Over the years, I've written about my struggles with depression, an eating disorder and all the traps that came with living an ocean away from home. When I was in that place, Kuwait specifically, there were some incredibly murky days. Days I never wrote about because the thoughts were too scary and private to put into words...but days where I almost gave up. I was so lost and exhausted with fighting to want to be alive. Although the words never crossed my lips, my husband seemed to know instinctively. And he carried me.
Then three weeks ago, I came home...back to the United States. And I am so happy. So happy that sometimes I just cry because I'm inspired or fulfilled...experiencing those emotions again always surprises me, since there were days I thought they were gone for good.
But all this happiness has left me thinking about the time I almost gave up. I remember being so ashamed that I wasn't living up to every inspirational quote that told me I was just a smile away from a good day. Or a well-intended but less-than-helpful reminder that someone else has it worse. Or a new article or book preaching that we all choose happiness. (Really? I tried to choose it. A lot. It lasted about two hours.)
I'm just going to say it: screw that. Because at some point, many of us walk through dark waters that are deep and murky enough that we might drown. We're just barely keeping our head above water and BEING! HAPPY! is such a far away thought--maybe not even a hope anymore. When the waves are battering you from every side, they can't be calmed by your choosing for them to stop. The only thing keeping us from slipping under are friends or family members holding our hands and telling us that ceasing to paddle is just NOT an option.
To anyone who is in that murky place: please don't feel ashamed...just keep paddling. Cry out for help and cross your heart you'll keep fighting. And when you can't paddle anymore, let someone else carry you. I know it's hard to believe, but there's a gorgeous shoreline in your future. Don't cheat yourself out of it...you want to get to shore, I promise.
Because when you do, it's pretty freaking amazing.