A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

#ICHOOSEHOPE

The day I was admitted to hospital my mum put this quote on my wall, right in front of my bed, so whenever I questioned if I could get through the day I was reminded that I could and I would.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

I believe the first step to recovery is acknowledging you have a problem.

I knew there was something wrong with me but until I was admitted to hospital I don’t think I realised just how unwell I had become.

Once I accepted that I was in the best place; once I accepted that recovering was worth the fight, I began to move forward. Slow and steady, forwards and sometimes backwards but I had taken that first step. That single step in the right direction to a life of freedom.

Some days that “single step” meant just getting out of bed,  sometimes it meant calling a friend to chat, sometimes it meant going for a walk down the hospital corridor. No matter how small the step was, it was a step on my journey and on my way to recovery.

I had many days when I was completely overwhelmed, many weeks when I had more days I wanted to give up than days I wanted to continue fighting but that quote inspired me. It reminded me that no matter how small the step may be, as long as I was stepping towards a life of freedom I was on the way to recovery.

Gen.

I CHOOSE HOPE - Be Brave

I have always been obsessed with words. The words we use today are the history, thoughts, actions of everyone that came before us. They’re tools, they win battles, save lives, fix hearts, break them. They’re part of how we came to be here. And, unfortunately, they’re often the first things to leave us when we’re in a rough place.

Mental illness affects everyone differently. Mine was a long game, starting young, not glaringly obvious. It was there in the way I stopped wanting to learn at school, in the way I never finished anything I started, the way I treated my friends, my family and the way I treated myself. There’s a line from a film, ‘The perks of being a wallflower’ the lead says: ‘’We accept the love we think we deserve’’ — I remember hearing these words and realising I didn’t like myself. My anxiety was crippling. And I never talked about it, because it wasn’t ‘cool’ back then to look weak, to admit you were not ok. I’m here to tell you that it is cool, bare with me — I’ll explain why.

I quit everything. As a kid all I’d wanted to do was make stories with great words, write them, play pretend. I wanted to be an actor. But not many people believed in me. I’m not mad - it’s part of the modern day psyche, a sense of fear keeps you in security. I was told ‘no you’re not good enough’ a lot, often. By teachers, drama school, family, strangers at the bus stop. But I did it. I made a choice to love myself enough to believe in myself, to let myself fail without judgement, to not be scared but to be excited at the prospect of getting the chance to try.

So why is it cool to be able to look weak, to be able to admit that you’re not ok? Because that makes you human. Being vulnerable, allowing people to see you, allowing yourself to fail and feel — that is what makes you human, it makes you alive, it makes you incredible.

I never felt valuable, I never thought I had a path and at one point I didn’t feel I had a future here. I was wrong.


To the person reading this, you are not and will never be alone. You are valuable, you have so much light and life to offer this world. Show us. Be brave. You can do this. I promise

Britt. 

#ICHOOSEHOPE

The unheard stories of the mental health ward.

Recently, there has been a lot of negative media and stories coming out of the mental health wards in New Zealand. My heart breaks with every story and for every person failed by the system and I am sorry for every loss due to the increase in demand of those seeking health care. However, while reading and seeing these stories, I have also started seeing people slamming those who work within the system and so I have decided to share my story to show you the side of the mental health wards that is currently not being talked about.

 

Suicide seemed like the only option for me for quite some time and after one of my attempts I remember laying in the ED ward, angry I had failed my attempt and already planning my next that would be sure to work. I remember the psychologist coming into my room and telling me that I was being placed under the mental health act and would be admitted into the mental health ward for a few days until I gained skills to keep myself safe.Little did I know those days would turn into a month. I remember being terrified, I had tried to end my life before but I had never been admitted into the mental health ward so I had no idea what to expect. It was already about midnight and before I knew it I was in a car being escorted to another building next to the hospital with a nurse on either side of me. I walked into the doors and was asked to sit in the foyer while my notes were handed over. A mental health nurse came over to me, and with a very caring tone asked me to take the string out of my hoodie and also the laces off my shoes as I prepared to go through. I took them off and she guided me through these big doors and down a dark corridor into the intensive care unit. As we approached my room I was terrified and in tears, I felt like I was in prison and my room made it look like that. There was writing on the walls above my bed, no windows except the one in my door that the nurses would use to check me every 10 minutes. I was scared, alone and I had no idea what it was going to be like in there. As my nurse came in to check on me after I had finally settled in at about 2am, I heard a man screaming and then a rush of nurses coming past my door into the room next to me as an alarm went off calling nurses from other wards into our unit. This continued over the weekend as I sat isolated in my prison like room with only the nurses to talk to. My entire situation, both inside and outside the hospital told me that I shouldn’t be here, that I should be dead and that’s what I deserved to be. However, while I was in the intensive care unit I met a nurse who changed my entire thinking pattern. She began to sit with me and talk with me, about everything, about life, funny things, her kids and my hopes and dreams. She would go out of her way to ensure I was okay and would often spend time chatting away when she had come to give me my medication. She never once treated me like a mental patient, nor saw me like one, she would constantly challenge me and remind me to dream. She spoke hope into my life and would remind me of my future, she fought for me when I couldn’t fight for myself and she became someone who I will remember to this day as a key reason I was able to fight.

