"Today I turned 3"

Exactly 3 years and 2.5 weeks today, I had decided to end my life. I could no longer deal with the noise and pain going on inside my head. I felt completely alone and isolated from everything. I felt I didn't have anyone who understood me. I thought I was crazy and believed that the world would be a better place without me. 

Today is my birthday. I am supposed to be turning 28 years old. However, I choose to look at it as my 3rd birthday. It is the 3rd year that I chose to keep fighting. I chose to put me first. I chose to actively seek help. I chose to reach out. Most importantly, I chose to LIVE again. I am forever grateful for the last one. The people closest to me know, around this time and the weeks leading up to my birthday, I can start to feel "funny" inside my head. 

This year I ended up cancelling my celebrations with my friends (something that I'd normally never do). I don't think it helped that I had been extremely sick with the flu. Last weekend I just couldn't do it. I couldn't force myself to be ok. I had to sit with the feelings and thoughts inside my head. Waiting for them to lift. People often ask me "why do you feel like this around your birthday Stef?". Well, most people have no idea that it was so close to my 25th birthday that I no longer wanted to battle this fight. I no longer wanted to face the reality that my depression and anxiety had got to the point where it was literally unbearable and I felt my only option was suicide. It's a little bit awkward trying to tell this to people. So I go with the "I'm getting old, it's just another day" line. (Those who truly know me. Know this is total shit). I love my birthday but it also reminds me of a very dark time of my life. 

I love the fact that today I have actually turned 3. No one really remembers their earliest birthdays but I can now. Every year that I am able to have my loved ones around me. Is another year that I am reminded, they feel my pain. They may not understand it. But they completely feel it with me. I get to pave the way of my life. My inner ninja gets stronger and stronger. I am able to share my experiences with people and use the most horrific time of life to make a difference in others. 

You can't always see when someone is battling something. Some people are private. Some people don't have the self awareness yet to realise what is happening for them. Some people choose to always wear their masks. I've learnt to be kind to people. It is so important. We never truly know what is going on for someone. I've also learnt that I need to be kind to myself. 

Live, breathe, embrace. 

Stefani

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Tenille Westerhout