On Moving Past

when you are a new arrival 

to the mental health world,

the road is long,

the night is dark.

it’s overwhelming: 

you feel so alone, 

and the pain is deep.

nobody can ever understand 

what you’re going through

and surely,

few have gone through what you have

and even more-so,

none have passed through this way

and survived.

and then

along with the darkness, 

loneliness, and deep pain, 

effort, and time 

allow you 

to see small changes–

tiny glimpses of improvement–

a touch and go relationship

with the life

you want to live. 

and then, those little touches

turn into bigger successes,

and deeper changes

as you become 

the person you want to be.

and even more, 

you meet others

who have struggled like you–

who have fought battles too,

who walked the same road

and never thought 

they’d get out alive.

and you see these people

turn into success stories

of lives changed, 

of lives saved–

of living different,

of living better.

you see the hope, 

you see the future

together, we celebrate

healthy family connections

intuitive eating

emotional regulation

happiness, connection

engagements, marriages,

happy children.

and you know 

that some battles are won–

over–

perhaps never to be fought again.

others are still being fought

by those people you love

and by you,

too. 

but you have developed 

a better army

a better technique

a better battle plan 

that can act on the offensive

or when needed, on the defensive

but going back to the same place

you once were in

so frightened, so alone, so hopeless, so helpless

is impossible.

it’s a different perspective 

after having traveled the road

it’s seeing rays of dawn

when you’ve seen the darkness of night

it’s touching spring 

when you have known

with conviction

that

winter is forever.

and for those who are 

battle-weary and exhausted,

disconnected, hopeless, 

angry, in pain:

it’s okay 

just keep walking

forward, step by step

when you can. 

and when you can’t,

take a break

take a rest

take a vacation

but whatever you do, 

get back on track, 

and keep walking.

your beautiful little island

is waiting for you

with palm trees

and beaches

and beautiful oceans

and beach chairs 

and beach balls

and even pink lemonade

and if you don’t believe 

that there’ll be sunshine one day

after this hurricane,

it’s okay. 

we were there too.

you don’t have to believe

that there’s a brighter future.

just keep at it,

because whether you believe or not, 

you’ll get there.

i believe in you.

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