I was eventually transferred into an open ward where I met more incredible nurses. One who saw me distressed late on my first night there and so she sat with me for about an hour as I cried and then over the next month of my admission she was my nurse every single time she was rostered on. She constantly went above and beyond her job description with me, and I will admit that during this time I was probably the hardest person to be around, yet she never once lost her cool when she could have. I watched her with every other patient during my stay, I watched her care so much for every single person’s story and I saw her interact with them even when they were spitting at her or trying to fight others. Within my time I was in the mental health ward I saw people trying to jump out windows, others with blood running down their arms. I saw some having fits, screaming and hitting and then I saw others who went out on leave and never came back - To which I saw the affect it had on each nurse. These nurses are unsung hero’s of our society. We usually only hear when they (The system) has failed, but not the many, many times that those on the frontline with the patients have succeeded. I would go as far to say that the nurses within the mental health ward really did save my life during that period of time. They were always going above and beyond their “Job description” and dealing with things that most of us would find unimaginable. With the lack of funding to the mental health services, they are understaffed and underpaid, yet they continue to work, sometimes double shifts just to ensure the safety of your loved ones. They are some of the most caring people I have ever met and despite being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, they do an incredible job at getting people to recovery. So let’s not forgot the unseen heroes during this mental health epidemic, they are working tirelessly to ensure the safety of their patients and they really are changing lives.

 

It's not Impossible.

