I will never be “done” grieving the loss of my Dad.

I have heard it all.
“He is in a better place”

“You should just be happy he isn’t in pain anymore.”

“God took him because he needed another angel.”

I have heard it all.

I know it all.

I know my Dad is up in heaven, pain free, and I know that everything happens for a reason. But I also know I will never be done grieving the loss of my Dad.

I recently moved out of the house that I grew up in.

The house that my Father passed away in.

I was constantly being told that I needed to get over everything. That the house was just a house. One person even had the audacity to tell me that it was “silly of me to get so attached to a house that I knew I wouldn’t live in my whole life”.

Here is the thing though. I lost my Dad at the age of nine. And I am not saying that so I can have a bunch of people throw a pity party for me but more so that people can understand that for a nine year old to loose their Dad with only memories of him being sick they are going to attach to material things.

I attached to my house.

The same house that my brother and I would serve communion in on the Sundays that the family didn’t make it to church.

The same house were ‘Pipers night before Christmas’ was read every Christmas Eve.

The same house that was flooded with family and friends after the funeral.

I am not going to “unattach” myself from my house.

I am not going to stop wearing the t-shirt my dad wore to bed just because it has holes in it.

I am not going to change my screensaver from the picture of my dad and I when I was just a little baby.

I am grieving. I am doing it my own way, and I am doing it in a healthy way given the amount of time since he passed.

So please do not tell me that he is in a better place. I know that.

And please do not tell me that I should just be grateful for the time I got. I am.  I still wish I had more.

I am doing it my own way. I have been doing it my own way for seven years and I am doing alright.

So please. I beg you. Do not tell me I need to be “done” grieving the loss of my Dad. 


Today was a day my depression spiked up. But you would never know it.


Today was an awful day.

I mean terrible.

But you wouldn’t guess it. Not by looking at me. Not by even talking to me.

Today I woke up to the same alarm as I do everyday. But the moment I opened my eyes I knew what kind of day it was going to be.

I rolled out of bed after five minutes of encouraging myself. I mustered up the energy to go into the bathroom and brush my teeth. I even took the time to take a morning shower in hopes of refreshing myself for what the day had ahead.

It did not help. Not at all.

I got of the shower feeling even more exhausted than I did when I woke up. But I put on a nice often. They tell you to dress how you want to feel. I wanted to feel happy so I put on a nice dress and did my makeup. I put in effort.

Still. Nothing.

I went to school and sat through all my classes. I participated in the class discussion. I laughed at all the jokes. I talked to my peers in the hallways.

But inside I was crumbling.

I came home and went to my tasks. I went to babysit and I laughed and played with the kids. Soaking in every moment, because to me the most joyful thing here on earth is the sound of a happy child.


I went to church and I sang all the songs and listened intently. I prayed asking God to just give me one moment of genuine happiness in that awful day.


You see the thing about depression is that some days just stink. Some days you really do just have to put on your big girl pants and fake it until your head hits the pillow. But that is hard to accept as a Christian. As a Christian I want to just be able to say that it is all in my attitude. That the day is only as good as I make it. That God is by my side so I will be fine.

I think that it is thanks to God that I am able to go through my day without a single soul knowing my world is crumbling around me. Because I know that it is by Gods grace that through all the thoughts in my head telling me I am worthless I am still able to function as an active member of my community.

That, right there, is how you know you have beat depression.

How do you get air out of a glass?


It is a simple question. But you either know the answer right away or you are, like me, completely clueless. 

The first time I was asked how to get air out of a glass the first thing I thought was you can’t. Then I thought of breaking that glass. Or maybe taking some sort of vacuum? Turning it upside so nothing can get in?

If you don’t know the answer don’t worry. I will tell you.

You fill it with water.

It’s a metaphor, you see. The glass is life. The air is the struggles of life; the cancer, the murder, the sadness and pain. In order to get rid of the air you have to fill it with water, the positive.

Yes, you are still going to always have a little air, unless you fill it to the tippy top. But that is ok.

Bad things are going to happen. You are going to try and move your glass and it will shake, and water will spill out. But do not worry! There is always more to put in it!

When I first heard this metaphor I kind of let in go in one ear and out the other. It was interesting but I did not feel it applied to me. I truly did not believe I had the power to find the good in bad things.

Then one day I was sitting in English class and I started to have a panic attack. My first thought was “Ok, I know that I have the ability to excuse myself from class, so I will just go down to my counselor and process it out.”

