• Teresa Santana

When I First Saw The Moon

Welcome! I am Teresa Santana and I believe you are in the right place. I don’t mean where you might be physically sitting or standing wherever in the world you are, but instead by choosing to be here on this post at this point in our lives. Yes, I do mean our lives, because as you may have noticed this is a space made for you and me to journey together the growing steps of recovery from deep dips in mental health and the internal fight against, well, ourselves.

As an avid believer in the idea that we are all just beings of reformed stardust, I have always looked to the sun as my guiding star. I long for it's love and warmth, for it to shine down on me and make me grow. I believed for the longest time that there would never be another source of light that would help me grow like the sun did. I saw histories of sun dancers in my ancestral lineage and looked to them as my proof that the sun's light was to be loved and any darkness was to be feared and rejected. I am of latin descent, about 55%, so through my cultural background I was taught that darkness was something that could be ignored for only the sun exists to make a luminescent world.

As I grew into a young teen, I began to feel my inner darkness creep in. I was being challenged by almost everything from deaths in the family to physical and verbal abuse from my father. As my sophomore year crept around the corner I began to see more cracks and imperfections. I kept more and more of my life in my 5th-floor locker that year than I ever did before. I had blankets for sleeping, cash for food, and extra dress code approved outfits. While it seems straightforward that these items were clearly meant for my use, I loaned away almost everything I had to friends and classmates who I felt needed it more. I took on the role I had been bullied with years before, Mother Teresa. I cared for everyone, but myself. I blamed my lack of sleep on homework when in reality the abuse from my father had taken such a turn CPS removed me from my home. It was humiliating to be at my uncle’s house for 30 days. I felt no one should have to help me because I was hopelessly lost in an abyss.

Just when I thought the worst had come, I was wrong. February 23rd, 2019 rolled around and I was informed that my childhood dog, who had been with me since kindergarten, was being put to sleep. That was the final straw; My will to find the light from my former world left as I began to feel a hot blur transcend my body. I woke up the next morning wearing purple scrubs in a room completely unfamiliar to me. My break was no longer metaphorical, it was mental. I learned more about myself in those 2 weeks in the pediatric psych ward than I had my whole life. I realized my friends and family who were loyal would stay by my side and help me fight the ghost enemy within myself. The concept that I would never see the light of hope tore up my faith and delayed recovery by months. So much so that my junior year in high school was put on pause so I could heal in a residential facility.

I understand now that there can be light in the darkness and my ways of viewing the sun as the only light source is erroneous. Although it took some time, I have finally been able to see the true strength and power humans have, that I have, to heal. I don't believe that these feelings of doubt and stress will magically disappear one day, but I am continuing to practice and treat every day as a new dawning. Somedays I see colors of hope and joy disbursed by prisms in the light, whilst other days are spent looking up at the smallest sliver of the moon form the floor. Through it all, I have the reminders of the good days' illumination and the hope to see many more.

If you are struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please do not hesitate to contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1–800–273-TALK (8255). This is a free, 24/7 confidential service that can provide people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, or those around them, with support, information, and local resources. For more information, call or visit www.suicidepreventionhotline.org

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