• AKO

Just Keep Swimming, Please.

This is for suicide awareness and prevention.


This is a harder topic for me to write about than I'd like to admit. I wrote these things out and threw them away, wrote them out and deleted it all.


I've been at rock bottom before. I've crashed into the ground so fast and hard that it felt like nothing was worth it. I tried and tried to rise above, to swim longer, and at a point I couldn't anymore. You get tired. I got tired. But my story got better. I got better. I'm in a place now, Alhamdulillah, that I would have never thought was possible if you asked me a year ago when I didn't want to try anymore.


As long as I can remember, I worried constantly. Little five year old me would worry about "what if this," or "what if that." I grew in my teens and bit my nails off, tore my eyelashes off, peeled my skin because I couldn't stop worrying. Then worrying became a routine when the worries solidified into real responsibilities, like a GPA or a job. Family troubles, death, a bad relationship, and regular young adult bullshit all mixed together into a living hell.


Last year was my end. I felt numb, couldn't breathe, didn't see a point in trying, didn't talk or eat. My panic attacks literally immobilized me. My thoughts ran by themselves but dragged me down with them. I couldn't stop the chatter in my skull or my feelings with the strongest medication. My eyes had no life in them. It got to a point where I either stopped my life, or I had to swim.


So I swam. I called my insurance and found all the therapists and psychologists taking new patients and that's a whole different story I can rant about (as in there's not enough therapists or psychologists in insurance networks, let alone good ones). I spent time with only people who showed me patience and understanding. I bought books and weird ass t-shirts, cut and dyed my hair, watched The Office like a million times.


I prayed more and trusted in God's plan more. And I know, I know, I used to be someone who would read a "religion saved me" thing and judge hardcore or think it's missionary bullshit. But I can honestly say the more I prayed, the more I learned, the closer I got to trusting Allah s.w. and his plan, the easier my heart would beat.


I channeled the "you're not good enough," "you're crazy," "you're gonna panic," into my writing. There's nothing that can accurately describe the feeling of rock bottom besides my thoughts written at that time in my journal:

"I get the out of body sensation so much it sucks. Im not here and that's how I feel, like nothing is real."

"I hate seeing my mom like this."

"I feel trapped in my own body."

"Maybe I am a bad person."

"Everything seems fake and the minute I start to believe anything these thoughts come back and make me live in the past and sometimes I think nothing is real."


It's so hard for me to go back and reread what I wrote and to share it, but I do it in light of suicide awareness month, for mental health, and in the hopes that it could be the life vest that pulls someone else from the bottom.


It gets better, but ONLY if YOU want it to. That might seem like a harsh reality but it is. You gotta be the one to move your arms and legs, to tread the water. YOU have to be the one who rises to the top and takes that breath you've been dying for, the one that seems like it was lost forever. Please just keep swimming. Please keep trying because there are people who love you, and it gets SO, SO much better.


You'll miss the millions of new books coming out. You'll miss the bad ass songs blasting from the radio. You'll miss the birth of your niece or nephew. You'll miss the opportunity to find your soul mate. You won't get to see that new stupid tiktok trend that's actually really funny. You won't get to see Asia. You won't get to sky dive. You won't get to try caviar. You won't get the life you deserve to have.


Alhamdulillah for all I have and for how far I've come. Now I can say I am genuinely happy. I still have my panic attacks, my moments, but I know there's a bigger plan for it all. My whole life changed in a year and yours will too. Just keep swimming, please.


And know my DMs are ALWAYS open.


Suicide hotline number: 1-800-273-8255

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now/


Love, AKO


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