Guest Post: The Watch & The Tattoo

Alyssa Montague is one of the gutsiest people I know, and I am honored to have her share her heart and thoughts in this guest post for If I Knew Not Midnight:

Multiple high profile suicides this past week have left me with a lot of thoughts and feelings. This morning I wrote some of them down. I’d like to share them with y’all if you’d indulge me.

I adore the Kate Spade brand and it’s meant a lot over the years. The brand’s simple, sophisticated femininity speaks to me and it’s always a bit of a moment when I let myself have a Kate Spade. A few weeks ago I bought myself a present at the Kate Spade outlet near my dad’s house. It’s a watch that straddles the line between practical and whimsical in a way that feels so very me – a scalloped leather band with enough sparkle on the face to be pretty and fun without nearing gaudy or pretentious territory. I love it so much. Today I put it on, and I paused as I turned my wrist over to fasten it. There, under my Kate Spade watch, was my tattoo. I got this tattoo a few years ago to both honor my fight against depression and suicide and, more personally, to provide a very pointed reminder. At the last minute, I will always be reminded to keep fighting.

Seeing my tattoo juxtaposed with this symbol of celebration and joy, my heart broke. My soul has lived the foggy weariness that claimed Kate Spade and others, and I thank anything divine I’m not there right now. But I know so many are still there, wandering in grey, muted desolation and rapidly running out of hope.

Because you might be one of those people, I want to be open about my struggle in the hope that you will know you’re not alone and you’ll know it’s okay. But in case I haven’t been clear, I am mentally ill.

Let me say it again, louder, for the people in the back. I am mentally ill.

There is no reason or catalyst. It’s just part of my beautiful, amazing brain. Most days I function just fine. Some days I don’t. My medication helps and so does my pupper. Therapy had been invaluable to me. And oddly, running. None of those things are magic on their own, but I’m using all of them to make it. And I’m surviving. No, wait. Actually, I’m THRIVING. I have an amazing life with incredible family – both the one I was born to and the one I’ve found and built. I own the anxiety and depression that has impacted me so significantly, but I refuse to allow them to define the core of who I am.

If, like me, you are living with mental illness, I offer you this: you are not alone. Sometimes you feel broken, and that’s ok. It. Is. Ok. It’s not all of you. Not even a little bit. You are a magical sunfish or an opalescent tree shark (™ Leslie Knope). You, in all your brokenness, are beautiful and magical and brilliant. I love you, and I ask you to stay and keep making the world better by being you. Because I promise you are doing exactly that, and we need you.

5 Replies to “Guest Post: The Watch & The Tattoo”

  1. Should have given a “mascara alert.” You are so magical Alyssa. That must be why my heart smiles when we’re together. Could not be more proud of you.

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  2. “You, in all your brokenness, are beautiful and magical and brilliant.”

    Not is spite of.
    Not because you overcame it.
    Not still.
    Just you ARE.

    What a beautiful perspective!

    PS – I love the semicolon tattoo

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  3. I also suffer with depression and anxiety and panic attacks. I have been on medication for 22 years and it has very much improved my life and mindset. In 2016 my sister passed away. We were only 1 year and 4 months difference in age. We grew up at the same re and helped each through difficult times. I miss her madly. My mother passed last year, 2017. I was with her when she took her last breath. I cannot even begin to express how empty I feel inside. So many times I go to call her just to remember she is gone. My Heart breaks every day and I struggle to find peace . I don’t know where to go from here or what to do with this love in my heart I gave to them my whole life. I’m so very lost…..

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    1. Glenda,
      First, may I offer my deepest sympathies for your loss and the pain that has come with it? I can only imagine the utter heartache you feel right now.
      Would you consider talking to a counselor? (I am a HUGE fan of counseling, and my life has been made better for having gone.) Also, many churches have a program called Grief Share that is phenomenal in walking folks through the pain of loss.
      I know you feel lost; you deserve to be found and enjoy a vibrant, fulfilling life. Don’t give up until it is yours!

      Like

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