A foreword: It has regrettably been over a month since I last published a post. Re: my last post, let me punish myself by eating over-steamed broccoli in my mother’s house.
My online absence has not been due to my inability to believe I am a capable writer who can offer you words that will hopefully strike an emotional chord or two in you. I don’t believe in excuses, but my reasoning here is actually something I’d like to share with you. I know — haven’t I shared enough with you already?
I’ve spent the last month delving into the chasm that is my mental health. My mind, like any other, is an enigmatic labyrinth that both illuminates and clouds every thought, feeling, and action I have. I will spare you (and myself) the specs, but also because unless you’re a masochistic lost soul, I highly doubt you actually give a shit. We’re all selfish. Essentially, I ghosted my own blog because I was occupied finding my way through that very labyrinth in the form of art, road trips, music, and a little bit (what I mean is a lot) of tequila and 805. I made a conscious effort not to write. It was challenging.
After being deeply and half-seriously preoccupied with my own mental health, I feel compelled to write a letter to anyone who is in need of having a letter written to them. I will save us all the same god damn spiel of how depression and anxiety afflict an unsettling number of people, or how millennials are riddled with mental health problems. We know that. I know that. I do not want to read another article from a 40-year-old telling me it is going to be okay because they, too, have been sinking in the quick sand that I and so many of my peers are currently stuck in. I’m tired of hearing stories about individuals other than those struggling around me.
For any other 23-year-olds out there reading this, this is for you. I will concede that this is also for anyone and everyone this speaks to. I am no longer in the fashion of writing letters, but old habits die hard.
I am not here to heal you. I am not here to tell you there is a magical way out of your own personal maze, or that I possess the mental ability to show you how. I can’t even give that to myself.
But I am here to tell you that despite what your anxiety, paranoia, depression or whatever the fuck is making you struggle (let’s be real, Donald seriously needs to fuck right off), your struggle is shared. Yes, this is a rendition of the “you are not alone” bullshit. But this isn’t coming from your mother, your therapist or Siri. And if you want to stop reading now and go back to your Facebook feed and dismissively scroll through “7 real ways to boost your mood in 5 minutes,” then that’s your prerogative.
And yet, if you’re struggling, and hoping against hope this in’t another empty blog post that doesn’t tell you anything at all, then I know you’re going to read through this.
I promise I’ll make it short. (A total lie.)
This isn’t an advice column where I bestow you my sagest of wisdoms. You’d have to pay me for that (in grilled cheese and your best puns, of course). What I truly want to emphasize is that yes, you are alone. At the end of the day, when you’re laying in your unmade bed staring blankly at the ceiling fan, wondering where the fuck things went wrong, you are alone. We all are. We each have our own versions of quick sand, and as much as I want to pull you out of yours, I can’t. I’m in my own deep shit, and any attempt to save you may fuck me over and shatter your faith in others. Here’s the thing: our forms of suffering vary, and while my anxiety may not be anything like yours (trust me, you do not want to eat an entire bag of onion-flavored Sun Chips at 10 p.m. on a Tuesday), the mere fact that you and I are struggling at the same time is what ties you to me. While this may seem like a stupidly obvious statement, it isn’t. How many friends of yours are battling mental health problems? How many of them do you actually talk to about it? Sure, the people in my life who are seemingly “normal” are great outlets and support systems. I would never, ever discredit that. For the record, mom hugs are, and always will be, the best. But I would argue that there is a tacit understanding between two people who have shared their fears, doubts, and constant battles to get up in the morning. These people inadvertently and perhaps unintentionally are maybe the only ones able to hold that mirror into yourself. It is a feeling of relief, of being seen as you are, by another who is also in search of that gratification.
You can call me out for grossly overlooking whatever it is you think I’m ignoring. If I spark the least bit of rage in you, then I consider my job done. I want you to be enraged. I want you to be infuriated that you feel this way, yet are unable to find the will to change it. You do not need to be fixed (right now). If you are struggling, then struggle. If you are tired, be tired. You are allowed to feel like shit. You are allowed to want to quit. But you are not allowed to quit.
Why? I can offer you a million reasons, but I know you really just need one. But I can’t give it to you. You have to give it to yourself. All I can do is stand in my own quicksand and believe the mirror of my eyes allow you what you need to see.
And if my letter didn’t spell it out for you, here it is:
“I’m with you. No matter what else you have in your head I’m with you and I love you.” — Ernest Hemingway