When I was a kid, I really thought that I could do anything. My imagination was wild, I would build fairy gardens in the backyard and I would run around pretending to be a horse. I had the innocence of a child, oblivious to all that was about to come. I was watching everything around me and how people responded to different situations and as different things started happening to me my core beliefs started to develop. Reading my Child, Youth and Family files a few years ago, the investigator involved said that I went from being “bubbly and energetic” to “dull and lacking emotion.” When I was 3 years old, my world changed forever - Someone close to me took my innocence and opened the door for others to do the same. Fast forward 9 years, as a 12 year old girl, I sat in a hospital ward after trying to end my life for the very first time. At the age of 16, after a horrific 4 years I moved to Auckland by myself, enrolled myself in high school and attempted to change my life around. My mistake however, was thinking that by moving towns, suddenly everything else was going to be better. That wasn’t the case. My environment was different, but my thought patterns and burdens, exactly the same. The core belief that had sat with me since I was three was still unchanged, the core belief that I was unlovable. The core belief that would later land me attempting to take my life a further 14 times, each one failing - Some by a mile as I cried for help, others miraculously when the determination to end my life was high. One that stands out to me was when I went out into the middle of a forest, where I was certain nobody would ever see me. With 400 pills in my bag I began to take them, with tears streaming down my face I remember looking up and praying “God, please forgive me.. I just want this all to go, I can’t keep burdening anyone anymore. All I do is cause hurt and I can’t keep living like this.” A while later I awoke in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital after being placed in a coma. It turns out that someone had decided to spontaneously bike off track that day and saw me unconscious on the ground. They called the ambulance and I was later told that 20 more minutes unfound, I would have been gone. Looking back, I can see the miracle it is that I am alive, but at the time I remember feeling so angry, hurt, broken and like the pain was never going to stop until I stop breathing. Something that unfortunately too many people resonate with. Here is what I want you to know- The brokenness doesn’t last forever. I struggled for years and found myself in uncountable horrible situations but I survived. However, the core belief that I was unlovable was very slowly but surely broken as a few people walked alongside me, didn’t give up on me despite me looking like a lost cause. I spent time in the mental health ward battling for my life and while at the time I hated it - It was by far the most pivotal moment for me. I realised that I was literally in a life or death situation. That I had been like this for so many years already and it was going to stay the same and eventually I would be buried, OR I could get up and actually fight. A couple that goes to my church came into visit me when I was in the ward and I remember them not only coming in to show they cared/I was not alone (Breaking my core belief) but they also came in with small practical things that I could do to start to fight. They (alongside a couple of others) began to not only encourage me but also very lovingly push me to breaking the strongholds that had been on me since I was a child. I was also very blessed to have someone who had known me throughout the years and was not afraid to give me the tough love I needed. They together showed me not only how to live free, but also teaching me to find the things to put in place so that I could learn to train my own thought patterns. Through continuous love and support, re training my brain how to think and how to respond in a healthy way (A way that my mind didn’t dramatise it a million folds) And by the grace of God I was finally set free. Not only did I finally become free from my years of destructive cycles and suicidal tendencies, but I was given insane opportunities to turn it around and see/make change in order to help those struggling with what I once did. As the Co-Founder of Voices of Hope I have had the incredible opportunity to speak hope to many. In 3 weeks I go on tour, speaking in high schools across NZ/AUS sharing Hope and equipping schools and kids on how to chase their dream no matter what they are up against. I have created content that has been viewed around the world with a message that has brought Hope and just last week (Thanks to my incredible tutors who believed in me and helped me prepare) I became the youngest director to win the Doc Edge pitching competition, meaning that very soon the series that I pitched is getting made. A series that aims to break a stigma that halts teenagers from asking for help. A series that New Zealand has never picked up because of the subject, but now, with all of the discussion around it and my own extensive knowledge in the area, they are entrusting me to direct it and provoke change. But more than all of these things, I have learnt what it is to be loved. I am surrounded by the most incredible people and the core belief that developed as a 3 year old has been smashed. I wake up everyday excited for what is to come and walking out my day with purpose. I say all of this to simply tell you that Hope is Real and Help is available. If you are struggling, I promise you that change is possible if you are willing to fight for it. It may seem impossible (Trust me, I know) but I am living proof that it isn’t. If you know somebody who is struggling at the moment then I encourage you to start to directly target their core belief and show them the opposite to what it tells them. Often for those who are suicidal it is “I’m unlovable” or “I’m a burden” (Not in all cases, but most that I have personally talked to) so I encourage you to continue to remind them that you love them, but more than that - Start to give them practical steps that they can take to help them start to walk free. We can’t expect people to become free if we don’t first teach them HOW to live free. For many who struggle with suicidal thoughts, the thought of knowing you can end your life at any time when it gets too much is one that can be really comforting (Speaking from experience.) So, we have to start to teach them how to live without that, how to baracide their thinking and recognise the thoughts that their minds are manipulating to fit their beliefs. Let’s start to teach those struggling that they are not ‘weak’ or ‘attention seeking’ for asking for help and once they have asked, let’s no longer just say “It will get better” But follow it up with action to see them start to walk in freedom.

 

Change is possible, even in the situations where it feels like it never will. Never give up, it will get better if you choose to fight.


Be a Voice of Hope.

Please Remember

Please remember

To those who have given up on beautiful metaphors and filled thier journals with harsh lines. Maybe anger, spite, regret, or maybe the jagged bold scribble of....I have always been like this.

You see when you allow yourself so much time in the dark, when you let it take over, its like it becomes impossible to remember the light.

It hurts sometimes, in your chest, in your head yet sometimes it doesn’t feel like anything, just empty. Empty is familiar, empty is easy, empty is what you are used to.

Fear steals the breath right out of your lungs,  Fear has become your friend. Fear wants to be your security blanket, to hold your hand, and who doesn’t want to leave.

You forget. You forget that there is another way to live: a lighter, more fulfilling, better way to live. You forget there’s a future that isn’t married to Fear. When you’re in the dark for a long time you can forget.

Sometimes you need a reminder: a spark, a jolt, a hint that the light isn’t unattainable. The light – the way out of the dark, out of the empty, out of the grip of Fear – is yours. You just have to take it.

It’s an uphill battle, this recovery business. Some days you will be convinced that you are going down and not up; Its not a movie montage. It is not falling asleep dead and waking up alive. There is no magic to it. No formula

But there is hope.Hope that there will be better days, too. There will be days you will laugh more than you cry. There will be days a smile creeps up on you and takes you by surprise.

Things that make you feel valued and loved. People and places that make you feel alive

And there is reason for that hope: Its to remind us that there will be better days

So please remember

Take care of yourself.

