Sara and I went to high school together. We had mutual friends and spent a few days in East Canyon together after graduating. She is easy to talk to and has a very kind heart. She recently started sharing about her own mental health journey and was gracious enough to let this blog be part of that too.
Sara is an artist and she loves the outdoors. She is a 27-year-old, single gal living at home, working part-time, and trying to get back to school in January.
I often hear the phrase, “I have a mental illness, but it doesn’t define me.” My mental illnesses may not define me, but they have definitely RE-fined me. Through my illnesses, I’ve been able to have experiences with God that I never would have thought possible. I’ve learned more about myself and grown closer to my own spirit. My relationships with others have been strengthened, my ability to recognize and appreciate beauty has increased, and I’ve had some beautiful, sacred interactions with those beyond the grave.
While all those things are true, I don’t want to make it sound like everything is sunshine and daisies for me. I’ve been suicidal more times than I can count, and have felt mental and spiritual pain more extreme and agonizing than any physical pain I’ve experienced (including kidney stones). I’ve felt isolated, terribly alone, and completely removed from God and those I love. Fear and depression have been my constant companions for most of my life. I have days when I cannot get out of bed, days when it takes all my willpower to eat anything, and days when I just want to go back to my spiritual home.
Despite all the pain and suffering I’ve experienced, I can truly say that I am grateful for it. Some days it’s hard to remember that. But the things I’ve gained and the blessings I’ve received far outweigh the suffering and hardships. Struggle is a part of this life, pain is a part of this life, but God has gifted us with His Son, who is the source of all truth and light. He picks us up when we fall, He stands by our side when we face challenges, and He holds us when we weep. Things may not be okay, but they will be one day. And until that day, I’ll keep moving forward, taking one day, one hour, one minute at a time. Because it truly is worth it to be alive.