Bridge to Recovery

     A bridge stood in front of me - my bridge. The wooden oak planks that covered the bridge were old and unused. At both ends of the bridge stood two short cement pillars which supported the bridge. They stood tall and strong. Two pillars were also in the middle of the bridge so that it wouldn't crumble under the pull of the river. Fields of grain stood on one end and as the wind passed, the grain shimmered in the evening sun. At my end, behind me was a forest that was in flames. The bridge was not very tall but it was high enough that a fast river could pass beneath it. If you were to fall in, you'd never be able to get back up.

     I decided I had to cross. I took my first step and the bridge shook. I stabilized myself and took a second step. The planks creaked underneath my feet. I took my third step and my food broke through the wood. I felt the cold water below pull at my foot. I started to panic but then realized I needed to stay calm. I took a few breaths and pulled my foot up. I wasn't stuck after all. I took my fourth step next, but I was cautious now. Being careful where I put myself, I took the fifth step then sixth step. But on my seventh step, the whole plank of wood broke and almost half of my lower body was submerged in the frigid water. I screamed and reached out for one of the pillars and pulled myself up. I took my eighth then ninth step and I was okay. My tenth and eleventh step. I was so close to the other side that I got cocky. I took my twelfth step, not watching where I was stepping, and my entire body fell through when the plank broke. The only thing that kept me from falling all the way through and being pulled away was the pillar I had grabbed onto as I was falling. My body was freezing and I was about ready to give up when I realized that all my hard work so far to get over this bridge would have been worth nothing. So I put all the strength I had in me and dragged myself with one hand out of the water and back onto the bridge. I took a breath and stood up. I had made it across the bridge. I smiled, feeling confident in myself and began walking. I tripped a few times while making my way through the fields but I always remembered to never give up and even if I fall down, I can still get right back up and walk again.

In this passage, the bridge represents the path to mental health wellness. The pillars represent those who support you and your recovery and help you through it. The river represents what happens if you give up - you will be swept away. You are as strong as you believe you are. If you ever find yourself being pulled down by that river, grab onto a pillar and pull yourself up. The only time that its ever too late is when you are dead. You aren't dead yet. Happiness is still possible.

The following is an essay that was written by an adolescent client who had been struggling with some significant mental health issues. One of the ways she could express herself was through journaling. I was so impressed with the following essay that I asked if I could share it with others struggling with their own mental health issues. I was inspired by this client. I hope this helps to inspire you as well.