She was a little girl, 10 years old. She had an inkling that morning that something terrible was going to happen but had to go to school anyways. What she didn’t know was that her life would be rocked, punched in the gut, and turned into the upside down like we all saw in Stranger Things. She was thrown into a pit and at that age do you really know what depression is? She didn’t.
For awhile she struggled. Months would pass and she would hardly talk to anyone in her family. Friends, school, everything was put on the back burner. There was no light in sight and she just couldn’t remember a time when she felt happy. But what she knew was that eventually she would have to plaster a smile on her face and just appear to move on. So, that’s what she did.
She became the shy girl that everyone came to know her as. She became someone who everyone would like to be around. She became something that was not how she was feeling.
Until she met you. You came into her life when she was 13. You were in a similar position and allowed her into your life. Together you two could talk about everything – you became each other’s rock and safe place. You shared things that no one ever knew about and to this day, I don’t think anyone does. You showed her how to let go of the anger – how sometimes physical pain helped take all that inner pain and forget it for a hot minute. You showed her how to scream, how to cry, how to confess. You were her best friend.
Looking back, even though you both progressed and made your way out of the void – the way you did it together was probably not the best thing. I know that this little girl never regretted becoming your friend, becoming your person, becoming your safe place – but she does regret doing the things that you showed her and not crying for help.
There are things that are going to be left there, silenced into the void of the past because it doesn’t do good to dwell on it.
This little girl grew into a teenager and continued to make mistakes. Sure, she learned from each one and after a handful of times learned that the choices she was making were not the best. Befriending people who weren’t in the best crowd, drinking, partying a little too much for a 14-15 year old.
And then a few years later she had her world rocked again. She lost yet another person that influenced a part of her growing happiness. She still remembers you, your smile.
Does she blame it on the things that she experienced in her past? No, she blames it on growing up and making poor choices. There is no one or nothing to blame for that but herself and she owned up to it.
What made it better? Nothing, honestly, the void was there and it grew every single day. She would go into her room, turn the music up a little too loudly, and just lay on her floor in the fetal position crying with no hope in sight that it would ever stop. No matter how hard she would try to lock up those emotions, they always found a way to escape her. Her pages were blank, no matter how hard she tried to fill them with colour and words, nothing came.
It was like getting stuck. It was like being punched in the gut and the air just never returning. Everything was blurry and blackouts would happen because eating was the last thing on her mind some days. Her thoughts were so chaotic that she wasn’t sure if the reality she was living was real.
But that little girl grew up – she grew up into me. I found the help that I needed. I gained an outlet for the feelings that I was having and I was able to put myself in someone else’s shoes to look at myself differently. I still have trouble articulating everything that happened to me. I think this is the first time I have written it down, to be completely honest. I think that when my family reads this (if they do) – they will see a different me and maybe have some clarity of their own because I never talked to any of them about it.
Something like that always sticks onto a person, regardless if time has passed and the help that they needed they got. Something like that always has a possibility of sneaking back up on you.
I have been blessed that it hasn’t made its way back to me. Yes, I get sad when I think about the thing that turned my world upside down – losing someone never gets easier. But I don’t have those feelings anymore, I am no longer in that place – I made my way out of my storm.
And so can you. I know because I could and I did. This isn’t the end for you – for any of us. So if you are stuck like that little girl was know that you can do this. You can get to a place where everything is okay.