From the moment that breath entered our nostrils, we began a journey composed of searching. The weight of life bears this one incredible responsibility: Find your identity. You only get one shot. There is only one crack. Don’t waste it.
Far too many have made that mistake.
Childhood dreams turned into teenage angst which then turned into the reality of your surroundings. All the while, on this search for our true identity, the world around us beckoned and cried for our attention. It grabbed at our ideologies; presented itself in a manner that likened itself unto our eyes.
“Be this and you’ll be happy.”
“Try this and you’ll be valuable.”
Did many of us see the triviality in these lies? Unfortunately, no. We have too often fallen prey to the wiles of our culture; desperate to find some peace of mind.
Some found it in religion. Others found it in appearance. There are those who sought their inner selves through nature. To be honest, it’s a laundry list of roads but which should we travel?
Our lives became a longing for something greater. If you talk to the rich, what do they say? Do they say that this is all that there is? If they’re honest, most would opt to hope for something more. It is a sad truth to know that many of us, if not all, at one point in time, waste away searching for empty vessels of value.
In the midst of our wanderings, we began to pretend. We built up walls of defense to shade us from the disappointment. These walls adorned themselves in a masterful facade. From the outside, it was beautiful but the internal wreaked of heartbreak. No one knew the difference. No one asked. Why would they? They, too, crafted wonderful facades. What a beautifully broken world.
We sheltered ourselves within the safety of our false pretense. It was cold outside so we opted to remain sheltered within ourselves. Some of us couldn’t survive the winter. Our brothers and sisters fell. We mourned their loss and snuck deeper into the crevasses of our souls. We couldn’t handle the reality of our circumstances.
One day, though, after all that we had experienced, we heard a faint knocking on our wall. At first, it was soft but as time progressed, the volume of these echoes reached our ears. Someone was at the door.
One by one, we opened our eyes and peered into the darkness. There, at a distance, was a form beckoning us outside. There were those who were brave and ran to the stranger. Some were apprehensive. It began calling in the distance. This voice was not like the others, though. It was not full of lies.
“We’re all struggling.”
“You aren’t identified by your pain.”
“It’s the journey, not the destination.”
These words, to a broken heart, were enough to move mountains. We willingly followed and our journeys began again.
It should be noted that, yes, we are all struggling. We are all attempting to find our identities in this world. Simply because there are those of us meandering through the light does not mean that we have escaped the clutches of our pain. It’s not about the what, but rather, who we find along the way. With that, we press on.
Those suffering from any kind of mental disorder are normal individuals. We are not identified by our pain, our panic attacks, or our “episodes.” We are all searching for the hope that seems to escape our grasps. Regardless, we know that it is out there. We will find it. In the meantime, we journey. While we wait, we move forward.
While we move forward, we tear down facades. We are tired of the pretend. We are tired of the silence. We press forward in hope of removing the blinders and allowing the world to see us for who we are. Human.
We have questions. We have pain. We search for the truth and, in turn, are honest. We are the voices crying out in the wilderness. Hear us cry out for love, acceptance, and understanding. These are the voices of the voiceless. Are you listening?
My incredible hope is that, for those reading, you see and feel the love emanating from these words. Confessions is a refuge. Come here and find rest. Speak your heart. Speak your mind. We will journey with you. We are family.
As you have probably seen, yesterday I announced that our shift at Confessions was shifting. We are becoming more focused on the telling of your story. We believe that there is incredible value in the life that you have lived and the lessons that you have learned. In an effort to defeat the stigma of mental illness and the risk of suicide, we need you to speak up. Those suffering need you to be their voice.
This is your formal introduction to our “Finding Who We Are” series. These entries are your chance to share your story and have a chance to be a light and hope to someone who may be suffering like you. How do you get involved? It’s easy.
Comment below with an indication of your interest or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We already have had multiple people sign up and we need more. We have to reach those who are still hiding within themselves. Will you be willing enough to be the voice crying out in the darkness?
After all, aren’t we all in the process of finding who we are?
Our first entry comes on November 2, 2016 from Leslie at Normal Is Out There.