Freedom From Mental Illness: My Independence Days

This post is brutally honest.  But with all the suicides I’ve heard about recently, I feel like I have to share.  I feel a responsibility due to how lucky I am to still be here, so I have to try to share some light.
6 years ago on Independence Day, along with cooking and planning my church’s choir performance, I was also planning how I was going to escape my life.  I was done.  I was drained and empty.  I was in pain, emotional, mental, spiritual and physical pain, every day.  I didn’t feel like life was worth living, not with all the pain it required.  I was sure I was hurting my family more than I was helping them.  I wanted a way out.
 It sounds crazy in some ways, to be working on the everyday preparations of a holiday festival while simultaneously trying to find a way to disappear, especially when I had a beautiful family that loved me.  That counted on me to make them breakfast, and kiss them goodnight.  But that was my reality. And it’s the reality of hundreds of thousands of great, wonderful, valuable people.
 I’m a lucky one.  I’m still here.  I had a few reasons I couldn’t shake that kept me here.  I’m working on my books and music to get those messages out to the world now.
Those reasons kept me here long enough to wait the depression out, to wade past the awful torture until the load became lighter and the darkness, BRIGHTER.  Believe me when I say Depression does NOT have to last forever.
 If I could say one thing to anyone in a similar, dark place, it would be this…
Never lose hope.  Hope is your fire.  Hope is your light.  As long as you have Hope you are never completely in the dark.  You ARE BRAVE.  You ARE CAPABLE.  Health and happiness ARE in YOUR FUTURE.  Hold on to the light within you and stay close to those who help it shine brighter.  Stay close to them until your light starts to grow and shine brilliantly on its own too.
 This is me this week.  Happy!  Confident! Even without any makeup or shower that morning! LOL  I had no thoughts that day about leaving my family or leaving this life.  My day was filled with joy, love, cupcakes, parades, and beautiful times with people who adore me and who I adore too.  I worked hard and enjoyed every moment, like the treasure it is.  I valued my family, my life, and myself, for all the right reasons.
 This week when the big fireworks went off in the distance my 5-year-old said, “Wow! Look at those!  Those FIREWORKS ARE JUST FOR US!”  He meant it too.  That’s his FANTASTIC view of this world.
 Then he threw his glow stick up in the air and joined in the celebration.
 That’s how I see life now, and it has changed my entire existence.  I see beautiful things happen and I think “That was just for me.”  When a butterfly lands on my car or a flower blooms right outside my window, I see that moment as my gift.  And then, much like my youngest throwing his glow stick in the air, I join in and I try to add to the beauty too.  I try to share goodness.  I try to share love, even in- no, ESPECIALLY IN those moments of darkness.  I join in this celebration of life and relish every moment, the highs and the lows because they BOTH give me blessings.  They are both part of this life, and that’s OK.  They give me experience.  They make me stronger.  They make me appreciate the sweet moments that much more.  And that attitude of love is contagious!  It really is, because that’s my husband giving our son a ride on the back of my bike at 10 P.M.  He’s learning to make the most of those little moments too.
This Independence Day I truly savored my freedoms.  My freedom of mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health.  My freedom to be the mother I want to be to my kids.  My freedom to be the wife I want to be to my husband.  My freedom to ENJOY LIFE.  If you are in the dark, remember the spark you have within you.  Rekindle it.  Ignite it.  And never let any word, problem, or thought- especially your own- put out that light. Because the world needs it.  The world needs YOU.
Love, Eva