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Carry Your Bucket

“You are a healer. You have walked through fire and came out with a bucket. You internalize the worlds pain because you know pain and you want to protect the world from that. You wept for the world because it is in pain. But you are not helpless. You are the light people are looking for, nurture the pain and fill it with light and hope. Carry your bucket and spread the water I know you have.”

I’ve been sad for the world.
I’ve been hurting and feeling all of the feelings as I process what is going on each day.
I reached out to a friend who I know always reminds me of who I am when I forget and she sent me the piece above.

“You have walked through fire and came out with a bucket, carry your bucket and spread the water I know you have.”
I forgot the bucket I carry.
I forgot the water I can spread.
The hope I can give to others by using the gifts God gave me.

Like most of you, I’ve struggled to find the positive in these last few weeks. I’ve questioned why this is happening to our world, but the more I focus on gratitude the more I am in awe of the good coming out of the world from such a horrible virus.
Because of social distancing, more people are getting outside and getting in their daily physical activity. They are spending more quality time with their families. They are either chasing after dreams that they never had time to chase or taking time for well deserved rest.

However you choose see what is going on in this world is your choice.
You can choose to see the horror, focus on all that is going wrong, and the things that may or may not be getting worse.
OR you can choose to be grateful for what is going on, to have gratitude for a heart still beating, a family still to love, and an opportunity to be hope for someone else who needs it.

You have an opportunity to be the light.
You can use this moment to be there for someone who needs it more than ever.
You can be hope.
You can decide to be more than just what is going on right in this moment. But it is a choice.

I gave in this past weekend and decided I would not be hope.
I would let anxiety win and fall into the panic. This resulted in a major panic attack and days of my mind being messy.
I had to snap out of it.
We all have to snap out of it.
We have to snap out of pure panic and get into the mindset of hope.
HOPE: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
We NEED hope right now.

I needed hope when Cooper was dying. I needed to hear that something good was going to come of his death. When I was doubled over in shock from a mass shooting, I needed hope. I know, that this world needs hope. We may not be able to come together physically right now, but we can come together and have hope.

We all have our own buckets of water and we all have places we can spread that water.
Recognize that you have the potential to be the light.
Recognize you have the power to share the water.

Note To Self

Today I am having a bad day.

Waking up is hard- I do my absolute best to choose the day ahead of me but being completely transparent, sometimes I let the day choose me. I let the depression win, I let the anxiety take over, and I decide to surrender to all the pain that is, mental illness.

Then, the guilt sets in. Which for me, is the worst part- I feel guilty for feeling my mental illness, like it’s not a real illness. I think this guilt stems from being surrounded by a physical illness like cancer for a portion of my life. I have this lie in my head that I tell myself, “You’re not really sick unless the blood test shows you that you are.” It is a lie I’ve convinced myself of and even as I type it I know it sounds ridiculous. But for so long I had convinced myself that Cooper’s cancer was of more importance than my mental health would ever be. That because it was cancer, I could never compete unless I too, had cancer. No illness, especially no mental illness, was of enough importance to admit it was a problem.
I know where this lie stems from, it stems from a long line of feeling like if it wasn’t cancer it wasn’t a big enough problem to address. See, when you’re a sibling of someone with cancer, someone dying of cancer. You make your problems small. You convince yourself that your problems are not as big as cancer so they do not matter.
The problem with this is, you cannot undo the mess you’ve create in your mind- it follows you.
So now, years after cancer has left my life and Cooper has left this world- I still believe my illness is not valid. I still have to convince myself that if I am having an off day I can rest my mind and my heart.

But let me tell you what cancer and mental illness have in common.
They can both kill you.

So I am writing this, a note to myself, that just like cancer feasting at the bodies every healthy cell, my mental illness is doing the same thing.
And if ignored, my mental illness will take hold of every healthy cell, and kill it off just like cancer.
Cancer and mental illness are not far off from each other.
It’s just how you choose to look at it.

Maybe today you too need to be reminded that whatever you’re dealing with is just as important as cancer, or a heart attack, or a paper cut. Do not weigh YOUR struggles against someone else’s. Everyone is hurting, everyone is struggling, whether physical or mental, illness is real.

If I could go back and tell Kassidy something in January of 2013, a few short weeks before Cooper would be diagnosed with cancer, I would tell her two things.
Never feel guilty for what you’re feeling- mental or physical.
Your pain is important.

Even though we can’t go back, we can go forward.
I can tell Kassidy today and Kassidy tomorrow those same words.
I can work through the guilt of feeling like my illness is not enough compared to others.
And maybe you need to work through that guilt too. Whether you’re a cancer sibling or a mom who puts her child’s needs before her own.
We all struggle with this, so lets say it together…

“Never feel guilty for what you’re feeling- mental or physical.
Your pain is important”

To My Gracious & Grateful Community,
I want to remind you-
You are loved.
You are enough.
You are important.
You are needed.
Tomorrow needs you.

xoxo,
Kassidy