Then I had another thought.

“I do not want to miss the information she is giving us right now, I need to try and stay. I will try that silly glass thing.”

I sat there and said to myself that I was grateful for my anxiety because it taught me how to be more understanding of others. I said to myself that If I could just get through the rest of that class then I could do anything; that I was grateful for the support I could go to but that I was grateful God gave me the strength to get through it myself.

I have not missed a single class due to panic attacks since then.

Not only that, I have mentioned the simple metaphor to multiple friends and even adults. Just the other day I got a text from a friend saying that thanks to the metaphor she was able to push through an uncomfortable therapy session.

Everything in your world might be falling apart. And you might be questioning if things could possibly get any worse. The truth is, yes, things could always get worse. But no matter how tall and wide your glass of life is, you can always fill it with water. You just have to do a little searching first.

Why I Will Forever be Grateful for my Abuser.

I am not one to say that the guy that abused me is a bad person. I believe strongly that he is a good person with so much weight on his shoulders that he doesn’t know what else to do but to hurt others.

I would never, in a million years, wish abuse on even my worst enemy.

But I will forever be grateful for the man that abused me. 

He taught me how a guy should treat me. Because yes, at the beginning he treated me like a princess.

He taught me how a guy should not treat me. Because yes, he used me and my vunerability many times.

He taught me that I can do better for myself. Because the day that I, by the Lords grace, was freed from that relationship was the day that I learned just how much I am capable of.

I know it seems odd to be grateful for being in an abusive relationship, and for a long time I wasn’t. For the longest time I let that relationship hold me captive. I let the things he had ingrained into my brain sit there for years after I cut ties with him, I was a victim of his long after I stopped communication with him. But here is what I have learned.

I was abused. It happened and there isn’t a single thing I can do about it. It will always be a part of who I am and that is ok. It is what I do with it that matters.

I could very easily crawl into a metaphorical hole and never talk to a single boy again, or I could use it as a warning sign. So that if I see a boy doing this, that, or the other I can stop in my tracks and walk away before things get complicated.

I could extremely easily be infuriated at him for the rest of my days, and nobody would think twice about it. But that wouldn’t get me anywhere in life. It really does take more energy to be angry than it does to forgive. The guy that took advantage of me must have had some extremely difficult things going on in his life that caused him to treat me and other girls the way he did. 

I pray for him. 

So are most people grateful for abuse? No, probably not. But this is what I have learned about life. Everything that has happened to you has happened. You can’t go back in time and change it. You can’t reverse it. God does what he does when he needs to do it. It’s what you do with those situations that truely matters. 

So to my abuser. 

Thank you. 

Let’s Discuss 13 Reasons Why. Actually, let’s Discuss Suicide.


I know, edgy topic. Another one that people don’t really talk about much. Until this past few weeks when Netflix aired the series “13 Reasons Why”

If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly suggest that you start. It is intense. It is provocative in wording and scenery, but it is real. Okay, maybe the whole basis of somebody taking their life and leaving tapes explaining why is a bit far fetched but it sure does get you thinking.

I don’t want to talk about the show. I don’t want to spoil anything. But I want to talk about the topic of suicide. What leads a person to make that choice, because I can tell you for fact that you do not just wake up one morning and decide you are done living. It is a slow and painful process.

It is something that is so relative in today’s society and yet something that is so rarely discussed.

My question is why?

This past September a classmate of mine took his own life, and it threw everybody off track because nobody knew that he was suffering, most likely because nobody was talking about it.

You see the day after he passed away all the teachers were talking about how they are always there for us, we were being encouraged to go talk to counselors and trusted adults about how we were doing. This all took place after the tragedy had already occurred. It took somebody taking their own life for the community to address it. Why was this not brought up before? Why, on the first day of school, don’t we have an all school assembly informing us of the different places we can go to get help?

I want to make a change, more than I can begin to express. I want to change the way things are done. I want to be the person that doesn’t stick to the status quo and breaks the barriers. I want to take that leap of faith and speak up about the hard things, mental illness, suicide, rape.

Right now, I am praying. It might not seem like much to you, but to me praying is the most important step. I am praying that God shows me the right ways to speak out about this topic that I feel so extremely passionate about.

I want to take the road less traveled by.

What is the real reason we don’t talk about mental health in the church community?


Why is it that mental health in the church is something that is kept so quiet?

Are people afraid to speak up about it? 

Afraid to trigger or offend somebody?

