I am so grateful to still be here.
At a certain point in time, I didn’t think that I would.
I was so overwhelmed and weighed down by anxiety, and was experiencing such severe depression that holding my head up even seemed to be too much of a daunting task. If you had asked me 3 years ago if I thought there was a way out, I would have told you that I had exhausted all of my options. I had tried every practice in the book. I had gone to therapy. I had been consistently working out. I was reading my devotionals. I was eating healthy, taking my medicine. Every single thing that people told me would help, I tried. And nothing seemed to be working.
Or so I thought I tried everything. It wasn’t until I tried being HONEST that I was finally released from the bondage of what was taking me down.
The Walk To The Hospital That Changed My Life.
I remember walking to the hospital like it was yesterday. Hours before I made that long walk, I had called the suicide hotline for help. I woke up crying, went to bed crying, had crying spells randomly throughout the day. All I saw was darkness. I saw no light, all my dreams and goals gave me no hope, and I couldn’t “see” anyone around me. I could be in a group full of my closest friends, and still, feel so far away. It was like my mind was eating me alive. I don’t know what I thought I was going to accomplish by calling the hotline, pouring my heart out to some random stranger. I think I was hoping that it would give me some sort of last glimmer of hope.
But it didn’t. I hung up the phone and fell on the floor with such a deep feeling of hopelessness.
I immediately called my mom and explained to her the conversation I just had.
“Do you think you need to go to the hospital?”, she asked calmly.
Instead of acting as if I could make it through another day as if I was somewhat okay – I told her yes.
As I walked to the hospital from my dorm room, I kept thinking that I loved living. I kept thinking about how much I enjoyed being alive – and how I knew that my mind was fighting to make me believe otherwise. As I walked into the hospital, I was greeted with a bunch of other somber, grief-stricken faces all restlessly waiting to be seen. The faces I saw in there were enough to send me into an anxiety attack alone.
“What’s your emergency”, the front desk assistant asked.
“Suicidal ideation”, I whispered.
As she looked up at me with a blank stare I could tell that was not what she was expecting me to say. As she admitted me back into the hospital I felt nauseous – and proceeded to throw up 3 times. As I was hunched over the toilet, with my stomach twisting and eyes clouded with tears, I don’t think I ever had felt lower than that point. I could not even gather the strength to stand up as I sat there on that cold, hospital floor. All while the nurse is trying to ask me for my insurance information.
When I eventually could gain the energy to walk to the hospital room, as I crawled into that bed I realized that I could not go and lower. I had reached rock bottom. I had no other choice. Either something had to change, or I was not going to make it.
The Power of Owning Your Story.
My mom drove up to the hospital that night, and her presence alone is what saved me that day.
She kept asking me what was really going on. And each time I kept saying “I am just having a really hard time but I’ll be okay”. But I knew in my heart that was not going to save me. I had been saying that for over a year and it was not cutting it. Each time that she asked, I felt from the depths of my stomach this deep urge to want to tell her the truth.
That the shame and guilt I felt from not being authentically myself was eating me alive. I had this unhealthy desire of never wanting to fall short – and so I would shift and mold to please everyone around me. I never wanted to let people see me and perceive me as weak. I never wanted to feel like I was disappointing, failing, or not living up to someone’s expectation of me.
But at that moment, I realized I was disappointing everyone by trying to live up to an unrealistic standard. I was suffocating myself daily trying to be someone else, and my mind was beating me into the ground, bullying me for living a life that wasn’t my own. And so for once, I stopped trying, stopped running, and owned who I was. And I poured my heart out to her.
THAT was the moment that I gained my life back. There was no amount of therapy that could be done, no amount of medicine I could take, no amount of praying I could do, that would help me if I was too scared to OWN who I authentically was. And OWN that mistakes and shortcomings make an incredibly powerful testimony.
The Beginning of a Long Road.
As my mom and I left the hospital the next day, part of the agreement that allowed me to be released from the hospital was that I had to go to my therapist within 72 hours. As I walked into her office she immediately said “well you look like you got some life back in you.”
It’s amazing how when you own who you are, people around you can feel it.
Here we are 3 years later, and I can honestly say that that period of my life truly helped me lay the foundation for true authenticity. I went through phases where I was angry, phases were I cried a lot, phases where I felt exhausted from committing to being authentically myself in a world that isn’t always so kind. Yet, it was work that I am so glad I committed to doing. I unlearned thought processes that I had developed while I was deep in depression. I worked on my self-worth. I sat with my emotions, as painful as it was, and dug deep to learn what they were trying to teach me. I fought to be Gabby, this time the most authentic version of me that I could be.
What allowed me to even put up a worthwhile fight in the first place was that I was honest. I would have never been able to start healing if I never was honest about the root of the problem. No matter what you are facing, no matter how you think your situation will be perceived, I encourage you to open up and speak your truth. Whether you share it with one person or 1,000. No matter how high or low your story makes you feel, I promise that it harbors more power than you give it credit for. The beautiful thing about all of our stories is that no one else on this earth has the exact same story as you – and that is your power.
Water Your Garden always.