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Christmas Looks Different This Year

Christmas looks different this year.

I’m not sure if it’s lack of snow, the global warning, or maybe... maybe it’s because this year, I’m actually happy to be here. Here. Where?

Here. Like really, really here. You might be thinking, “Hun, you’ve been here for 21 years now.” Yes, literally speaking, you’re right. But I haven’t been here in a long, long time. Maybe I haven’t been here yet at all. That is, until now.

And man, I tell ya what, it sure does feel good to be here. I’ve missed out on so much by not being near, especially at this time of year. So where have I been? I suppose you’re wondering. I have been too. You see, I didn’t know I wasn’t here, until well, until I got here. My body hasn’t missed a single Christmas, but my spirit has missed them all.

I guess I should explain, where I’ve been. I’ve been in a dark place. We talk about the captivating depths of depression, anxiety, anorexia, insert your poison here. But we never really know how deep the depths, how dark the night, until we are in the light, and able to tell the story that nearly took our lives.

I’ve struggled with mental health for my entire life. At times, it felt like I didn’t even really have a life. I know the dark, more than I think I’ll ever come to know the light. I’m just now getting to know the light, but as far as I can see, and I can see now that I think I’d like to stay awhile.

The suffocating pain that came with my battle with depression, anxiety, and anorexia, although miserable, felt like home. Every time I took one step away, I took three steps back. Because the hope of the unknown of life, seemed more terrifying than staying prison to the pain. So, prisoner I stayed.

But the last couple of years something has changed. I started getting help, going to therapy, and even spent quite some time in treatment centers. And although I never caught hold of the freedom they spoke to me of, I did catch a glimpse of it once. And that glimpse was the most powerful, overwhelming, ray of hope that I’ve ever known. And knowing that that was out there, that was enough that I decided I wanted to fight. Little did I know, the fight for your life, truly is the fight of your life.

Fast forward a few years and I am sober. Sober from the depression, the anxiety, the anorexia. And in my soberness, I am utterly aware of the raw beauty that is this life. I look around, take a deep breath, and tears stream down my face. I am alive. Really, really, alive. I am here. And I, have overcome the fear.

To those of you who aren’t here this Christmas, I just want you to know, that I can’t wait for you to join me. To come home. Because this darkness you live in, it isn’t really home. I know it’s hard to hear, so come here and give it a feel. I promise once you are here, the feeling of the sun shining on your skin and the glimmer of the life that shines through those you love, is something you’ll never want to miss again.

To those who I get to celebrate Christmas with this year, I want you to know: I’m here to stay. And it’s so good to see you, and meet you. It’s good to be met. I’m sorry it took me so long to come to life but this was all so worth the fight. I know it’s scary. You probably think I am about to slip back into the dark at any moment. But I won’t. And you want to know why? Because your light is so bright, that no darkness could ever blind me again. Even if I slip, I won’t stay stuck, because I can always see the way home. And home isn’t being bound in metaphorical shackles and chains anymore. Home is your laugh. It is the warmth of your love. It is the light of your life.

Home is here. And gosh, is it good to be home.

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