Just Keep Swimming
September 2015 •
I had to die to realize I wanted to live. I grew up with Major Depressive Disorder and I variety of other mental health issues, and a phrase that always got me through tough times was "Just Keep Swimming." Yesterday, my mom gave me a pendant from The Giving Key that says "SWIM." I cried my eyes out and here's why. I lived in a treatment center about 3,000 miles away from my home for 1 1/2 years. When I turned eighteen, about 4 months ago, I signed myself out of that treatment center and had no where to go besides a homeless shelter in the area. I lived there for 6 weeks. I endured horrors I don't think I will ever be able to describe. I witnessed suicide, homicides, and kidnapping. I started doing hard drugs just to stay warm and got addicted, and eventually I overdosed. I was told that I was dead for one minute and twenty-six seconds. I remember almost nothing, but I knew that for some reason I was incredibly grateful to be alive. For some reason someone or something gave me another chance to keep swimming, and I did. I write this message to you from a new treatment center, much closer to home where I am sober and getting the help I have needed my entire life, and I am happy to say that I will never stop swimming. I pray that no one else has to experience the things I did to decide they want to live; you can all keep swimming.