Carly's open letter

Carly's open letter

Dear Mental Health, 

We sure do have a love/hate relationship, don’t we? Some days are better than others, while some days seem like never ending punches to the gut. You know exactly how to get to me. Not with thoughts of leaving anyone behind; but with thoughts of not making those around me happy, thoughts of not fulfilling my purpose, thoughts of not creating well enough, thoughts of failing. You have taught me a lot about love, life, happiness, & power. On hate days, you have sent me to the work bathroom to sob alone in a stall & on love days you have sent me on empowering runs that let me soar back up to the sky. You have told me I wasn’t good enough, but wait… you just said maybe I am? 

On hate days you made me so sad & unmotivated that I couldn’t see straight. All I knew was that I wanted to lay in bed & cry while holding my precious pup. You screamed at me while I was photographing or editing, saying things like “This is absolute trash. Why did they hire you? Why are you even trying? See, they hated it! You’re nothing, nobody!” Then you screamed at me when I felt insecure about my relationships with friends & loved ones. You told me they hated me & just kept talking to me because they felt bad. They just didn’t want to hurt my feelings so they kept me around, just at arms length. 

On love days though…you reminded me how important I am. How powerful & great I am. How no matter what, those who truly love me, do so unconditionally. You told me how amazing that set was, how if I just push through & try this one last thing I’ll get the curves layer right on that photo. You allowed me to take my feelings & write them down for a later creation I was so happy with. You reminded me that I have a wonderful fur ball at home who sees no bad in me, who relies on me more than anyone else, who kisses my tears away when I cry & happy spins when I come home from work each day. 

You attack everyone in a different way, shredding the important parts of each beautiful human you inhabit. Recently, you have been there more on love days. Sometimes you have crept in & spouted venom to try and take me down, but I’ve pushed through & reminded myself of all the positives I have in my life. You have shrugged during those moments & turned into a white rabbit instead of a black snake. You have reached out & handed me love notes. You have stopped tears from pouring out & instead put a smile on my face. You have been walking with your hand in mine, sometimes letting a thorn push through my palm, but it quickly turns into a beautiful flower. 

Photo credit: Earl Crabtree

Photo credit: Earl Crabtree

So I guess I want to say thank you. I want to thank you for my bad days and my good days. My hate days & my love days. Without you, I would not have grown and learned how to crawl out of your deep, dark holes. Instead, I crawl into your bright, warming sun rays. You push me down when I need it more often than pushing me up because you’re bored or angry with me. You have taught me to take my feelings & make them something beautiful, to create a portrait that holds so much more meaning than anyone could ever realize. You drive me to be better at my craft with every breath I take & to NEVER give up, even when you say I should. 

Dear Mental Health…. 

Thank you for helping me grow & become a better artist every day. 

Love always, 

Carly

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