It often upsets me how many people I know who feel completely disempowered in their own lives. I realise that being a young person can suck – I’ve had my share of crappy times (not that I think it’s ever about comparison). But no matter who you are or what you’re going through – where you end up comes down to choice.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re disabled, or depressed, or homeless, or an addict. I’m not talking about circumstances here: obviously there are times when things are out of our control. I’m talking about the self depreciating beliefs which perpetuate cycles of disempowerment. In terms of perception, there is nothing stopping us from believing that things can be better. I realise that there are external influences, of course, but eventually it has to come from within. Eventually there has to be a point when you decide that there will be no more of this. And no – I’m not for a second implying that the darkness leaves in that moment, but perspective makes such a difference. The realisation that you are enough, just as you are, and that you are in control, brings a whole new understanding to the table.
It’s only been the last twelve months for me that I’ve come to realise that I am in control of where my life ends up. Despite all of the shit up to this point, where I go from here is up to me. Realising this felt like such a revolutionary shift in my understanding of the world – that if I make choices in line with my values, I will end up somewhere that I want to be. Perhaps it’s a step from victim to survivor. It’s so simple in theory, but we seem to find it so difficult to apply to our own lives.
I’m not going to pretend that I don’t still suffer. I coax spoonfuls of food into my mouth and regularly wake up to the sound of my own sobbing, I still often wonder whether there is any point to this at all. But I’ve learnt that no matter what happens, it will not break me. I’ve been to the edge. I spent years there, teetering on my toes, staring into the abyss. At times I began to fall, only to be pulled back – by friends, family, doctors. I came back. And despite that being the most painful thing I have ever done, in doing so I guaranteed myself life. A life that is worth something, that has some meaning. That doesn’t revolve around my complete absence of self worth or self belief. A life that is still worth fighting for.
Life isn’t all smooth sailing. (Congratulations, way to make the most obvious point ever). Life is mountains and valleys – it’s joy and pain – and it’s only if you’re willing to endure the darkness that you see that it’s never entirely void of light. When you’re stuck at the bottom of a valley it’s easy to fall prey to the belief that you’ll never make it out. But as long as you keep putting one foot infront of the other, as long as you keep breathing – you will get there. For as long as you’re breathing, there is hope. Your life is yours.