Most days I don’t really think about all the things my friends and I went through in middle & high school. Call that a sign of recovery. But every now and then I revisit those things, and every time I do, I am reminded how many miracles I saw in those times, dark though they were. We were all so unstable, so fragile, so easily torn open. We were scared, scarred, beaten down and beating ourselves up because of it. But we survived it.
I once was friends with an anorexic girl who weighed 70 pounds and was given a week to live. She survived, went through years of treatment, and today she’s alive, progressing, and doing better.
Another friend cut herself every single day for two years. She went to therapy and now she’s two years clean instead, in college, doing better.
Another tried to kill himself after trying unsuccessfully to drown out his self-hate with a razor blade. A year later he went to an ivy league school and has an apartment in New York City with a job and a future.
Another spent months in and out of the psych ward trying to heal, bipolar, bulimic, cutting, and generally a disaster. She moved away from her abusive family, met a boy who loves her, and is now one year away from her college graduation.
Another whose mother emotionally abused him to the point that he dealt with suicide and self harm for years. Then he ran away, found people who gave him true, loving community, and two weeks ago he just married a girl he’s been in love with since high school.
Another who was called fat as a child and then years later still couldn’t eat with panicking. She saw a therapist, found better coping mechanisms, and now works with kids, giving them a better example of how to live.
Another was haunted by past abuse. Then one day she spoke up. Asked for help. Found people who helped her understand what happened wasn’t her fault. She got married two months ago and now works with abuse victims.
Another was trying not to hate himself for being gay. Who tried to bleed out his homosexuality via veins in his thighs until eventually deciding he’d rather be alive and gay than straight and dead. I agree.
Another whose boyfriend attacked her. Who thought she couldn’t leave because he also held her when she was bleeding. Until she realized love is never abuse, and walked away. She’s getting married next year to a guy who treats her like gold.
Another who felt God could never love a lesbian and tried to take her own life because of it. A few months ago she decided God cares more about whether she feeds the hungry and cares for the broken, than the gender of the person she feels affection for.
And me? I thought I could find relief in self-harm for years. I’d been burned by so many people so many times I didn’t see much of a point to life anymore. But time, love and grace can heal a lot of things and now I’m studying biology and psychology and one day I’m going to be a social worker.
Let our stories be a reminder: the difference between pain and healing is time. Life takes time. And if you feel trapped in something, give it time. Everything has an end. You will get through this and you’ll find better community and you’ll do something amazing with your life and have an amazing story to tell for it too.
You need to hang on tonight. If you’re looking for a sign, this is it: time heals all wounds. I promise.