Kinship, community, feeling like you belong, all things I was born with a natural aversion to. In all places I felt out of place and small. For the first seven years of my life if there was an adult I didn't know in the room, especially a male adult, I would hide under anything I could find to hide under. As I grew older I started to come out of my shell and hide less and less until I eventually reached an age where I stopped hiding all together, however the fast paced beating of my heart screaming at me to dive down for safety has never fully receded.
I've never really shared much of my story but felt called to when I saw this contest. Who I am now and what it took to get me here is something I've been ruminating on a lot since the covid-19 pandemic took hold. I've always been afraid. I've always lived fearfully. What was I so afraid of? Where did this general sense of fear come from? Desperately searching for the source of it used to send me spiraling further and further into myself and there have been so many times where I was afraid I wouldn't make it back out. But here I am, out of it.
By the time I was in high school I had gotten so used to keeping everything in that even my best friends had no idea how bad I was struggling. We reached an age where romantic relationships and the pursuit of them became a top priority. Suddenly the two people who had been there for me since first grade were lost to me to the world of women. Thinking back I feel so silly for not reaching out for help when I needed it most. This was the same time in my life where my aunt and uncle who raised me had to move to another state and my brother and I were left in Ohio to take care of the farm and keep an eye on our grandmother until a room could be put together for her. Not being close with my family, I thought this new found isolation would be fine but for the first time in my life I was left almost entirely alone for the longest period of time I ever had, and I was trapped inside myself.
The decision to end your life is not something that happens in an instant. That decision is made when the weight of existence buckles our legs out from under us and becomes more than we can hold up anymore.
I hope you always are able to hold it up.
I hope you are never dragged so far down the hole that depression can leave you in that you never make it back out.
As lonely as you may get, you're not alone.
I hope you make it through like I did.