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I was living in the dark for so long. I hated it. Man, I'm scared of the dang dark. For a good portion of my adolescent life (I want to [embarrassingly] say between ages 7 and 17), I would check under my bed for a murderer. Every. Single. Night. I hated being alone in the dark (and I’m not going to lie, I still sleep with a stuffed animal- ask my roommate). But I digress because this darkness I am referring to is not the 6 square feet underneath the mattress or the unused storage room in the basement or that creepy corner in the garage. It's darkness that was in my mind. The darkness that started as a light shadow, creeping around, barely going noticed. It started hanging around more, whenever I would let it. Eventually it moved in, clouding my thoughts and my soul in its dark embrace. This darkness told me I wasn't good enough. It told me I was wrong. It told me my worries were real and every scenario I imagined would come true and my life would be run by my anxieties and my fears and having dreams and goals were pointless because those are for people who live in the light and I...I am covered in darkness. But like I said, I used to live in the dark. I came up to breathe a couple months ago. I'm still finding my way around and I'm a little clumsy and a little scared sometimes but I'm happy. I wouldn't wish what I went through on anybody. I wouldn't want anybody's son or daughter or niece or cousin or uncle or best friend or teacher or grandma or neighbor to live in a place where breathing is restricted and stability is taken away and the only normalcy is knowing that nothing is normal. I wouldn't wish that on anybody but it doesn't mean others don't deal with it. Friend, relative, stranger, if you are reading this and you can relate, you are not alone in your darkness. You are not alone in your thoughts and your fears and your worries. You can make it out of this and I know you can (this isn’t bullshit- six months ago I almost made the worst mistake of my life and I will not let anybody come close to that).

So friend, if you are living in the darkness, I want to tell you one thing: I will be your flashlight.

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