This post has been sat in my drafts folder waiting for another editor of another blog to hit publish. Today is the day. Not sure if my birthday is the day I would have chosen, but I trust in God’s timing.
I want to tell you about an exciting writing opportunity that’s happened recently. But to do it justice we need to rewind my story three and a half years. Lets go back to my first year of university, at 19 years old. Back to my room in my University Halls, to one of many long nights on the internet, desperately searching for hope. We must go back to a time where the world looked so dark, the future devoid of hope. Back to a girl who felt lost and alone, struggling to come to terms with a depression that was stealing her joy.
It was this girl, at this time, who read these words:
” You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story”
~Jamie Tworkowski, TWLOHA Founder
By chance I had stumbled across the American charity ‘To Write Love on Her Arms’ (read more here), whose mission is to help those struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. Those words spoke to me. They whispered hope back into my life at a time when it was hard to hold on to. They were thirteen important words on the journey towards acceptance and healing.
Words have power, whether we realise it or not. We can use them to build up or to tear down. We can speak encouragement or insult. Words can bring comfort and community, or hurt and loneliness. They can bring hope or spread despair.
That night, three and a half years ago, I began to appreciate the power of words. It was then I decided that my story was going to be one of hope. That in sharing that story I may be able to one day bring hope to others. Today I hope is one of those days.
A few months ago, TWLOHA, the charity that inspired me those years ago, invited people to send in guest submissions for their blog. Thinking it would come to nothing, I sent them a piece about hope and depression. About the power of hope’s whisper. Today is the day that post has been published, and shared with all their followers and supporters. Today is a chance for my words to spread hope, to those who find themselves in the same darkness I’ve journeyed through.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. These words could cost me. They could be met with misunderstanding, with judgement and rejection. Maybe some of you will look at me differently.
But I believe in a future where people understand the brain can get sick the same way the body does. A future where those with mental illness are not made to feel ashamed and embarrassed. I believe that God’s heart is aching for the church to show these people love and acceptance. I believe in the simple power of sharing a story.
I am not the same girl I was three and a half years ago. The years have shaped and strengthened me into who I am today. I write now from a brighter place, a place of health and happiness. My story will continue. But I write for those people today who feel like they have reached the end of their own story. For those who feel lost and alone. I share these words with the prayer they can bring hope.
This post is for all those who have walked with me on my journey so far. For all those who have whispered hope back into my life, on those darker days. I will forever be grateful to you. These words are for those of you who encouraged me to keep writing, who reminded me I have a story to share. This is just a chapter of mine, but I offer it to you with hope.
“Truth isn’t measured in the volume of the voice. Sometimes the most precious truths can be found in those persistent whispers, in those words that pull us back from the edge, and in those words that ground us and keep us going.”