Wednesday, September 27, 2017

9.26.17

I'll be honest... long distance relationships can suck. I'm thankful for technology but nothing can replace the actual presence of someone, especially someone you love. Too often we post only the sunshine on social media and never the rain clouds. No one wants to be a downer, but I think too often it stems from a fear of being honest. Here's my honest - LDRs can suck! Yes, we Skype, call, text, and write letters. I still have a countdown until he comes home for break. And yes, I get intensely jealous when I see girls with their significant others, even though I'm very happy for them. I have to remind myself that all our paths are different and being away from each other is actually a freedom not everyone has - we can focus on our maturation and preparation without as much immediate pressure. But if I'm honest, I still miss my best friend.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

black lives matter

I am a feminist. I understand that for many, this equates to man-hating. By definition, it is fighting for equality. I am quite used to people disagreeing with me on the basis that feminism has come to equal hate. I don't even disagree with them, although I try to respectfully educate them.

This is how I feel about the Black Lives Matter movement. I agree with the basis, not what it has come to. If you support it and want to have a logical discussion about it, I am more than willing to talk about it. Really. But the second it becomes about burning buildings and killing others, it has lost my support. Such is the same with any other movement.

I do not support radical feminism because it degrades men. And I do not support BLM because it is often, not always, about degrading whites and police officers. I cannot support a movement which calls for the death of others.

If your BLM is about protecting blacks, count me in.
If it's about killing whites or police officers, or prioritizing blacks over whites, count me out.

It's that simple.

Love,
Hannah
<3

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

an honest conversation

Water rushed over a nearby waterfall as the breeze blew softly through the outdoor seating of the restaurant. I flipped through the menu but barely read the words, thinking over how I would tell my mentor and friend of over ten years sitting across from me what I was struggling with. I had met with her for lunch to discuss a mutual friend who was going through a really difficult break-up, but in order to voice my fears for my friend, I had to be honest about myself.

Much easier said than done.

After we ordered our meal, my mentor asked me how I was doing and I told her things were going well with the family but I needed to talk to her about our mutual friend and after admitting I was worried that she was struggling with depression and anxiety, my mentor asked me if I had been in a similar fight.

I said yes.


Photo by Parker Cunningham

She was the first person outside my family I had told and I wasn't sure how she would take it. The stigma in the church is so much harsher than I wish it was and I didn't know if she'd blame me or my sin for my struggles. Instead, she nodded thoughtfully, paused, and then told me she'd dealt with the same issues for the past thirty years.

I was stunned.

I had prepared for the worst and instead been met with acceptance, love, and companionship. Our lunch date went on and we discussed the issue at hand, but not before realizing we had a stronger bond than previously realized. She was still my mentor but now I saw her in a different light - as a friend. She was farther down the road than I but we still walked the same path.

It was the first step in realizing I wasn't alone.

Now, over a year and a half later, I've been blessed with the opportunity to do the same for others. Friends and acquaintances alike have come to me, asking for help or a listening ear. I've been able to cry with them, share resources with them, laugh with them, and celebrate milestones, small steps, and recovery. It's been the most amazing, encouraging thing I've ever experienced because while reminding others that they aren't alone, I remember that neither am I.
None of us are.

Please don't be afraid to reach out for help if you're struggling. You don't have to have an official diagnosis or be "sick enough" to get help. Find a trusted friend, adult, mentor, or church or school leader and ask them if you can share what you've been going through. It's hard and uncomfortable at first, but you'll be glad you did. Just talking to someone can make a huge difference.
Remember, you are loved.

Love,
Hannah

Sunday, October 9, 2016

I'm not strong enough

"You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it."

This used to be one of my favorite quotes. After all, who doesn't love being told that they are strong enough to take on whatever comes their way? In a way, the quote motivated me to be strong and keep fighting.

But it also discouraged me from seeking help when I needed it most. I believed I was supposed to be strong on my own and capable of handling anything that came my way.

