MHAM Post #13: Lydia

I remember going into my freshman year of college and feeling so passionately that a sorority would never be the right place for me. I just couldn’t help but feel that it was almost, in a way, a cop out, or the “easy way out” when it came to making friends. It seemed like, if you had pay to be in the group, there’s just no way the friendships you’d make could be genuine.

I know I sound beyond cliche, but I cannot put into words how wrong those preconceived notions were. Being in my sorority taught me so much about trust and compassion and sincere acceptance. I honestly have never felt like I belonged anywhere more. It is, without a doubt, the reason I have a lot of the amazing friends I do. 

From an outsider looking in, you probably don’t realize it, but a good deal of the people that have been willing to open themselves up for the sake of this blog over the past month have been friends that I made through my sorority. 

Being in a big sorority has it flaws though. It’s just impossible to truly get to know every single member on an intimate level in the short few years you have together. 

Lydia, the writer of this piece, is someone I genuinely wish I had had the opportunity to get to know better before I graduated. The great thing though, is that college friendships don’t need to be contained to college. I’m lucky that I am still able to get to know Lydia now, even years after graduating. 

Earlier this year, she wrote an amazing, gut-wrenching piece about depression, suicide, and coping with the pain. Her words were just so powerful that, when I came up with this month’s blog idea, asking her to share something was a no-brainer.

I’ve never told her this, but I have so much respect for Lydia. She has taught me to always remember that you never know what someone else is going through or coping with. 

Needless to say, I’m extremely happy to share her words here: 

I am here but not there.
I have found myself yet I am still searching.
Standing at the top, my eyes stare forward,
trembling to look down before I let myself plunge.
Falling beneath the black, deeper into a hole
that may never close.
The ditch is stable but its width fluctuates –
I can still fit.
I imagine a day where I outgrow the hole but maybe I don’t want to.
Maybe the depth of its darkness is a place to hide.
I dig with weary hands and brittle bones until
the dirt consumes me.
Until my heartbeat stalls and my breath screams into the empty air.
Until I realize the only way out is to climb back up without searching
for a short-cut.
The hole has found its place in my chest, my eyes, and my brain.
I will fill the hollow dwellings with my own light.

I walked into my bedroom at home last week with a new pillow added by my mother that read: “joy is in the journey”. I did not think much of the cliché until I walked into an office the next day, where the same exact pillow sat on the couch. A center where I finally accepted treatment for an eating disorder – the very hole that has welcomed depression and anxiety into its darkness. I dug into the depth of the void and I found emptiness. My mind’s control is consuming and I cannot fix this on my own.

I constantly find signs where there may be no significance at all, but nonetheless, a simple pillow ignited a decision. “I need help” came in a soft and quivering voice, but I’ve never felt so strong. I am ready to breathe freely, to dismiss the overwhelming voices, to change my learned behaviors, to start living. Recovery will be a process and there is no satisfactory result. The journey itself holds purpose and the timeline to rebuild is continuous. A hole can leak and crack, maybe re-open, but closure does not determine progression.

Whatever the hole may be for you, if your mind had the power to form the hollow dwellings, you also have the strength to fill them – but you do not need to know how to do so on your own. There is no manual to healing, no concrete image of a fixed hole to follow as you read the instructions. Making the effort to begin is greater than the endpoint. No matter your pace, purely start; rid yourself of the pressure to reach your sense of perfection. Put down the guide and stop planning for success – if the “joy is in the journey”, then you’re already there.

Read Lydia’s other piece here: