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Emma’s Story

I feel like I’ve told this story to anyone who will listen. Girl who has everything she could ever want—the most “got your back” family and friends, her own apartment and a kitty, a bachelor's degree in elementary education and plans to begin a masters, a drawer of pantyhose from the time she lived in a convent (a story for another day), and two pairs of sticky soled socks from two psychiatric hospital stays earned after suicide attempts (plural) and panic attacks (nightly) and a general state of I can’t keep myself here on earth by myself.

The thing is, that year of more misery than I hope to ever feel again has passed with two years time. I used to share the message of just keep breathing. I wanted to tell a fellow suffering soul to just keep being alive, just keep simply breathing. What I’m learning in this new phase of recovery is how much beauty is on the other side of just being alive. To stand by friends getting married and having babies, to see my first teaching job within reach, to run through sunflower fields. I don’t have the answer to how this happened. I’d probably be able to actually afford cable if I did. Slowly and excruciatingly I guess, and I won’t lie to you that the darkness makes reappearances, but friends…it’s so much easier to fight through when you know what the truth is. The truth that you have so much more to come and that mental illness is just that—an illness.

I know it hurts and I know how real and deep the hurt is. What I want to tell you is that after you’ve held on enough and your hands are worn raw from gripping so hard onto life, that something new comes. It’s going to seem unreal and like it will slip away as quickly as it came. Bogus, you might say? I’m here folks. I’m here doing the things that in the depths of depression and nights of hoping I didn’t wake up seemed unattainable. I want to stand on the rooftops and yell with my teacher’s voice that what’s next is that it all gets good, so so good. Breathe on, and then thrive.

What I’m learning in this new phase of recovery is how much beauty is on the other side of just being alive.

Written by Emma George