Do what you need to do to survive the day.

Meet yourself where you’re at.

Be kind to yourself.

And most importantly, fight for the next good day and hold on to the hope that the next good day will be the one that greets you in the morning.

Peace. 

Get up and Fight

I remember having a conversation with my mentor one day where I was so tired of everything and couldn’t see anything getting better. I had struggled with suicidal thoughts for 8 years already and I couldn't see it ever getting better. I remember saying to her “I’m just so tired of fighting” and her response is something that has stuck with me to this day. She said “Jazz, what do you think fighting is? I don’t think you are fighting, you’re surviving.”

It was one of the most pivotal conversations in my life where I had to begin to learn what it was to fight- Because as much as I thought I was fighting, she was right, I was merely surviving. I remember clearly the moment that I made the decision to fight, I was sitting in the mental health ward on intensive suicide watch following an earlier suicide attempt. I looked at everybody around me, where I was and I began to reflect on the last few years of my life. I realized that if I did not start to fight now, I WAS going to be another statistic, and that was my reality. It was life or death and until this moment I had been choosing death.

I am going to tell you some of the practical things that I personally did to fight and how it helped me break free.

Firstly, I educated myself on what it meant to fight… Why? Because my definition was warped from the years I spent thinking I was fighting. Also, because if I was going to fight, I needed to know exactly what that entitles. So here is what I wrote:

Fighting:

  • engage in a war or battle.

  • command, manage, or manoeuvre

  • struggle to overcome, eliminate, or prevent.

  • strive to achieve or do something.

To fight means to ENGAGE in the battle, not sit down and simply survive through it. I am no longer on the defense, but on attack.”

Now that I had a strong idea of what it actually meant to fight, I had to start putting in place the things that would activate the change I had so longed to see. I began to write a list called “HOW will I fight everyday”

If you are struggling, this is something I highly recommend you do. For me, this list including things like:

  • Maintaining honesty with the 3 people closest to me. Honesty is something I had always struggled with as I didn't want people to see how broken I really was. But I had to learn to trust those closest to me and be open with them no matter what.

  • Writing a letter to my suicidal self- Stating all the things that I have already got through and also saying all of the things I know I need to do if I start to feel suicidal again. This was things like “Don’t play sad music, you know that makes it worse!” and “Call one of the 3 people you trust, I know that right now you don’t want to because you think you are a burden or they will judge you- But where is your evidence for that? That have been there the whole time and haven't left you yet.. CALL THEM”

  • Writing down my core beliefs and thoughts that were toxic (Eg, I am a burden, I am unlovable etc) and next to them, writing down everything that contradicts those thoughts. I would take texts I had been sent saying “Proud of you” or “love you” etc and would write them ALL down so I could begin to undo that thinking. (I am also a christian so I wrote down everything that bible said that contradicted my self hating thoughts)

  • I began to dream- Thinking, if I could do anything at all without my current baggage, what would it be? I would write it down- Getting your brain thinking about the potential of the future was key for me.

One of the biggest things I learnt through all of this and my time in the mental health ward was that in order for me to be set free, I needed to first learn how to live free. Libby Huirua’s book “Journey” was a key part in that process for me personally. In one chapter she talks about barricading your thinking- Something that seems so simple but is one of the biggest things suicidal people struggle with. And example of this for me was when I was having coffee with a friend- Someone of importance in my life was also in the coffee shop catching up with a friend and as they walked out, the friend turned around and said hi to me, but the other person didn’t. The friend that I was sitting with looked at me and said “Jazz, what just went through your mind?” I replied with “Nothing? What are you talking about?” And she said “Your entire face just changed… What happened?” I realized in that moment that my mind had looked at something as simple as her not saying hi to me and twisted it to say “See, she doesn't care about me..She hates me.” This may seem extreme, but when you are in a constant thought pattern like I was, your brain will twist ANYTHING to try and justify your core beliefs. With my core belief being I was unlovable, I would look for anything to confirm that thinking. Learning how to recognize that and then going back to my previous step of writing down thing that contradicts your thinking was key in my freedom.

If you are struggling with suicidal tendencies then I want you to know 3 things.

The first is that you are not fighting not for hope, but with hope. I say with hope, because hope never disappears, circumstances can just blind us from seeing it. So it is important for us to remember that we have the ability to fight hand in hand with Hope- Even if our situations tell us hope is non existent.

