Who’s Your Greatest Cheerleader?

Would you be able to answer if I asked you?

Two men hugging each other inside a bar.

Hi friend. Today’s story is a sombre one. While I’m still finishing up the next one with a more lighthearted tone, here is a guessing game that I want you to play if you’ve got the time. It involves my current life and what you think is gonna happen next. Ready? Here it goes:

Yesterday, my friends needed me to answer a question, and I texted the regular group chat back that I wasn’t feeling mentally up to it so I would respond the next day.

Then I spent the entire day:

  • Wrapped in my faux wool blanket
  • Twice napping for over two hours
  • Laying on the floor rug to nap for one of those times
  • And heavily crying for four periods throughout the day

I could barely move, and the thought of deciding what to eat left me paralyzed to the point that I almost went hungry. But a voice in my head kept going, “it’s okay, just something simple. I know it’s bad but you need it, please. C’mon, get up.”

I remember crying while I made a low-budget instant pasta dish. And after eating it, I went to sleep — it was almost 12 a.m.

I proceeded to dream that I was ice skating down a long canal and Jack Frost was with me, along with a huge crowd of people just enjoying the winter’s day.

What do you think happened next?

The next day do you think things got worse? Did I end up repeating the same cycle? Did I reach out for help?

Well, today it feels like yesterday didn’t even exist. I answered my friends back and sent them funny gifs.

Then I spent today:

  • Drinking the best cup of coffee I’d made in a while
  • Finishing my laundry before 9 a.m.
  • Cooking a beautiful pan-fried tilapia for lunch
  • And walking to the dollar store, buying a pack of disposable garbage bags and purging my kitchen cupboards of everything I never used

My legs are a little stiff from all the moving around. But I’m smiling even as I write this because the voice in my head was saying, “it’s okay, just something simple. You did well. You can keep going if you want but I’m proud you did enough for today.”

I’m still writing this story, but once I’m done, I’ll edit my first Youtube video and I feel like I can try anything right now.

I’m much happier today and I feel a strong sense of calm, just trying to tackle one thing at a time. But I haven’t forgotten yesterday.

Did you find the hidden link in both stories?

Even though my last twenty hours were like day and night, my inner voice never changed. I didn’t repeat the cycle from the previous day. And I didn’t seek help or reach out for help — even though, some parts of me knew I could’ve. The voice in my head is just constantly present. It may not be able to help me figure out what I want to do with my life or what I’m capable of, but it knows who I am at my core and what I need. And sometimes that’s better than all the compasses or self-help books in the world.

Having a consistent inner voice even when you’re down is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself. And while it may be tough for some to cultivate that voice or even a relationship with it, I am a strong believer in the power of our own durability.

This story is not to glorify getting over your sadness quickly or to do things on your own. It is simply to remind you of what light you carry at all times in the darkness. This is what you are capable of. This is your shield.

This is your greatest cheerleader.

“Resilience is our ability to bounce back from life’s challenges and unforeseen difficulties, providing mental protection from emotional and mental disorders.” — The “father of child psychology”, Sir Michael Rutter

And yes, sometimes our negative self-talk is absolutely brutal. I know mine was while in-and-out of sleep on the floor yesterday. But our encouraging more gentle positive self-talk is always right there too. We just have to be willing to eventually listen to it through the fog of our anxieties and struggles.

I know I would be less of who I am and would not be where I am without that preserving spirit. Without that soft yet powerful voice in me. Sometimes I cry for hours while it speaks to me. Sometimes I roll away in my bed as I listen to it narrate each tiny step I need to take when I’m ready. But I always eventually listen, and I get up and try it. And 9 times out of 10, it works.

So for anyone who is also struggling right now — whether it be with your inner demons, in an uncontrollable situation or under an immense expectation from others — please practice strengthening and listening to your inner voice.

Your mental health may feel terrible now, but your inner self will never abandon you if you really look deep within.

Millennial, noncommittal romantic, walking the tightrope between hope and depression. Sounds like you too? I’ll write something for both of us.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store