I Am Here.

This year has been brutal.

The details matter but aren't best shared here. I'll just say I've experienced bullying, isolation, loneliness, and purposelessness for such a prolonged time and by/from people I deeply cared about that my anxiety and depression have been regular companions for the past seven months.

I think humans have two fundamental needs that keep us going and fulfilled in our lives: we need to feel loved, and we need to feel like our existence on this earth matters. And I think the fear of not having those things - fear that I am unlovable, fear that my existence doesn't matter - is what can lead you to some bad places.

I'm beyond lucky/blessed/fortunate - any word of gratitude fits: throughout the past months, I've never once felt unloved. My family and friends have gone above and beyond to support me in basically every way imaginable. They've listened, offered very sound advice, reassured me that I'm not crazy, fed me cookies, left me alone when I wanted and also forced me not to be alone when I really needed to not be. I know many people do not have the support that I have and I wish I could find a better way to express my gratitude.

But I have often - very often - felt like I don't matter.

I know that it perhaps seems counterintuitive to feel very loved but also feel like I don't matter, but it's been hard sometimes to connect the reasons why people love me when I feel like I have nothing to offer.

When I'm really at my best and firing on all cylinders, I really like myself. I'm funny and quick and creative and say yes to every event and I feel fun. I listen well and offer good advice and cook and bake and clean and still have time to know what's happening in the news and have an opinion on it while binge watching whatever new thing everyone else is.

I haven't been at my best lately. Most days I'm flying at half mast and some days I can't even get off the ground.

I had a friend once tell me that on the days where she just lies in bed she thinks, "I could have not lived this day and nothing would be any different."

She said that more than 10 years ago and I've thought about it almost daily since. It used to be quite a positive motivator for me to not waste time, but lately it haunts me as confirmation that my existence doesn't matter.

I was talking to a therapist a few months ago and I was telling her how I don't feel fun anymore, and the idea of not being a fun person gives me unlimited anxiety. And, because she's a therapist, she helped me unpack that why.

I rely so much on being funny or smart or talkative or passionate or engaging or fun for my value. I fear that if I am not those things, then I am erasable. My existence doesn't matter. And so because dealing with the situations that have been making me depressed and anxious takes up basically all of my emotional and physical energy, I don't have much left in my reserve for being fun. And I can say that sometimes, that makes me feel worst of all.

It's obviously a massive lie that people only matter if they behave a certain way or offer a particular thing. A person matters because they are alive. This is a courtesy I extend to others on a very regular basis, but had never thought to extend to myself.

So lately, especially on the really hard days, when I start to wonder if I matter, I give myself a minute. I take a few deep breaths. I think about how I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and how I do not have to make someone laugh or create something or even leave the house to have value.

I matter because I am here.


Copyg1rl said…
You are here and you matter - immensely. Probably in ways you don't even know. I have known you for years, but my face to face hug and chat encounters with you have beenfew - too few realy. yet, I remember vividly how you made me feel, how I admired you (and still do) for your willingless and struggle to be your authentic self. I see your photo on FB and immediately, thoughts, words spoken and feelings come back. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made, but sometimes we falter. We question our worth, our purpose, our paths, and our futures. As humans, we feel we need to see a progression in our live that is 'check-markable'. We measure ourselves on goals met, people we have around us, our jobs, salry band width, the letters after our name, our relationship status. And in todays world of social media and technology, it is harder than ever not to compare and contrast. You are not alone in this struggle. I am too - for identical and different reasons. But I do know that you matter - in your PJ's and bedhead or in your heels and red lipstick. You make the world a better place just because you are here, filling that special spot that only you could fill. Keep being who you are, loving who you love and allowing yourself to be loved and sometimes carried. Because, you do these things for others always. xo
Marley said…
I love this post and appreciate your openness in sharing. The movie, "The Help" expresses the important lesson on how to feel valuable, worthy and loved. So I reiterate those lessons by telling you that, "You is kind. You is smart. You is important" and as long as you have breath in your lungs (and even beyond), YOU ARE, AND WILL BE, LOVED! You know, life is shitty sometimes and we deal with hurdles that appear insurmountable BUT, you are a true testament to advocating and speaking up for truth and fairness. And that, is one of the reasons you matter!
Wayne said…
Please don't tell me that you don't matter.

Please don't tell me that you only matter when and if you're being funny, quick and creative.

Please don't tell me that you don't matter on days when you're flying at half mast or when you can't get off the ground.

If any of these things are true then you're making a lier and a fool of me. Because, when your name comes up or is brought up in my conversations with friends and colleagues I usually break out in a smile and my eyes lights up. I brag about you to them... your smile, laughter, humor, brilliance, communication skills, honesty, quickness and all of those things about you that make you you.

So, please don't tell me I've been a fool for bragging about you. Please don't tell me that you don't matter. Please say it ain't so...

Uncle Wayne
Glenda said…
I want to tell you that I get it because I DO get it. Many times I feel like I don't matter and even lately I've felt that I would be better off if God called me home. That I wouldn't have to be a bother to anyone. So I get it. But all of our circumstances are different. Our thoughts are different. My thoughts are not your thoughts. We are all unique. But that's what makes us wonderful! I want to reiterate something of what Wayne said because I too have bragged about you to people. People who have no clue who you are. "My niece Jillian"...I brag about how smart you are, how educated you are, how kind you are and how beautiful you are and much more. Many times, even lately I've told people about things that you said or did when you were younger....like when I was visiting and I was having a really bad day and you saw me lying on the bed crying and even at the young age that you were (maybe 3) you brought all your stuffed animals to the bed and placed them all around me to make me feel better. I've never forgotten that. That's just one thing. But things like this show what a beautiful soul you have. You are beautiful Jillian, inside and out. I mean that! I love you! Keep looking up!
ahmed said…
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