That simply isn't true.

I cannot handle this life on my own. Left to my own devices, I would have ended this mess a long time ago. But the people in my life who love me most were able to pull me to my feet and help me regain my footing. I'm so thankful for their guidance and love as I stumbled through the hardest times of my life.

Chances are, you've run into some really tough things in your life and maybe you felt like you were all alone. I'm so sorry if you haven't had anyone to stand by you. However, I want to encourage you to reach out for help. Even if the worst parts of your storm are over, it's okay to ask for help cleaning up the wreckage. Find a support group, church, trusted friend, or counselor (or all!) to talk to and remember: you're never really alone.

Those who stood by me taught me that asking for help doesn't make you weak. It makes you human. I am human. I'm not ashamed to say I cannot stand alone.


Love,
Hannah

Thursday, October 6, 2016

no longer just surviving

Sometimes I take the long way back to my dorm to have more time enjoying the weather. I like watching the squirrels, people's dogs they've brought onto campus, and the wind blowing through trees. It's amazing, really, how beautiful everything is.


Something I hear very often told to people struggling with suicide is, "There's so much beauty in the world". I've said it to those struggling, had it said to me, and have even said it to myself. It's true. There is so much beauty in the world. But the problem with suicide and depression is not that people cannot see the beauty, but that they cannot see their place in it or how they are part of it. When I was at my lowest, I could still see the beauty of the world around me. But I truly believed I did not contribute to it and even believed I degraded it. 

I was surviving. Barely holding onto the hope that one day, things would get better. That I would be part of the beauty I was beholding instead of just a bystander. I'm proud of the time I was a bystander, actually. I had to survive in order to get where I am now. But I always knew I wouldn't stay there. 



"Survival mode is supposed to be a phase that helps save your life. It is not meant to be how you live." ~Michele Rosenthal 



I'm really glad to be out of survival mode, at least for a while. I'm enjoying the beauty while I see it and recognize my place in it. Even if depression comes my way again and I have to relinquish my grip on living and go back to simply surviving, I'll know that recovery is possible. Beauty is out there. Beauty is in here, in me. And one day, I'll discover where we meet.


Love,
Hannah

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

the unseen battles


These are some beautiful quotes to read when you are depressed, sad or just need a little bit of motivation! Love yourself, read them, raise and shine!:

I have always loved quotes about women who had really difficult struggles in their lives and came out on the other side stronger. Women who were admired because "they wear their pain like stilettos"; women you watch in awe from afar as they fight their dragons single-handedly without tears and without fear. I wanted to be a woman like that - I still do.
Fearless, courageous, and bold.

I've had several opportunities for surviving and fighting through pain and I'll admit, there were some moments I thought, "This is it. This is my moment where I can fight and win and someone will look at me and be inspired to go on."

But as I was in the middle of the fight or even on the edge of winning (by the grace of God alone - but that's a post for a different day), I realized that no one even realized I was waging war. No one looked at my family and realized that we were struggling. No one understood that life was chaos and it was a battle just to get up every morning. No one knew the wars won, wars fought, wars continuing as we spoke. No one was encouraged or inspired by my fight because no one saw.

I didn't blame them - most people go about their daily lives and only the people very close to me even knew the war had existed, much less still existed.

I wasn't angry. I was disappointed. I was sad that my opportunity to "wear my pain like stilettos" wasn't all it was cracked up to be. No one thought I was brave or strong. No one was proud of me for it.

Coming to terms with the fact that some battles are fought in secret has been a challenge for my pride. It's still a challenge sometimes, when I walk around smiling and talking to people and I want them to realize I'm doing it even though my heart is splitting inside my chest.

But they don't have to recognize the fight, failures, or successes in order for my battles to be valid. They are still important. I am still a warrior. I am still a survivor even if no one knows what I've survived.

I am still here.

I am still fighting.

And that is what is important.

Love,
Hannah