Why I Celebrate

Today a large majority of people dress in green, wish one another “Happy Saint Patrick’s Day”, and participate in many forms of merriment. All in all, it’s a fun holiday. But March 17th is a day I celebrate for an entirely different reason.

I’m pretty open about this topic, but I realize some of you have no idea what today means for me.

This year makes it ten years. That’s a full decade everybody!
At the lovely age of 17 I was desperate for answers. Desperate for direction. Desperate for meaning. Desperate to understand what my place in the world was. As a typical teenager, I was lacking answers. As a result, I felt entirely lost, confused, and as though I didn’t have a reason to live. March 10, 2005 my parents sat down and approached me with something I had written just a few days prior on an online journal I didn’t think they knew about. It gave them reason to think I was going to end my own life. What I had written alluding to my suicide was true, I had been feeling suicidal for some time and was ready to do it. For months I hid the fact I was depressed and it became so intense I didn’t want to continue to live. My parents were concerned enough for my safety that they (against my will) admitted me to a hospitals psychiatric ward for clinical depression. I spent one week in the hospital talking with so many doctors and students in the medical field it was disgusting and annoying. After a few days though, I began to see the light. I started to understand that my life had only just begun. When I was released on March 17, I knew that every year I would reflect on what happened. For the last ten years I have not only reflected but I’ve also celebrated.
I celebrate being alive. I celebrate the good and bad times each year brings. I celebrate the fact that I am here, and as a result I make an impact on others’ lives. I celebrate the experiences I’ve had. I celebrate my life. I celebrate.

If you would have told me then that in ten years time I would have been to Europe almost ten times, driven cross-country twice, impacted thousands of lives, found my true desire of working with children and become a nanny, gone to school for early childhood education, become engaged twice and married once, let alone experience any of the other things I have… I wouldn’t have believed you.
But here I am.
Alive.

Depression and suicide are both very serious issues. If you struggle with depression, don’t think it will go away on its own or it will get better with time. Take action, talk with people, share with those closest to you what you’re thinking. There are people who love you.

Ability to Change

Life. That thing we take for granted. That thing that 7 years ago I realized how precious mine really was. On March 10, 2005 my parents recognized how serious my depression had gotten and admitted me into the same hospital my dad was at for his stroke (part of the reason being there was difficult for me). When I was admitted though I was taken to the psychiatric wing. It was the most interesting experience of my life up to that point. I was discharged a week later on the 17th. My week there opened my eyes to the conditions of many others. When I left my heart stayed with those who I had met and interacted with. I didn’t want anyone to feel alone, which is very much so my character and personality.

The seven years since I have grown a lot, made mistakes, fallen in and out of love, learned more than I thought I could, forgotten things I thought I’d remember forever and mostly- the single fact which initially just kept me from taking my own life – I’ve impacted others. There are people whose lives have been changed from something I’ve done and I don’t even recognize it. We generally don’t unless we are already close with the person, but every day we live, we affect someone. We all hold the ability to change our outlook on life, it’s just whether or not we want to or see the need to.

While most will celebrate today because it’s St. Patricks’s day, I celebrate today because I am alive!