I'm very happy to have gained a new friend and ally in the mental health awareness arena from Emily Wu Truong 吳怡萱, Motivational Speaker for Mental Health Awareness, with some special thanks to a mutual friend of ours for making the introduction.
From all of the writing that I do and seeing how people respond to it, it's not something that I have to wonder about anymore. I just know that the struggles we face inside transcend all of the things that we seem think divide us, such as gender, race, religion, class, caste, political ideologies, and on and on. Despite all of these made-up differences, it's our humanity that binds us together in the end, which has been a very comforting and unifying feeling for me to have gained, especially at a time when the world is seemingly at each other's throats over the most ridiculous of things.
A few years ago, I was blown completely away by how closely I related to author and speaker Anita Moorjani, who had actually died of her cancer, but miraculously was able to decide to come back and live. It wasn't her physical 'death' that I related to so strongly, but rather the very deep spiritual death and then reawakening that she had experienced that resonated with me, as I had felt the same exact things, but didn't have the slightest clue how to put it together until I read Anita's story. I just had that same feeling again, talking to Emily Wu Truong this week.
Emily is a different kind of survivor. She didn't have cancer, nor did she have some rare disease or medical condition. What she survived was attempted suicide. I've never talked to anyone like Emily before, and here I am astonished once again at just how similar are stories are, right down to how exactly we've evolved, and the inner attitudes and beliefs that we've adopted now. They're the SAME. It was like I was talking to myself, and reading my own words, yet, are there any ways at all in which we're similar via the normal ways in which people tend to think we're all different? I don't know, I couldn't tell you. Different gender, different race, different culture and upbringing, different challenges that we've faced, and probably many other things as well. What difference does any of that make? We both still found ourselves in the same dark place, and felt the same pain due to different challenges, but then turned our lives around and evolved in the same ways, and adopted the same inner beliefs and attitudes. How could that be? It has nothing to do with these made-up ways of segregating people. It's because we're all human beings inside.
We don't all need to have the same "card" in order for others to be able to have compassion for you, and to know what pain is like. They might not know your struggle, but to say that no one else can know what you feel is a falsehood, as we're all human beings, here in this world together. You're never alone, no matter how alone you think you are. Anyone who truly knows and understands struggle at this level can help you not just to no longer feel so alone anymore, but can help you to evolve past the challenges that you face as well. I don't know Emily, I don't know what her struggle was like, and we're "different" in so many ways that human society would see that we're different. Yet, a short time spent talking to each other, and reading some of each other's words, and we just got each other. We'd both been hurt, badly, in our lives. We felt like we had reached the end and thought or attempted the unthinkable, but then turned our lives around in the same ways, because we never wanted to be in that place in our lives again, despite so many "differences."
I see you. I witness you. See?
We are here together.
You're not alone.
Maybe we're not so different after all. We're far more similar to each other deep inside than we are different. We segregate ourselves based upon these made-up ways, but that's not what's real. We don't have to be the same to be able to talk to each other, nor to understand where the other has been. The only card we need to do that is the one that we all already have. It's our humanity binds us all together, and transcends every single way in which we think we're different from one another, or not understood. I've seen this time and time again, I know it, and I believe it.
"A cancer survivor and a suicide attempt survivor with absolutely nothing in common with each other walked into a bar one day and got to talking, and realized they had felt the same pain in their lives, but evolved in the same ways, and came to believe in the same things."
That's not because we're so different. It's because we're all the same inside. We're all human beings.
Remember that, always.