Her post captured my attention, not my sight, but my full-bodied attention. “Sober for 30 days.” I just had to contact her…(little did I know she would become my newest Angel.) Her honesty spoke the words that my heart needed to hear, right when I needed it most.
My Angel reminded me that each day is a new start, and to not feel like a tragic failure when a setback comes. Her personal struggles (through family relationships; her own identity and personality; and with the addictions that have helped her “cope” through it all), inspired me very deeply. I would like to share some of her survival tidbits, lent to me in my own time of despair:
It is literally one day at a time. (Sometimes seems like moment by moment)
It gets easier. and you realize how much life is better and easier.
It’s hard, but I believe in myself.
<When you need help with any of life’s problems,> find a good psychiatrist (counselor) and be honest with them and yourself.
Once we’re honest with ourselves our recovery begins.
Then we started talking about our families and growing up. She grew up with a mother who suffered from mental illness* and told me how hard it was sometimes to cope with – as a family. During a formative time in my life, her mother was like my second mother and I see some of her qualities in who I am today, even (I could not wait to have a brood of children and dress them all up for Church on Sundays!!!). I adored her, even when she was “stressed.” In fact, in my opinion, she made raising four children in the midst of a great deal of physical illness look easy. For my Angel, her perspective was much different than mine, and after our tear-filled talk, I realized:
We are ALL beautiful survivors of life.
We often forget to look at the beauty and love and goodness within a person, and instead form perceptions and attitudes that allow us to cope with their behaviors instead…even when it is family or someone very dear to us. We forget that it is our differences and inequalities that often make us beautiful and unique, and that beneath it all, we are worthy of love and acceptance. We all survive life in our own ways, no matter what people can find to judge us about (fat, skinny, dumb, nerdy, “red and yellow, black and white,” gay, and so on…)
Be yourself…you are a beautiful survivor of life (and all of the crap it dumps on us!)
*Let me just say this now, I DESPISE the term “mental illness.” The connotation is horrible, but at this time, I don’t have a better descriptive word (give me a few more semesters in college).