The second is that it is not about battling your past, but fighting for your future. This was key for me because we can spend so much time focusing on battling all of our demons in the past when we should be looking ahead and fighting for our future. Your past is in the past, and while it is oh so important to work through that, we cannot spend our entire lives looking backwards and trying to fight what it already done. Instead, we can fight for what is to come- A future that speaks hope.

The third is that we can think about making change, talk about and dream about it- But nothing is going to change unless we actively take the steps to make change. When we choose to fight, change happens.

When I was looking back on my journals as I was writing this blog, I realized that all of the things I wrote about my dreams for the future- They have all happened and I am currently living in it. Something I would have never thought possible; written within the four walls of my ICU room in the mental health ward…

If you know someone going through this, please, stand by them. I had 3 people who stuck by my side even though at times I looked like a lost cause and in the end, it was their relationship that broke my core beliefs and allowed to to learn to live free.

Hope is Real and Help is Available.

You got this.

Jazz Thornton

You can not be replaced

Our latest VOH video is about Real suicide notes written by Real people -people who once thought there was no end to their dark tunnel and attempted to take their own lives. However, each one is living proof that there is always hope. These are their stories—We asked them to tell us how recognizing their own irreplaceable qualities gave them the hope and courage to keep going. These are people of varying ages, backgrounds, and life experiences, each one possessing traits, dreams, and experiences all their own—and each one buoyed and empowered by the recognition of their unique worth.

When people see the words “suicide prevention,” it’s my hope that they don’t just see the words, they feel the stories. It’s my hope that we recognize for a second that suicide isn’t just about statistics or something medical; it’s about pain, and it’s about people.

Because we are all just people, and as such, we deal with pain. We deal with problems. And in order to move through our pain, problems, and the difficult seasons in our lives, we need support. We need community. We need love. We need other people. While we spend most of our lives in a race trying to separate from one another, in the end, it’s the sense of coming together that really matters most. That’s what has meaning.

As I ask you to consider the stories of the lives lost to suicide, I also ask you to consider your own story. Maybe you are feeling stuck in the middle of it. Maybe there is a lot of pain. Maybe life is really difficult right now.

Whatever your situation is, I encourage you to watch this video not just for information but watch it as an invitation to be honest. To get open. To look inside and ask a question we tend to avoid asking: “Am I OK?”

Just put it out there—to yourself, to someone you love—and welcome an honest answer.

This is an invitation to go beyond the words of “suicide prevention.” Feel the humanity and the heaviness of it. Recognize the significance of the stories stopped short by suicide. Consider just how significant you and every one of us are. And then, take a moment to hold onto four words—first in your head, and then forever in your heart: You.Cannot.Be.Replaced.

To You

I hope you know you’re not the only one who feels the way you feel. You are not the only one who struggles. You are not the only one with questions. You are not crazy. You deserve to be heard, to be known. You deserve love.

You deserve love.

You deserve a place that feels like home. You deserve some hands to hold. Hands to pull you past the broken moments, hands to catch you when you fall. Eyes to see you. To say you’re there, that you exist, that you light up a room , that your presence is significant. Ears to hear you – hear your stories, hear you laugh. Ears to hear your questions and to say they matter.

Your questions matter.

Maybe call a friend today or invite someone to coffee. Tell someone they matter or tell someone you could use a chat. Write a letter or ask someone how they’re doing. Like a song too much, please, post that selfie if it means we can find something beautiful in the ruin. Go to a store and try on something that you cannot afford right now, but treat yourself to the idea of embracing what seems impossible. It means that you’re alive.

It’s good that you’re alive. Who else could play your part?

I hope you get to a place, wake to a day, where that feels true,where that is true.

You deserve to know it’s true.

Voices of Hope is a community of people with questions and struggles. It is for broken people and it is led by broken people. Life is heavy and light. Life is both. Beauty and pain, aches and dreams… We are saying that it’s okay to talk about those things. We are saying that we need to. We are choosing to believe that stories deserve better endings,choosing to believe that better endings do exist.That hope is real, that help is real, that people need other people.

You are not alone today. You matter very much.

Peace to you.
 

 

We are stories ongoing

I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sit down with many people. The things they talked to me about varied greatly; but one thing was consistent: when talking about painful moments in thier lives this part of their story either preceded or followed by “I haven’t told anyone this before” or “I don’t really talk about this with very many people.” It surprised me how honest these people where with someone they had only just met, every single one of them expressed some form of relief at the end of our conversations, too. Several of them felt empowered to share their stories with someone else they trust. It made me realize an important truth that comes with sharing stories: The more you share them, the easier it gets. For some, that happens fairly quickly; for others, it is a gradual process.

