I’ve Made It This Far.

Trigger warning: This post contains mention of suicide ideation.

I was sitting on my bed on one of my first days in Ireland, half-numb with jet lag, scrolling through Facebook on my phone, when I saw the post. One of the mental health-related pages I follow had uploaded a photo… that I can’t seem to find now, but it said “you’ve made it this far” on a pastel background.

Any other time, I might have dismissed that message relatively easily. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate encouragement and need as much as I can get. It’s just that normally, I see things like that and they float out of my mind as easily as they came in.

This reminder was different, though. Although I came across it more than two months ago, I still think about it.

Because shortly thereafter, I put down my phone and wandered into the kitchen to make myself lunch. As I stared out the window at the houses on the quiet suburban street next to the University College Dublin campus, I thought about how far I’d come both physically and mentally.

Not only had I traveled some 3,600 miles to be where I standing right now, but I had gone on quite the mental health journey to get there. I haven’t talked about it much here, but I tried to kill myself in 2013 and have come very very close a number of other times. I’m in a much better frame of mind now, but things were BAD for a while. I couldn’t see a way out.

Things have changed since then. My mind is still… difficult, but I’m getting better. I can see a way out now, at least most of the time – and when I can’t, I try my best to remind myself to look for one. I’m crawling out of the hole that I didn’t dig for myself, but that mental illness dug for me.

Standing there in that kitchen, hungry and sleepy, I still felt proud of myself. And I felt grateful to my past self for being so strong, for holding on and holding out even when I thought I couldn’t.

This wasn’t taken on the day I’ve written about here, but it is from one of my best mental health days in Ireland! A beautiful day and a happy mind.

In that moment, I felt so happy to be staring at an ordinary, even nondescript street because of what it represented.

I wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t made myself turn in all the required essays and forms to apply for the Irish Writing Program even though just getting out of bed seemed overwhelming some days.

I wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t made it through high school and into college despite wanting to stop existing.

Most importantly, I wouldn’t be there if I’d killed myself four years ago.

I suppose I could have had that moment anywhere: In bed, on the way to class, sitting in St. Stephen’s Green, you name it. Perhaps I’m lucky that my sudden rush of gratitude for simply being alive didn’t happen somewhere more embarrassing, like in the tiny bathroom attached to my dorm room.

At any rate, throughout the trip I’d step into the kitchen and feel the same way. Maybe not as strongly as I had the first time, but every time I saw those quiet little houses and the people who lived there, I was reminded that I could never have made it this far physically if I hadn’t made it this far mentally first.

About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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13 Responses to I’ve Made It This Far.

  1. Shanti says:

    Thank you for sharing. I have relatively stable mental health, though I’m quite anxious, but your posts are so brave and really enable compassion. I’m very glad you’ve made it this far. ā¤

    • nevillegirl says:

      No, thank you! Ahhhh I’m glad you enjoyed my posts, it’s so weird to hear that people think I’m brave bc idk I just feel like I’m being ordinary and doing my thing idkkkk

      • Shanti says:

        Oh, I get that! Some people think I’m really adventurous because I go hiking with my family or I’m exotic because I’m biracial and that’s just my normal, though it’s not really comparable.

  2. ellenmrozek says:

    For what it’s worth, I’m glad you’re still here and I’m incredibly impressed by your willingness to discuss your mental health so openly. I still struggle with that myself.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Thank you so much, it means more than you know. ā¤ I figure that I would've really appreciated more openness about mental health a few years ago, so now I try to be that person for others. Plus, writing about this topic helps me to figure out my thoughts and feelings.

  3. It’s so good to hear that you’re in a better place now. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. It’s so important for us to be open about mental health. Just want to let you know, I’m glad that you’re a part of this community *heart emoji here because I’m on my computer and can’t add one*

  4. CleannaMay says:

    YEEEEE thank you so much for sharing this. I had a moment like this in Ireland due to quite similar circumstances, so yay for improving mental health and yay for being alive and very hip and alive!

    • nevillegirl says:

      CLEANNAAAA I’VE MISSED YOU! Thank you for commenting, it means a lot. ā¤ I'm glad you had a similar moment too! I hope we can meet up again someday. šŸ™‚

  5. Heather says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. šŸ™‚ You’re amazing.

  6. Pingback: Quarterly Rewind, Summer 2017 | Study Abroad, “Jenny,” & Reconnecting With Old Friends | Musings From Neville's Navel

  7. Pingback: 2017 In Review | Musings From Neville's Navel

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