I feel really weird today. Today is my 26th birthday. I never once in my life expected to reach this age.
I decided a long time ago that I didn’t want to live. For the purposes of this post I am putting aside the stories of various attempts and self-harm, because what I want to focus on is the fact that I had decided back in middle or high school that if somehow I managed to reach 25 years old, that would be the end no matter what.
I had a plan to make it so no one could stop me and I would complete a suicide finally, and never live past 25. “That’s plenty long enough to live,” I told myself.
I had been realizing that despite my deep depression and anxiety (and the fact that I now rarely leave my home) that at the very least my first thoughts were not always of suicide. When you looked at my life I didn’t seem to be making any steps towards recover, and things are still extremely hard, but going from actively planning to kill myself to focusing on getting to the next day is already a huge step for me.
Then I turned 25 and my husband was very scared because I never did hide my intentions, but instead of putting pressure on me, he chose to focus on helping me get from day to day, helping me do the one thing I was still able to enjoy (reading), and encouraging me whenever I did anything related to self-care no matter how small.
At the beginning these things were so tiny as to almost be darkly funny. Forced myself to get out of bed for the day and not go back until I was going to sleep earned me proud looks and hugs. And slowly those accomplishments grew. Took a shower? “Hurray!” Prepared my own food today? “Amazing! So yummy!” Had my mother over for a visit? “Wow! Good job! You did a lot today!” Actually left the house and went with my mom and husband to do something? “I’m so proud of you for getting out, baby. I’m so glad you have fun.”
And sure, some days I don’t manage any of those things, but as long as I’m trying he doesn’t mind. And slowly, I have started to see the progress more clearly than the setbacks.
And throughout my 25th year, while I did sometimes think of suicide, I only planned once (not too seriously), and I managed to push through to the next day.
Now I am 26. I have officially outlived my own plans. It’s a little scary because I never made even rudimentary plans for my life. I never finished high school, I never planned for college, I never learned job skills, I still don’t leave the house much….
But if I can make it further than I ever even imagined to be possible, then maybe, just maybe, I’ll find a way to move forward and build a life. Maybe it’s really never too late.
Wishing myself luck and small victories, and the same to all of you out there who are struggling to find a reason or way to live. Today I share my birthday wish with you.
♪ And many mooooore…. ♪