymore. I don’t want to be ashamed that I struggle. I have come to this point in my life where I know that I want to get better. I want to learn different ways of thinking about myself, and my circumstances. I want to be gentler with myself, and with others. I want to be less angry. I want to stop hiding from things that are hard. Broken people don’t have to stay broken forever – and I am holding onto the promise that freedom is ALREADY mine, even though I am still fighting for it. I am holding onto the promise that this fight I am fighting right now will not always be this difficult in my existence.
I believe that recovery is possible – if we fight for it. Fighting for it looks different every day. Keep waking up. Scream if you have to. Sit quietly with yourself, and get comfortable with emptiness, so that when fullness comes you are prepared to feel it. Speak even when your voice is being strangled by your insides – it’s ok if you’re shake-y. Being shake-y is a side effect of being brave. Cry. Dance. Sing. Do these things, so that days from now – when you no longer have a sticker on your shirt that says “Hi, my name is: *insert name of mental disorder*” – you can look back on how they used to be hard. How you used to be a shell of a person. I believe that we won’t always be shells of people. We can get through this. We can be heart beats bursting through rib cages. We can be footsteps seeping with purpose. We can be veins flowing with hope.
If you are struggling – please don’t let the fear of getting help stop you from actually getting help. You are worthy of love. Worthy of help. Worthy of being known. Worthy of this fight. Worthy of change. Worthy of freedom. I am here fighting with you, and I hope that today – we can let go of what we’ve been holding onto that has calloused our hands for so long, and replace it with these gentle but fierce truths of our worthiness – together.
“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”