The Young Woman and The Sea — A True Mental Health Story
What do you think of when you look at this photo of a bench by a body of water? How does it make you feel? It makes me take a deep breath. Relax. Reminisce.
There was a time when I thought of disappearing into the sea. It was in Palm Beach, Florida. I was drawn to the water as others ran for cover under the threat of an approaching hurricane. The pull was strong but gentle — an undercurrent dancing me away from the safety of the shore. The chaos of my life flooded my mind. My relationship was a shipwreck, my finances were buried with no treasure map, my career made me feel like a pirate pillaging my soul. I hadn’t handled any of it well. I was binging, purging, and packing on the pounds. I felt alone. Invisible. I was suffocating like a fish on the sand. The more I focused on my misery, the further the water carried me. Hope for a brighter tomorrow was fading. The ocean and escaping my worries were inviting.
As I looked towards the deeper water, I saw sun rays streaming through the storm clouds. It was majestic. That tiny action broke the trance. Thankfully, I snapped out of it before I did anything drastic.
That experience makes me think about those who can’t snap out of it, for those that dark thoughts and moments of despair don’t just pass by like storm clouds. Instead, the sadness lingers for days, weeks, months. What do you do?
Prayer? Meditation? Medication? Affirmations? Gratitude? Exercise? Hydration? Motivation? Music? Fresh fruit? Sleep?
I used all these methods and more to lift my spirits and get out of my own way. At first, it was comical. I laughed at Louise Hay’s suggestion of looking at myself in a mirror and saying, “You are enough” or “I love you unconditionally.”
Sometimes the insecurity and lack of self-worth made me silently cry in pity and shame. I knew it stemmed from unresolved childhood trauma, but I kept thinking that I was a young woman now. I had to figure out how to regulate my emotions because my kids needed me. I couldn’t keep wallowing in misery.
“Suck it up, Buttercup” became my motto. I swallowed whatever pain I was going…