Or do people simply not know what to say on the topic due to lack of information?

A few days ago while having a conversation with my youth pastor he told me that mental illness isn’t something that they are taught about in “pastor school”. I was shocked, but it made sense. In my few seventeen years I have never heard a sermon on mental health, and I have been to my fair share of churches.

Nothing against pastors, at all. In fact, my pastor is the reason I have freedom in Christ today.

I don’t know why the conversation of mental illness is swept under the rug in the church community, but I do know that as somebody who battles anxiety and depression, it is something that people with mental illness want to be discuss.

Are pastors and leaders afraid to speak up on this topic? Or do they simply not know how to go about the sermon due to lack of information?

I am a wild advocated for mental health. I believe that people need to be informed about the realities of mental health, but beyond that I believe that people need to know the reality of being a person the battles mental illness all the while clinging onto God every minute of every day.

My mental illness isn’t a sin, I am not unholy because of it. My mental illness is a chemical imbalance, that therefore causes me to over think little things, obsess over things I have no control over, and worry about the unimaginable.

Here is the thing, mental illness isn’t something that is cured. It isn’t a paper cut that heals with a band-aid and some neosporin. It is incurable, but it can be managed. You see the day my depression stopped controlling me was one, about a month after I was prescribed the correct amount of medication for the severity of my illness. And two, the day that I stopped letting the devil use my mental illness as an excuse for him to torture me.

Mental illness is really scary, for somebody that doesn’t have a relationship with Christ. I know because I have been there. I have woken up morning after morning with a pounding headache from the tears I had cried the night before. I have had more than one anxiety attack in the middle of a big exam. I know that it is not “fun” or “cute” to have depression and anxiety, contrary to what a large majority of society thinks. I also now know that none of my battles were or are from my mental illness, but from satan himself. He saw my illness and he knew that he could use it as a way to grab a hold of me. Now, It took me two books and months and months of guidance to realize that. But eventually I realized it and I got all the right balances of everything I needed. Now I look forward to tests, because they are a day when I don’t have to sit and listen to a 30 minute lecture. I love going to bed because I am able to reflect on the day and relax my body, spend some time with God.

I understand why it is a touchy subject. Even just writing this post I have fear of offending people who struggle with mental illness and don’t know Christ because I know what it is like to be on the other side. I sat and listened to my religious role models tell me that my mental illness was satan controlling me, and I thought it was crap. In fact it angered me that somebody that didn’t know what it was like to live my life was telling me that cause of my struggles. But I also know what it is like to have freedom in Christ. Not to say I don’t still have depression and anxiety, I do, and it will always be a constant fight.

But I also will ALWAYS have an astonishing God that loves me more than I could ever even begin to imagine.

And guess what? So do you.

The Most Important Lesson of my Life. Breathing.



Trying to plan out your life is like trying to find a pen in a pitch black room. You can always do it, but you most likely won’t be very successful.

One of the most important and most helpful things I have learned in my seventeen short years of life is how to breathe. 

I know, sounds kind of dumb. But I’m not talking about the type of breathing that your body does naturally. I’m talking about the breathing that you have to teach yourself to do when everything around you is falling apart. When there isn’t a single other thing in your life that you can control you can always control your breathing.

As somebody that battles anxiety, and with that panic attacks, learning breathing techniques has been a big part of my therapy.

In through your nose, out through your mouth.

Breathe in the good vibes, breathe out the bad vibes.

Breathe in, hold 1…2…3… breathe out. 

I have learned it all. And yes, it does feel silly when you are sitting in class breathing along with your fitbit, But it helps to focus on the things that you can control when everything is falling apart.

Nobody likes to feel like their world is caving in around them, but everybody has felt it. And often there isn’t a single thing you can do about it.

I tried to plan out my life once, I did not get very far. 

Because you try to control everything around you when really all you need to do is sit down, breathe, and bring yourself to the feet of the one who is all powerful. God knows what I am going to be doing exactly at this time two years from now. I don’t even know what I am going to be doing 24 hours from now!

A few weeks ago I found myself in the car just driving to get gas. A simple errand, I didn’t think a single thing of it. My plan was to go to the north side of town (where gas is a solid 10 cent cheaper), drive home, and go to bed. I even told myself I was going to fight the temptation to make a pit stop at the drive thru Starbucks.

I got the gas but as I was driving home I started to get that sick to my stomach feeling. I knew exactly what was about to happen, and I did not like it one bit.

