This story was originally published on The Mighty.

To the people who are struggling right now:

I first want to tell you that you are not imagining this. You are not "insane." There is nothing wrong with you. You are broken right now, yes, but you are also beautiful. You can be both at the same time.


I know right now it seems like nothing will ever be right again. I know it feels like there is nothing good left in this world, like there is nothing worth holding on for.

I know some days all you can do is sit on your bed and cry, and I know it feels like no one understands what you’re going through.

Image via iStock.

I get the crushing weight you feel in your chest, the way your stomach clenches and your hands shake, the way your mind is a whirlwind of thoughts that you can’t even begin to sift through right now.

I understand how your heart aches for no reason, how you feel numb even on the best of days.

I get how you feel alone even when you’re surrounded by a room full of people you used to be comfortable with.

I understand that you’re struggling. Because I’ve been there.

I’ve been at the point where getting out of bed feels pointless, where you want to be locked alone in your room and held by someone at the same time.

I have struggled.

And I am struggling.

And I will struggle for the rest of my life, probably.

But I’m also surviving and living and laughing, which I never thought I’d ever be able to say again.

So to the people who are struggling, I want to say that I know how endless this feels to you right now. And I can’t promise you that one day it will magically disappear and everything will be OK.

But I can say with certainty that it will get better. One day, the weight in your chest will feel a little lighter. And it’ll only take you nine minutes to get up the courage to venture out of your bed instead of 10. And you’ll want to be around people again.

And when you smile, you’ll actually mean it. I promise.

I live in Washington, the state with the first official outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. While my family lives several hours from Seattle, it was alarming to be near the epicenter—especially early in the pandemic when we knew even less about the coronavirus than we know now.

As tracking websites went up and statistics started pouring in, things looked hairy for Washington. But not for long. We could have and should have shut everything down faster than we did, but Governor Inslee took the necessary steps to keep the virus from flying completely out of control. He's consistently gotten heat from all sides, but in general he listened to the infectious disease experts and followed the lead of public health officials—which is exactly what government needs to do in a pandemic.

As a result, we've spent the past several months watching Washington state drop from the #1 hotspot down to 23rd in the nation (as of today) for total coronavirus cases. In cases per million population, we're faring even better at number 38. We have a few counties where outbreaks are pretty bad, and cases have slowly started to rise as the state has reopened—which was to be expected—but I've felt quite satisfied with how it's been handled at the state level. The combination of strong state leadership and county-by-county reopenings has born statistically impressive results—especially considering the fact that we didn't have the lead time that other states did to prepare for the outbreak.

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