… the sun will always rise.

Ryan sent me this photo that he took on his way to work this morning, and I honestly had a bit of an emotional reaction to it.

Sunrises in general mean a lot to me, the reason directly related to these few words I often told myself (and still do) on my most difficult nights: no matter how dark the night, the sun will always rise.

Now, Ryan has taken some incredible sunrise photos, but what struck me about this one was the darkness of the dead tree in the foreground. As soon as I saw the photo, I thought of my little mantra that I mentioned above. In my mind, that tree symbolized the darkness of the night.

So, to put this into words that aren’t just the ramblings of my mind:

Whatever you’re going through, it won’t last forever. This darkness in your life, in your head, in your heart – it’s not permanent. Your depression does not get to dictate your existence, your anxiety does not own you, your addiction does not define you, your disorder is not your name.

You are:

  • Beautiful
  • Capable
  • Deserving
  • Enough
  • Free
  • Loved
  • Significant
  • Worthy

You are not:

  • A Failure
  • A Lost Cause
  • A Waste of Space
  • Alone
  • Disgusting
  • Hopeless
  • Worthless
  • Your Mistakes

No matter how last night’s darkness tries to creep it’s way into your sunshine, it doesn’t belong there.

Every sunrise is a new beginning.

Dawn is coming, don’t lose hope.


N.N.

Marriage & Recovery

There was a time in my life when I wholeheartedly believed that finding “the one” would fix everything. That my prince charming would sweep me off my feet and make every insecurity and addiction disappear. Over the years I realized the naivety of this belief, yet there was still a part of me that believed, or maybe hoped, that having a ring on my finger would make every other struggle in my life vanish.

I’m here to say that this is 100% not the case.

I’d learned well before meeting Ryan that being in a relationship would never fix my problems. No man would ever come along and miraculously make my trauma disappear. However, there were, and always will be, men who try to convince women that they are indeed the answer to all of their issues. It’s these men who reinforce codependency and lead their partners even deeper into the pits.

One of the reasons I fell in love with Ryan to begin with was because he never tried to be my cure-all. He’s supported and encouraged me from the beginning, but has never pretended to be able to “fix” me. Instead, he has loved me through relapses, grief, insecurities, depression, anxiety & nightmares. To explain a bit more, this is part of the little speech that I gave at our reception:

“Iā€™d never ever been the one to make the first move, or say those three little words first, but I did. He was different, he is different. He is my knight in shining armor, but not because he saved me. But because for the last three years he has challenged me to save myself and continues to be my support and my best friend… The point is, he is not like anyone Iā€™ve ever known, and I cannot believe that Iā€™m lucky enough to call him my husband.”

It’s been difficult for me figuring out this whole “wife” thing. I have the same, if not more, unconditional love and support from my husband, but I’ve been struggling. I think I’m trying too hard to identify who I am as a “wife.” I’m still me. I’m still the same woman who is learning to love herself, despite not necessarily liking what she sees in the mirror. I’m still the same woman who has claimed victory over some of her most aggressive demons. I’m still the same woman who is madly in love with Ryan Norton, and who is working so freaking hard, every day, to be a better human.

So here’s to marriage not fixing all of our problems, but to being able to celebrate the victories, big and little, with your permanent roommate. šŸ‘«

NN


Seasons, Chapters & Changes

Whether it’s marriage, a new baby, or retirement, we always hear, “enjoy this new season of life”, or “what an exciting chapter ahead of you”. Ultimately, all anyone is trying to say is enjoy the journey – but that is often easier said than done.

Not every season can be Spring, and not every chapter will be the happy ending. We also face times of uncertainty, anxiety, unemployment, illness, death of loved ones, and so much more.

All this to say that using the words “season” or “chapter” make change sound a little less scary. Because let’s be real, change IS scary. It can be good or it can be bad, but the fear is real either way.

Ryan and I find ourselves facing a lot of changes right now. Including a new season of home ownership and a new chapter called marriage. It’s a lot, and as excited as we are, it’s still terrifying.

As I was thinking about seasons, chapters & changes this morning – this popped up on my Pinterest, and it just fits so perfectly. Immediately my anxiety evaporated. All of my life, in every season – He is still God. Can I get an amen?!

For me – it makes change a little less intimidating when I know that the next chapter of my life is already written by the One who calls me His child.

šŸ‘ NT

Late Night Thoughts, Vol 3

This past week, and today. I’ve been brought back down to earth. Not necessarily in a terrible way, but gently reminded that there’s still a lot I need to face. I’ve been neglecting my recovery and pretending to be okay, but I’m not okay, and that’s okay too. Nonetheless, I absolutely refuse to allow my past to steal the present that I’ve worked so hard for.

Tomorrow is a new day, and it will not be lost.

NT

You’re Alive šŸŒ»

Good morning, and welcome to today. How incredible, to wake up and be alive. What a waste it would be to just exist. I know far too much of my life has been spent just going through the motions.

We wake up this morning with an opportunity to change the world. It doesn’t mean we have to cure cancer, or eliminate world hunger.

The world can be changed with just a smile.

Your smile can be exactly what someone needs to get through the day. Changing one life means changing the world in the smallest, simplest, sweetest of ways.

You are alive; so live, be love & smile. šŸ™‚

šŸŒµNT

Late Night Thoughts, Vol 2

It’s been an emotional week, and emotions are usually not easy for me to deal with. I’ve cried as I remember, but I’ve also been filled with hope. Reading Misty’s words that she has written me over the years fills my heart, it encourages me now just as much as it did back then. But as I’ve already said, I wish she could have spoken those same encouraging words into her own breaking heart.

I’ve also spent far too much time doubting my own grief this week. Misty was so much more to me than “just a mentor;” but she also wasn’t MY mom or MY daughter or MY sister. Do I really have the right to miss her so much? This came up during a conversation with my best friend; she is the daughter of a mom who died by suicide. She assured me that it’s okay to be sad, and then it was kind of like, duh. Of course it is. I’m not pretending to even begin to know how it feels to lose a parent, or child, or sibling – but I can accept my own grief and pain.

Inevitably, this time of year also gets me thinking about my own personal experience with suicide. I have attempted to take my life twice. Once in 2011, once in 2015. Those experiences have forever changed me. I know for a fact that when someone is in the midst of that deep pain and hopelessness, they’re not thinking about the pain that will be left behind for those that love them. Instead, they honestly believe that their pain is never going to end, and that everyone else will be better off without them. I’ve heard so many people say how selfish suicide is, and in a way I can agree. But at the same time, these people don’t believe that their absence is going to negatively affect anyone else. In fact, they may even whole-heatedly believe that people will be relieved that they’re gone, if they even notice at all.

We need to stop judging the thoughts and motivations of those who die by suicide, it is not our place. No one truly knows their stories, their struggles, their thoughts, their hearts… all we do know for sure is that they’re no longer in pain. Instead of jumping to conclusions, we need to continue reducing the stigma surrounding suicide, and mental health in general, and provide more safe places for people to be honest and be themselves. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an average of 123 people die by suicide each day in the US alone. Enough is enough.

For everyone that has lost their life to suicide, let’s not let them die in vain. Be kind, be love to someone who may not know it otherwise.

NT