“Not now, I can’t have an anxiety attack, not while I am driving. This can not be happening…focus…on your breathing…breathe in, out. No you need to be focusing on driving. You shouldn’t be driving, this is not safe.”

I found myself sitting in my car on a street right off of Main. I give myself a pat on the back for pulling over. But that did not fix anything. The attack escalated faster than usual, everything was blurry, I was lightheaded, and not breathing right. Being alone during an anxiety attack is extremely scary. Because if you are alone and decide to go get water you may faint and nobody be there to help. Not ideal. The situation was more than I could handle.

My night had not gone as planned. 

But God was watching over me saying to himself ‘right on schedule’.

I found myself at the house of a family that lived nearby that I am very close with. Sitting on the couch of two extremely wonderful people with one wrapping her arms around me and another literally holding my hand through the attack and as I was sitting there, bawling like a baby, I started to breathe right. In my mind nothing was right. I was intruding on somebodies evening, I was bothering people. But that couple could have not been home. They could have said no and turned me away. But they didn’t. That panic attack (which was awful) is what gave me the motivation to get throughout the rest of the week. The attack was terrible but God gave it to me anyway because he knew that I just needed somebody to hug me tighter than I had been held in years, somebody to cover me with a blanket and let me know that I am loved. He knew that I just needed some TLC that I would not have been willing to ask for had that situation not arose.

It is mind boggling how every single situation in our lives plays out just right. Literally everything. I can’t even begin to comprehend how astonishing God is.


An Open Letter to the People That Care About Me.


Everybody, no matter who you are, has at least one person that cares about them. Just today I was talking to my therapist about how it is both a blessing and a curse that I care about everyone so very deeply. Because, you see, I care about everybody a tad bit more than I care about myself. And that can cause trouble.

I am extremely blessed. I have people every where I turn that care about me. Some people care about me a little more than they should, given the role they play in my life. To the people in my life that care about me. Here is what I want you to know.

I don’t believe that a single soul cares about me. I know, logically, that people care greatly for me but on this one subject my heart and my head just don’t agree.

I could sit here for hours and tell you about specific times when it was made plain as day that I am loved. And in those moments, I felt flooded with love. But the moments fade and at the end of the night when my head hit the pillow I was left feeling lonely.

So, to you, the one that hasn’t given up on me yet. Know this.

Know that I thank God for putting you in my life.

Know that when I send you a text at 11 at night asking how you are it is probably because I am lonely and need some company but don’t want to be a burden.

Know that when you send me texts saying that you are thinking of me it gives me the courage to get through the day.

Know that I will cling to anybody that shows me they care. Because for me to truly feel genuinely loved is a rare occurrence.

Know that even when I am sitting in a room full of hundreds of people I feel like I am in a soundproof room, screaming for somebody to open the door and rescue me.

Know that I care about you. A lot.

And above all. Know that I am grateful for you. Because all though I may not always know in my heart that I have people that care about me it has been ingrained into my brain as fact that I am surrounded by people that have my best interest at heart.

To my friends, thank you for going on random drives with me to nowhere. Thank you for always playing all the right songs. And thank you being somebody I can be serious with and then dance with five minutes later.

To my adult role models and my non-biological family, thank you for always being just a phone call and a drive away from a pair of loving arms. Thank you for taking me in as if I was one of your own without even blinking an eye.

And to my family, thank you for loving me uncontrollably but never failing to make me laugh. Thank you loving on me when everybody else turned their backs. Thank you for understanding my crazy family in ways nobody else can. You make the holidays merrier and the sad days bearable.

My God’s not dead! He’s surely alive!


Everybody questions their faith at one point in their life. It is completely normal!

I found myself questioning my faith for quiet some time. Until it became undeniably obvious that, as Newsboys say, “My God’s not dead, he’s surely alive.”

I did all of the right things.

I went to Awana and memorizes the verses. However, similar to cramming info the night before a big test, I would walk out out of church every Sunday night completely oblivious to what it was I had just been rewarded for reciting word for word.

My parents had me is church classes singing and dancing to “This little light of mine.” from the get go. Very catchy song! My friends and I still plug it into the aux to this day! But I was just learning the words, not fully comprehending the meaning.

I was, to the naked eye, a “good Christian girl” all the while on the inside I was questioning if God was even real. However, yet again, I did all the right things. I reached out to a trusted adult and made it plain as day that I was stuck. I admitted that I was just going through the motions, and then I admitted that I wanted to be free.

