Words by Anjelica, 20 NSW
This article contains themes of anxiety, depression and mental health which may be difficult to read or triggering to some readers. Readers in need can seek support from the following services or visit our Creating a Safe Space page to see a full list of support services.
Resilience and bravery aren’t always what you picture them to be. They aren’t always the hero battling the evil monster, coming out scratched but not scared.
Resilience is getting out of bed, taking a shower, seeing a friend.
Bravery is learning how to do everything, once everything has become a daily battle.
I was faced with many battles; agoraphobia, panic disorder, depression, deluded thoughts and generalised anxiety, to name a few.
I knew that to face these, I needed to find the strength deep within myself, a love that would outlive the challenging moments, a power we all possess. My breath became my greatest strength, using my voice as a resource, becoming present. These are what helped build my resilience, the reason I continue to seek wellness.
One day I found myself trapped in a rainstorm, flooded by my depression and anxiety. I was curled up in a ball on my floor, rocking back and forth, trying desperately to breathe.
A beam of golden light shone through the window fragmenting an utterly grey sky. As cliché as that sounds, I felt special, to have received a break in the seemingly all-consuming darkness—the gift of a golden moment.
I have fallen into many great despairs in my short life, ones that have almost sucked the will to live entirely out of me, but I’m grateful to have pushed through. It’s not by chance either; I learnt to wait for that golden moment, it’s always different, but it always comes.
It was the first time I was happy in almost a year; there was a break in the grey clouds. I remember noticing how warm the sun was – reminding me of how music used to feel – it brought me to tears.
My trauma isn’t what defines me anymore.
Building resilience for the things you cannot change opens the doors you may have missed. Sunsets, birthdays, love…to see myself finally happy are a few of the things I would have missed. I cannot list them all as there are too many, but I can say with certainty, that my most remarkable experiences have happened because I was simply there.
You wear resilience as your invisible armour, and you have the power to protect yourself.
You are your greatest ally, your first and final love. Being strong isn’t defined by your battles. Kindness isn’t a synonymous with weakness. Bravery is to love yourself first.
You will be scared, you will get hurt, but your golden moments are coming.
I believed I didn’t deserve happiness, and as a result, I was miserable. Slowly, and through a lot of therapy, I understood that the world is hard enough, without us being harder on ourselves.
I used to float through life, holding on to anything that would bring me back to who I was, but I realised by doing that I suffered. Who I am now, who I continue to strive to be, is far removed from that – she is a golden light.
You, reader, I have so much love for you. I will hold hope for you every single day until you feel your own resilience. Our lives are a series of mistakes, opportunities and chance circumstances. You are a product of millions of stars’ matter, take a moment to marvel at yourself.
After you decide that you have the power to overcome your darkest hours, those dark hours lose the ability to define your existence. Each rainstorm you pass through, each fear you breathe with, you give yourself more reasons to fight, love, and empower others. One day you will look back at your life, shining like a beam of light, and you may witness a rainstorm shadow hanging over someone. You will have the moment and energy to give them the hope you once thought would never come.
Just like you survived everything until now, I hope this reminder will reach you when you need it most.
Keep going. You are not a burden; you are a miracle. Fight for your life because there isn’t a single reason you don’t deserve to.
If you would like to learn more about how you can support a young person to manage their anxiety Headspace has some great resources on their website.