I began a kindness initiative nearly one year ago. Little Hope Notes was born from compassion, creativity, and the desire to make a small difference. I remember how easily the words came to me when I would sit down and write a little hope note. The opportunities ahead seemed limitless and I’d smile at the thought of someone discovering a note and it being an encouragement to them.
Instagram seems to be a place to present polished versions of people. Those people share their victories and at times they share their struggles. I didn’t know where I fit in and I didn’t know how to make Little Hope Notes an encouraging platform when I was struggling so desperately with my own mental health.
I began to avoid all social media for my own well being. It felt impossible to be positive when I was comparing myself against every account I scrolled past. I hid.
I didn’t just hide on screen, but off screen too. My own depression gripped me so tightly that I stopped writing little hope notes. I stopped sharing about it. I stopped showing up for myself. Under I went into a place that I can only refer to as the darkness.
When I was down there I thought about how desperately I wanted to feel alive. I wanted to feel peace and have a deep understanding of myself. Then, a moment came when I realized that all of the Little Hope Notes I had written for others really spoke to me as well.
Was it possible that I had been writing what my own heart needed the whole time?
That depression clung to me for a long time, but as the sun began to thaw the outer edges of my heart I began to see. I saw those that were struggling and I knew right then and there that it wasn’t just enough to share encouraging words with others. I had to show hope. Sometimes hope doesn’t look promising at all. As a matter of fact, hope tends to push us out of the soil when we are at rock bottom.
There are 5 mental health confessions that I need to share. These things occur when I am at my worst and I am realizing that isolating myself in a confessional booth isn’t what hope looks like. It’s coming out into the open and sharing it with you because maybe you’re hurting, too.
- I distance myself from the people I love most. I never feel guilty about it because my trauma response of wanting to self preserve is stronger.
- I have been in therapy for 5 years and I only started telling my therapist the truth two weeks ago. I wasn’t blatantly lying, but was so defensive that I didn’t even know what my truth was. Years of self sufficiency can make it hard for vulnerability to move in.
- Suicidal thoughts come into my mind often. Although I have a strong support system and a safety plan, it doesn’t make it hurt any less.
- I’m learning slowly that I deserve love and peace. I am in this strange place of showing myself tenderness and grace. Sometimes that’s too uncomfortable to sit with so I keep running.
- I’m a peacemaker. I always have been. That quality has led to a lot of pain in my life–trusting too much too quickly. When I feel that people aren’t trustworthy I enter a place of self sufficiency and swear them off before they even had a fighting chance.
If there’s anything that I can say I know about you for sure it is this.
You are safe to confess what you struggle with. You’re loved simply because you exist and there’s nothing that can extinguish that light inside of you. Hope is always there. See if you can find her the next time a storm rolls in. She’ll be the one waiting on the shore for you.