So I prayed the prayers and I read the books and they helped! I would be lying to myself to say they didn’t. But they also did not transform me. Until I had an experience that made it undeniably obvious that God is real. And he is GOOD!

I have always served in the church. Helping in the nursery since I was old enough to. Recently I was asked to help lead a small group of third to fifth grade girls. I said yes! I love kids and adore helping people, it was a perfect fit! One Sunday night I just did not want to go. I had just gotten back from a long weekend retreat in which I had really connected to God. I was tired, and knowing that I had to wake up at the crack of dawn to go to school made me just want to curl up and go to bed. But I went with a smile on my face, because I had a duty. Honestly, I could not even tell you what we were supposed to be discussing that night. The girls were just asking A LOT of questions. I was a bit overwhelmed. As I was the only leader that night (besides our adult supervisor) so It was a lot to answer. They were asking me simple questions about the issues of a classic elementary school girl.

“What do I do when my best friend turns her back on me.” 

“My friend told this boy that I like him when I really don’t”

“My “boyfriend” and I got in a fight over who was it! Help!”

Issues that are so extreme to these girls. I gave my best advice. Most of it was advice that I had been given over the years. I found myself constantly reminding them that none of this silly drama would matter two or four or six year down the road. Man, do I need to practice what preach! I did my best to reassure them that God has a great plan for them. But it felt insignificant. I felt that I was out of line to be giving advice to these kids when I had to push myself to even go that night.

After the discussion I had two girls come up to me asking for my contact info. Saying that I had really helped and they wanted to be able to talk to me whenever things got really hard. I was flattered. I later found out that one of those girls had an extremely hard home situation. Lacking family members that truly cared for her well being. I drove home that night astonished at the work God had just done right before my very eyes. I can honestly say that since that day I have not for a single second questioned if God is real. He IS real. He IS good. And he ALWAYS will provide!


Hebrews 11:6 ESV

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.


From a churchgoer who battles mental illness. Here is what we want you to know. 

I can’t speak for everybody but I can speak for myself, as well as the multiple peers, as well as adults that I know struggle with anxiety, especially in the Church setting. 

I grew up in church. My family was always involved. Even as a baby my brother was in a church Christmas play as baby Jesus! It’s in my blood and I will forever be grateful for the that because I wouldn’t be who I am today in Christ if it wasn’t for that. But as I grew up and life started to get a bit more complicated than the simple “Mommy wouldn’t let me have the cookie” issues I realized that church became a place that caused me great deals of anxiety. Because to the naked eye everybody at church had their life together. They had God by their side and so their lives where stress free. 

I now know that to be so incredibly false, but it seemed legit to me at the time. 

The very idea of having to go and sit next to a bunch of people that had the “perfect relationship with God” for a hour and a half every Sunday was enough to make me bury my face in my pillow. 

Notice the word was. 

I still went to church every Sunday, for the most part, because like I said, it was how I was raised. I didn’t know any different. And staying home because I was anxious wasn’t a viable excuse. For a while it ate me alive. The devil had his grip on me. And he had it good. But God knew what he was doing. 

Slowly I started to realize that I was goig to have to go to church eventually so I might as well try and build some relationships their. As I started to talk to my peers more and even the adults around me, I realized something that changed my whole route. I learned that just because somebody has a good relationship with God, doesn’t mean that they have it all perfect. Now, church is what I look forward to the most every week. And better yet! I have a solid relationship with Christ outside of the walls of First Baptist Wheaton. Praise God!

There are three things everybody with mental illness needs to know.

  1. God has a greater vision in store. I never would have pictured myself where I am today. I also wouldn’t trade it for the world. But a couple months ago I found myself questioning my whole life. I didn’t see Gods greater plan, because, well. It’s impossible. 
  2. They are not alone. This isn’t to say that you should tell somebody you know what it is like to have anxiety if you don’t have it. You might know what it is like to be anxious, everybody gets anxious. But anxiety is different. But if you can relate to somebody with mental health on anything, tell them! It makes this overwhelming huge world seem a little bit more manageable. 
  3. They are loved, deeply. Sometimes all anybody needs is a long hug and a shoulder to cry on. Showing somebody that you care deeply for them just by being there when they need it speaks louder than you could ever imagine. Especially with anxiety, talking about things can often make it worse. Just saying I’m here and holding their hand is often all somebody in crisis needs. 

