A Life Lived

Ashley - High Point, North Carolina
Entered on February 22, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe life is meant to be lived.

My views haven’t always been so simple or so positive. In truth, I spent most of last year just barely surviving. I ate, I breathed, I slept, I did the things I had to do in order to function but I did no more. I was given a lot of words for how I was feeling. First it was “social anxiety”, then it was “depression”, eventually I managed to receive a combination of “bipolar”. These words weren’t revelations to me; they simply put faces on the monsters I had always been fighting. When you fear walking down a hall because one person glances at you, or suddenly join twelve clubs and become a board member of six of them only to abandon all the clubs a month later, it occurs to you that something may not be right. It was an odd experience finding these faces, because the more tangible they were the less I accepted them. Apart these qualities in me were just quirks, under one name they made me crazy.

I traveled down the path of feeling horrible, feeling okay, then feeling fantastic. When I felt horrible I swore that I’d get help. When I felt better I swore that I had never needed help in the first place. Then I didn’t feel better. I was now traveling straight down a path of complete terror. Everything scared me, every situation overwhelmed me. I chose to stop doing everything that scared me, which left my bed as the only place I was safe. I lost friends, I failed classes, and I felt absolutely nothing about either. All I wanted to do was go to sleep and never wake up again. I hated life and everything about it; everything was dark, hard and unmanageable. My path in life no longer existed; I had stopped moving. But then I asked for help, and crawled out of my bed to see the world around me.

I came out of my stupor, and suddenly the very same things that had been so dark became bright and beautiful. People weren’t scary, they were just people. I only had this one life and I was choosing to give into my fears, to let them rule who I was.

I saw life with a renewed sense of purpose. All the things in life that were once stressful became insignificant to the feeling that I had the chance to start over, to meet new people, to live the life I wanted to live.

We have one lifetime with which we are given the ability to travel any path we want. While on that path we have the ability to go wherever our heart takes us. The path we choose will have pain, heartache, tragedy, and any number of equally bad experiences. Sometimes those experiences make us want to lie down, to collapse into fear and a life that isn’t worth living. I can honestly say that the temporary relief of giving into fear isn’t worth the life it reaps. We should not let these emotions hinder us; rather, we should absorb them and use the wisdom that comes with them to live life to its fullest. Life is meant to be traveled, not feared.

I believe life is meant to be lived.