My Secret

“Smile!” Snap. It is as though my life is on a constant boomerang of rehearsed laughter that seems almost candid. If you have ever met me I am quite possibly one of the most enthusiastic people you will ever meet –often mistaken as a quirky social butterfly. My best friends will tell you that I have a way of making everything positive, trying to spin each story into some kind of Disney blockbuster. My suitemates will tell you I am the very definition of work hard, play hard. Except maybe my roommate. She’s seen a glimpse of what it can look like: me behind the scenes.

It is mental health awareness week (October 1st – 7th), a specific time frame we set aside to tell people, “Hey usually we tell you to toughen up and move on, but today you can try to open that Pandora’s Box.” Well here is my attempt to unlocking my biggest secret. The summer before my 18th birthday I attempted to commit suicide. Though I may have been a theatre kid in high school, this was by no means practiced nor all that dramatic.

Divorces happen all the time and clearly they are rarely celebrated events. While I may have seen it coming since I was 8 years old, it did not hurt any less to know that everything hinged on my turning of 18 years. The split, the home, what is left of any white picket fence memories –all of it comes to an end. My very last attempt at holding everything and everyone together rested on one phone call. I shall spare you the details, but imagine this. We spend our whole lives thinking that the monster is under the bed or in the closet. The last place we expect to find the monster is in our very own childhood hero; the one that tucks you into bed at night, the one who lets you step on his toes as he waltzes around the room, the one who you thought would one day walk you down the aisle.

I know you have heard it a million times. “It gets better.” But I cannot be sure. Now that one monster has been revealed, I constantly cast doubts on those around me. Honestly, it has been a rough few years since then and I cannot promise it will get better, but I can promise you it will be different because this time we will be prepared. This time, despite breaking down and lying awake for days on end and despite wanting to shut out the rest of the world –despite all that, believe me, we have become stronger and we will change. We will change and one day, even if it is not today or this month or this year –it can get better, but it depends on us.

“Tragedy blows through your life like a tornado, uprooting everything. Creating chaos. You wait for the dust to settle and then you choose. You can live in the wreckage and pretend it's still the mansion you remember. Or you can crawl from the rubble and slowly rebuild.” –Veronica Mars