Next time you see somebody in church that seems overwhelmed, or somebody tells you that they battle mental illness don’t try to fix it. Tell them you are there. Tell them you will pray for them. Sometimes all anybody needs is some extra TLC. 

We all know the saying, “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” the truth is you know exactly what you have, you just never thought you would loose it.

Let’s be real. The saying “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” is not the most accurate. Because, you see, you know exactly what you have, you just never thought, that in a million years…you would actually lose it.
We have all experienced loss of some type. Whether that be the death of a pet goldfish at the age of five or the death of dearly loved family member or friend we all know the feeling of grief, probably all too well.

At the age of seventeen loss is something that I have experienced plenty of, too much for comfort. When I was seven I lost my dog, Rex. At nine, the Lord decided to call my father home. At eleven my Grandma passed and at sixteen a classmate of mine took his own life, God also took a beloved member of my church when I was sixteen. A women that I had looked up too since the day I met her. Now, at the age of seventeen never once have I said I didn’t know what I had until I lost it.

I knew exactly what I had.

I had a dog that I could play with.

A Father that loved me more than I could ever imagine.

A Grandma that never failed to make those around her light up with smiles.

I had a classmate that was desperately looking for somebody to show him they cared.

And a mentor that modeled God’s love in ways I could only dream of.

But I never thought, that in a million years I would lose them. You never know what God has in store for you and for those you love. You don’t know what type of drivers will be on the road when you leave for school in the morning without telling your parents you love them. You don’t know what type of personal struggles that person is having when you tell them “nobody cares”

If I have learned anything in the past seventeen years it is this.

  1. Never, ever take a single soul for granted. Even if that person is the reason you cried yourself to sleep at night you should still thank the Lord he placed them in your life, for they taught you everything you did not want to be.
  2. God is so much stronger than any plans you could ever even start to make. You do not know what you will be doing 24 hours from now. As my pastor said “You don’t even know if you are going to have lunch today.” God does. But we don’t. And we have no way of finding out. So live every single second of your life as if it was your last.

Do not go to bed mad at somebody. Do not leave for work in the morning without telling your family that you love them. Do not hang up the phone without telling your friend you are always there for them. And DO NOT wait until you are lying on your deathbed to ask God for forgiveness.


helloI have always been a really “happy” person. As a child I was constantly putting myself out there, you would always find me running around with friends, laughing, being extra goofy just to get people to smile. Little did people know I would come home at night and pray to God to make my life happier.

Life went on and things happened. Loosing my dad at the age of nine did not help. They did not diagnose me with depression until I was thirteen and things did not get much better from there. I got all the help anyone with depression could ever ask for, and then some! I had therapists working with me to battle my mental illness. I had doctors evaluating me to find the best fitting medication. After lots of therapy and life style changes I had seemed to “conquer” my depression. The thing is, you don’t “conquer” depression. You can learn how to better manage it but it will still always be a part of who you are. It is a chemical imbalance! Just as real as cancer. Time went by and years later I found myself at the glorious age of sixteen, spending hours in my bed in the morning motivating myself to get out of bed and brush my teeth.

For many people depression does not come alone. It is partnered with anxiety. Making the simplest things in life a nightmare. 

I grew up in church. And I am glad I did! I would not be where I am without God. But imagine being terrified and filled with tears at the thought of going to church on Sunday morning. What do you say to your church family when they ask why you haven’t been at church lately? I took a break from church and spent that time working on me. One of the first events I went to when I came back was a Thanksgiving Eve gathering. When discussing my plans with the host I found myself having to inform her that I may not be able to make it. That sometimes the idea of going sounds great and then the day comes and the thought alone causes gut clenching fear. The response I got filled my heart with comfort I had not experienced in months. She simply replied with “If it turns out not to be a good day, do what is best for you.” a simply sentence that she probably didn’t think twice about but changed my view of people.

You see, opening up about mental health is like jumping out of helicopter. And all you can do is hope and pray that your parachute works. Telling somebody with mental illness to “Just suck it up” or that “you know what it is like to be sad” is not helpful. People with mental illnesses need to be loved and cared for. They need to be told that it will be OK, and reminded that they have gotten through 100% of their worst days. We are just like anybody else and are perfectly capable of functioning with everyone else, sometimes we just need a little extra reminder!

Next time someone says that their depression or anxiety is flaring up, don’t dismiss it as drama. Tell them it will be OK and that you are there for them. A loving hug speaks much louder than any set of words ever could.