I think I’ve mentioned before that I have a folder in my email titled “Warm Fuzzies” where I keep the kind heartfelt words that are sent to me. I have to be careful when I dip into them because they bring me to tears every time.
I generally receive the most emails when I am lost in my own brain. I read over them, file them away and when I’m able, I go back and respond to them.
“…Reading your blog made me feel like I wasn’t the only one. It made me smile, it made me laugh, it made me tear up.
I minored in English in college, but I was never able to harness my words and wrangle them into the style I wanted. Reading your blog is like reading my own thoughts that I was never able to turn into a worthwhile read…”
Often times I am unable to write much more than “Thank you.” But what I truly wish is that they could *feel* the thank you that is in my heart. The overwhelming gratitude that leaves me staring at my screen in disbelief at all of these tender injured souls who found comfort in something I wrote.
“…’You are not the only one who regrets their children on the bad days.‘
is burned into my brain.
It is the worst feeling I have ever felt.
It is such the horrible, honest truth.
And I thank you so much for telling me/making me feel like I wasn’t alone…”
I’ve wanted to share parts of these emails for a long time. But I was never sure how to do it without it coming across as a big “LOOK HOW WONDERFUL I AM! *glitter glitter* APPLAUSE HERE” But the truth is I get a lot of emails me asking how I do it.
‘It’ being honesty about my mental illness.
“…Then after I read what you wrote, I realized that we do have a close relationship. She will be fine as long as I continue to shower her with love, despite the overbearing cloudy days. Basically, I just wanted you to know that you helped me feel at ease that everything will work out. So, thank you for your honesty and opening my eyes to your situation…”
I have a hard time responding to questions like that, and then I remember my Warm Fuzzy folder. In it there are currently 66 reasons why I do “it.” Why I am honest about my struggles. 66 people who I have helped. 66 people who were able to find words about their own struggles and emotions because I was honest about mine.
“…Casey, I cannot tell you how much it is helping me to read these words from you. I have never, not ever, found anyone who was willing to share, explain, put it into words that made sense or even came close to expressing how much it hurts. And when you talk about this I don’t feel like such a freak show…”
Can anyone do it? Maybe. But there are still a lot of social stigmas around mental illness. Should you do it? If you can, yes. Even if no one ever reads it. There are days when writing is easier than breathing for me. And the first time someone thanks you for helping them feel not so alone? You’ll never forget that. Ever. It doesn’t matter if they’re a friend, a stranger or your mom. Your story can and will help people.
“…The world is a better place because people like you exist in it…So thanks for being you, Casey. Even though we don’t know each other, I look up to you a lot. Your ability to fight back…I hope you know how many of us find this inspiring. I’m rooting for you. We all are…”
I’m beginning to realize that what drives me the most, as well as what drives others who admit to emotional defeats is that we want nothing more than to be well. To be better. Even though I know I will never be healed from this disease, I have hope for those good days.
And hope makes anything possible.
This post is sponsored by Hallmark’s “Life is a Special Occasion” campaign.