[Editor's note: This post is apart of our My Sister's Keeper Project to promote mental he...
[Editor's note: This post is apart of our My Sister's Keeper Project to promote mental health and emotional wellness among Black women.]
I’ve been through the valleys of addiction, self-loathing, guilt and depression. I tried to dress the valley up, adorn it and make it sexy. It was the least I could do. I didn’t have the social boldness to risk making everyone uncomfortable by freely admitting my confusion. I was addicted to being a victim of my circumstances; addicted to being misunderstood and judged. Secretly, believing that whatever I did was not good enough, that people would not like me if I really expressed myself and that I was selfish, lazy and incompetent. Unconsciously creating the same destructive situations in my life by clinging to crippling, naive ideas. Wanting to mean something…to stand for something… but finding nothing but lack and artificial dreams that I’d stolen from others. So much darkness and misdirection behind the closed doors of shame. Nowhere else to go. Swallowed up.
I had tried everything from drugs and alcohol to retail therapy and recklessness, and nothing altered my state of mind enough to ignore the pain. The safe haven of my dogmatic beliefs no longer validated my purpose for being alive. Without inward validation, I had searched for it in the world. And like any self-serving pusher, it gave it to me when it felt like it and took it away when I wanted it too much. Rejected by the world, aka Myself, I fell on my knees, searching for God, and I found truth. Curled up in a ball on the floor, begging for enlightenment, I found unconditional love. I found purpose in my suffering. I found an inner flame that would consume old beliefs and negative thinking to allow a new me to be born.
“It is most often suffering that kindles love,
loss that deepens understanding,
hurt that opens the eyes of the heart
that see forgiveness as a way of life and
peace of mind as our birthright.”
~ Fire in the Soul by Joan Borysenko, Ph.D.