The kids I work with have had all kinds of problems in their short lives. Most of them do have parents and do know their parents, but they have been removed from their families because of the toxic environment they lived in. Some of them have been abandoned by their parents or their parents were only using them to get money. Whatever the situation, there's one thing that most of these kids all have in common: they live in fear.
Let me explain that. These kids are so abused by mom or dad (or sometimes mom AND dad) that they spend their lives like little caged animals. These kids are constantly afraid that anything they do could make their parents want to beat them, or a certain time of night could make them want to hide because they know their abuser is coming. Even kids at institutions like the one I work in have this problem is the institution is not doing a good job with providing a safe environment.
These kids are dominated by fear. In order to break them out of that shell, caregivers (like myself) have the task of helping them feel safe. We do that by creating a safe environment for them. We have a kid here that is new, and he's great when he's having one on one time with the caregivers, but he recently met the kids from the afterschool program that we host and started acting out. Why? Because he knows the caregivers, he knows he's safe with us, but he doesn't know if that's the case with the other kids.
Fear is the greatest master these kids have. Once they feel safe in an environment, they can begin to let fear go and it won't have dominance over them.
Well this made me think of you guys, you RAIM kids as we like to call you. You guys live with a fear of tomorrow, it scares you so much that when night comes it brings thoughts of suicide. Or there's fear that people will categorize you due to your mental illness because almost everyone has done so before. Or the fear that if you are careless for one second, someone might notice your scars, or find your pills, or your blades. Or the fear that if you make an attempt at recovery you will fail, because it has happened many other times before.
I'm not saying those are the cases for all of you, all I'm saying is that all of you are living in fear somehow. A lot of your actions are dominated by fear too. I've gathered that from conversations with some of you. Here's what I have to say about that:
Faith, my best friend, has had huge struggles with fear her entire life. Up until last year, fear was kind of like her master, but she has learned to fight it like a boss. I never struggled with fear, until last November when something happened that changed my life forever. Since then fear has tried to make itself my captain, but I refuse to give it power. (I have Faith and God to thank for that)
Don't ever let fear make you afraid, to live IN fear and to live WITH fear are two different things. When you live with fear, you can make fear your roommate, your friend even. In this case, fear is just your pathway to courage. But when you live IN fear, it consumes you and dominate you. Do not give in to fear, you can have fear, but you don't have to be afraid.
You don't have to live in fear. Fear will tell you that life is hopeless and that there is no point in being alive tomorrow, but that's the moment when you have to choose hope. No matter the situation, there is always hope. And fear will tell you that recovery is useless, you've been down that road before and you haven't made it. But the one thing that is always foggy in our minds is how strong we really are. You have to keep trying and trying, because someday you WILL make it.
Fear will tell you lots of things and they will all be lies. I promise. Do not be afraid of throwing out your blades, they don't own you. Don't be afraid of flushing away your pills because you think you'll need them later, you won't. You're thinking that you will, but you truly won't. Don't be afraid of asking for help because of what everyone else might think, who cares? Asking for help does not make you weak, no matter what anyone says, asking for help is a sign of strength. We are foolish for thinking we can make it on our own. Don't be afraid of having one more bite, your body needs the energy and the nutrition. And whatever you do, always choose hope and faith over fear, because when you feed these two, you weaken the dominance of fear over you.
I'm going to leave you with a few of my favorite quotes on fear. Also, you can read Dear Fear and Fear, some of Faith's best blog posts on the subject. She's actually the expert on this, I promise.
"Feed your faith and fear will starve to death" - One of you tweeted this once :)
"Courage isn't the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear." - Ambrose Redmoon
"Becoming fearless isn't the point. That's impossible. It's learning how to control your fear and how to be free from it." - Veronica Roth, Divergent
"Once fear takes you captive, it doesn't let go. Let fear invade you once and it will have you for life unless you do something about it. So you can have fear, but you don't particularly have to be afraid. Being afraid is recognizing that fear has some kind of power over you, it is you giving it the authority to violate your volition." - Myself in one of my blog posts
~ Diana :)