One cannot talk about the light without mentioning the dark, one cannot talk about who they are without mentioning their past. I want to talk about my darkest moment, where I got to a place I never thought I would get, because it is important. It is important to share our positive and negative experiences with the world.

My darkest moment came not long ago actually. I was experiencing a mixed episode, something I had not experienced for years. I was cycling from very low, unable to get out of bed to manic and excessively self-destructive. I reached a place I had never reached before; during this time, I self-harmed for the first time. It is not something I am proud of, but it happened.  I reached out to my work to request time off, concerned that I would again be hospitalized. My work was wonderful they gave me the time off and started the paperwork for Short Term Disability. I had to find a way to come back from the darkness, but I was lost. I have been passively suicidal since I was 8. I experience passive suicidal thoughts nearly every day, but this was an area I had never ventured into before; these were active concerns. I started to stay away from home where there were risks for me, I avoided trains, bridges, and major highways. I knew that I needed assistance but I struggled to find it, I could not afford PHP and hospitals did not want to admit me. I struggled and I struggled HARD.

However, this is not a sad story it is a recovery story. Recovery happened thanks to my team. My team of professionals, yes, my therapist and psychiatrist were instrumental, however, the real unsung hero here are my friends who came together to make sure I did not spend a night alone. My friends who continue to check on me, who reach out to me during the night and continue to reach out in the light. They brought me food when I could not get out of the bed, they sat with me while I started into oblivion and did not make a fuss over it, they listened when I could not stop talking, they redirected my energy from destruction tasks to safe tasks, and they never stopped. My mother who I would call crying about wanting to be “normal” and who reassured that all would be okay that I had a mental illness no different from a physical illness. I recovered, I am back at work, I am back walking home every night and I am back to being me.

I recovered, thanks to my team. My team is diverse and spread across the country and across multi-roles in my life. My life is a rollercoaster and I have learned to accept the dips and the climbs as part of the ride, and I am glad that I am on this ride with my team.