September is Suicide Prevention Month and Pain Awareness Month.

This month is reminding me that both my mind and body are sometimes (or most times) working against me.

This next March, I will be celebrating (yes, celebrating) 10 years since my suicide attempt.

My mother and I both believe that the fact that I am still here and still fighting my mental illnesses, is something to be celebrated.

But this year, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.

During the flare ups, I have a tendency to tell myself that I am fine. And when it comes to the pain, I am just being dramatic.

Then, I go home and take the world longest, hottest shower and cry sitting on my shower floor.

All while the pain and doubt is happening, my depression and suicide thoughts are circling, just waiting.

I want to get something clear; I have suicidal thoughts but am not suicidal.

But today, I am reminded that when it comes to my pain and depression, all optimism falls short.

I am a natural born optimist and I have the ability to get anyone to believe in themselves to conquer their worst fears and biggest dreams. Which is ironic because the mental illness and Fibro have their own way of taking away that optimism, along with my sanity and drive to do anything.

During this month, I mourn the parts of myself that were able to be active without pain and able to live life not according to a pain scale.

I miss the parts of myself that woke up early and had energy for the coming day and never canceled on plans because of pain or fatigue.

I miss the parts that could rally on after a long weekend with my high energy friends, living life with no regrets.

I mourn that person.

But this month I also celebrate being alive.

I am here to see my younger brother graduate college and go into the seminary. I am here to see my parents buy the house by a lake they will retire at. I am here to be the crazy aunt when my nephew is born and my older brother gets married.  I am alive and screaming at my best friends’ medical/dental school graduations.

And I am here to be loved by everyone who has supported me through all the diagnoses, doctors, medical bills, prescriptions, and mental breakdowns.

Although my body and mind seem to hate me sometimes, here I am still kicking.

As I carry on with this Suicide Prevention and Pain Awareness Month, I will keep telling myself one thing:

I am alive.