Have you ever felt as if you were stuck in a dark cave and that you would never be able to get out of it? This feeling could last anywhere from seconds to days to months, and it is not a fun feeling to experience. Often during these times, it feels as if it’s the end of the world, and it feels as though you can’t go on. Well, I have felt this way before over the time span of a couple of months. However, the months felt more like a lifetime. I felt like there was no reason to get out of bed everyday, and I didn’t know why I was here on this earth.
It was last year, in eighth grade. I started my year off on such a high note; it was right after winter break when I started to feel miserable. I believe this resulted from my relationship with food and my body, and also discovering things that I once thought meant the entire world to me, didn’t. After I slowly drifted away from things I thought I loved, like dance and hanging out with friends, I began to feel empty inside because there was no content to fill my soul. It felt as if there was nothing for me to live for. I felt empty. I came home from school, did my homework, and watched Netflix all night. I hated being around people that weren’t my family. I’m guessing that this was because I was so confused about my life that I didn’t even know how to present myself to others. I found myself hating school, because I hated being around people. When I look through the text conversations between my mom and I around February of last year, I see texts filled with sadness and desperation, begging her to pick me up from school.
This experience caused me to drift away from many friends of mine. I suddenly stopped seeing people, and my friends started to get worried. People noticed that I wasn’t as cheerful as I usually was in school, and I started receiving text messages from friends who were concerned about my odd behavior. It turns out that I was depressed. I will talk about depression in a further blog, but let’s just say it’s very hard to deal with because it can’t be seen unless you have the courage to open up about it, unlike a physical illness where you can obviously tell when someone is hurting. I felt like I was stuck in a dark tunnel with no light to be seen.
With help and support from my family, my friends, and others who I opened up to, I made it through the tunnel. I feel so much better. And I just want everyone to know that when you find yourself feeling sad and lonely and empty, there are people to talk to…family, friends, school counselors, therapists. There are so many people who care. I never thought I’d feel better, and I do!! I finally feel like my fun, crazy self again.
I remember on canoe trips, when I felt so challenged, exhausted, and at the end of my rope, my counselors reminded me that there is an end to every lake and to every portage. Well, it is the same case with difficult times. No matter how dreadful or long it may feel, the hard times will eventually come to an end. Not only will it end, but you will come out the other end as a stronger, braver individual.
In addition, since it is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, I just want to apologize if you were ever hurt by me distancing myself from you. I went through a very hard time, and human contact was difficult for me to handle. Overall, I apologize to anyone, anywhere, who I have hurt in the past year. I had a hard year.
If you are going through a difficult time, just know that you are not alone. One good thing my hard year gave me was compassion for others going through a hard time. So I am here if you need to talk.
And remember, there is a light at the end of a tunnel. No matter how long it takes you to see it, happier, easier times are waiting for you with open arms. Don’t be afraid to talk to a trusted adult or friend (or me) about your difficulties.
L’Shana Tova! Happy and Healthy New Year to all!