But at the end of the day, one thing was clear to me: Sharing our stories is an important part of healing that often gets overshadowed by our fear, our shame, or our pain. Yes you may have a story to tell but you are not that story. You are not your secrets. You were made to live beautiful and free. 

So often we end up feeling like we’re going through life unheard. When we don’t feel our voices are heard, we don’t feel like our stories have value. And when we deny the value of our story, we stop fighting to make it heard. Brene Brown puts it this way when she says, “When we deny our stories, they define us" When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.

This is true for every single one of us.
Each of us are more than our mistakes, failures and faults.
Each of us are more than the abuse we have endured, the shame we have lived under, the addiction we have battled, the sadness we have felt, the challenges we have faced, the guilt we have felt, the sickness we have been diagnosed with, the wrong we have done and the brokenness of who we are.
Each of us have worth, value and a future.
Each of our lives are composed of more than a single, one-dimensional story of our failures and pain.

Your story matters. Your voice matters. Find the people who will listen to you. The people that will stay for you. Remember that you are not alone. We're all in this together. It's okay to be honest. It's okay to ask for help. It's okay to say you're stuck, We can all relate to those things. Fight the the stigma that says otherwise. Break the silence and break the cycle, for you are more than just your pain. We are stories ongoing

Come as you are

You are enough, just as you are.
I used to tell people who were struggling that I was proud of them for simply getting themselves out of bed in the morning, but now I realise that even that puts an expectation on somebody to do something that they may not have the energy for. So now I say, I’m proud of you for continuing to be. Even when your world feels like it’s caving in, even if your heart feels like it’s shattered into a million tiny pieces and picking it up takes more strength than you seem to possess, I’m proud of you. I’m proud of you for allowing yourself to feel, to feel the oceans upon oceans of pain or sadness, panic, confusion, anxiety, trauma. I’m proud that you got out of bed this morning - or that you didn’t.

Come with your baggage and your fear, your addictions and your brokenness, you are acceptable and accepted exactly as you are in this moment.
With no expectations or agendas, you are accepted even if you never find the strength to heal or to change. You are accepted as a human being, with inherent worth and value that transcends anything you do or do not do. That is not the measure of your value.
You are accepted as fully and completely in your darkest as you are in your glorious, blinding light.
You are worthy of love and belonging if panic or trauma keep you isolated from being in the world, just as much as any other human being who goes through life without your struggles.
You have a beating heart and blood pulsing through your veins, you have air in your lungs. These things are beautiful and they are good. They will sustain you even if you cannot sustain yourself.
So go ahead and shatter, cry, scream, feel, let your walls fall down. Take all the time you need, and when you’re ready to rebuild; rebuild.
And there is a gathering of energy, nature and humanity are rooting for you, exclaiming your wholeness, beauty and worth from the hilltops, with every roll of the ocean and every rattle of your lungs, we are rooting for you.

You are not a burden

You are not a burden. You are not too much to handle. You do not come with too much baggage. You are not only your 1 AM mind, your sleepless nights, your doubt, your fears, or your mistakes. Imagine the best parts of yourself, your favorite part even. Find the things that you love most about yourself. Imagine yourself on your best day.

Because that’s also who you are. We’re not defined by the worst things that stir within us, but by the best things that we have grown.  Recovery is a journey, and some days it’s hard to accept the things that we live with every day.On our worst days it is easy to be consumed by these feelings of loneliness and failure,instead of believing that I am a valued and significant person who just happens to struggle with mental illness, I begin to believe that I am my illness.

But every day you must remind yourself that you are not.

You are not your depression.
You are not your anxiety.
You are not these days of darkness.
You are not a lost cause.

Because each day can be be different.You can decide that you have had enough of waking up feeling isolated and afraid. You can decide to feel alive,to embrace the fact that you are living and breathing. 

So say to yourself “I am beautiful. I am loved. I am enough.” Focus on this. Because Light triumphs over Darkness . Love overcomes Fear.

“You are beautiful.”
Even when you don’t feel good enough. Even when you don’t fit the mould. Even when other people don’t tell you this.

“You are loved.”
Even when you’re alone. Even when everyone else seems to have someone and you don’t. Even when you don’t feel capable of being loved.

“You are enough.”
Even when you’ve done nothing in the day except hide under the covers. Even when you relapse. Even when you forget why you started.

Here’s to more good mornings than bad.