“My body is weak, but my soul is still strong.”
My heart aches. Every crevice of my body feels for the families, friends, and loved ones of those who have taken their own life because they felt there was no other way out. The importance of keeping mental health at the forefront of your life has never been more apparent than now–four Penn students have died since the beginning of winter break, two of the deaths being ruled as suicide. This absolutely tears me apart. I have such a soft, gentle soul, and it is breaking. I want to run to everyone out there on Locust Walk and tell them they are meant to be here. You have a purpose. You may not know what it is (I am still figuring mine out), but you have one. And I love you. Yes, I dare to say it. I L-O-V-E each and every single one of you, because you are, consciously or not, shaping my experience here.
I look back on dark times in my past, and I realize just how incredibly blessed I am to have had a group of people around me who truly cared for my health and wanted me to be here–and wanted me to be happy. They lifted me up when I no longer wanted to take part, they prioritized me. And I want to be that for other people. I feel that part of my purpose is to share my experiences, open up, and tell the world that it’s okay to feel this way. Not only is it okay, but you have resources, you have help. There is always a way out. It may not be obvious to you, but just voicing your feelings to someone else opens up thousands of other doors you may not have even seen.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Life is hard,” but somehow we think that we are supposed to just be able to get through it. Push on, trudge forward, alone. Well, if you’re trudging, I encourage you to find someone, anyone, and ask for help. Find me. I will envelop you and take on your burdens and lift you up. And I can only hope that anyone else would do the same.
The only positive that can possibly come out of these recent happenings is a heightened awareness of mental health issues on campus and elsewhere. Speak out. Be the voice. Remember that you have so much to give the world. And appreciate everyone around you, for they are shaping your future and they play a role in your present.
All those we have lost have a special place in my heart. They are angels in my pocket, reminding me everyday that I am not my circumstances, my GPA, or my social ranking. I am me, and I am worthy. I am meant to be here.
And so are every single one of you.