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A perfect life is made up of imperfect days

And success is made up of a bunch of lessons learned from failures.

The screw-ups, break-ups, surgeries, traumas, illnesses, natural disasters, losses, and accidents, are all woven into the tapestry called life. They are not events we want to happen but they do. And the best way to come back after any one of them is to learn and grow from it, not bury the feelings that go with these experiences.

Because if your feelings are covered up and buried, you get stuck in a really raw place for a lot longer than you need to.

This is where we build resilience

By feeling our feelings and learning they won’t kill us if we let them in, reflect on them and then watch them lift because all feelings are temporary. The intense feelings last 60-90 seconds. And when they lift, you can distract yourself. The trick is to learn to let them in first.

When my son was depressed and doing drugs, my life was chaos and I was desperate, helpless, and sad but with each calamity, and there were a lot of them, the initial feeling of shock was always the same but with each experience, recovery happened more quickly. Embracing humility and building resilience weren’t my goals but these character traits were the result.

I learned to pick myself up from the mud, wash off the humiliation, apply a bandage to the hurt, and move forward.

For five years, our family was chaos. And I was an emotional wreck as I watched my kid self-destruct despite all the barriers we threw up and the help we hired.

I hated what we were going through but I had no choice but to go through it. I was not going to abandon my child. And the experience changed me in so many good ways. Not that I saw that at the time.

The string of imperfect days stretched out into years

And in that time, my son would be diagnosed with anxiety and depression, become addicted to drugs, and kill himself in 2015.

That five years of agony from 2010 to 2015 looked like a picnic by the ocean with chocolate cake once I lost my son. I never even imagined an ending so horrific or pain so unbearable.

What’s surprising is that as bad as it all was, and it was brutal, it wasn’t all bad. It was hard to see the good things happening around me, and to be grateful for what I did have and I learned to make sure those wonderful moments were savored and tucked away in my memory bank.

I learned to be in the present, to stop projecting and hovering over a future that had not happened. Because even if I predicted everything that did happen, pre-worrying about it has never helped anything.

These are the skills I learned because the desire to find a path forward and thrive again was my bait.

Real life is messy, beautiful, ugly, and then beautiful again.

A perfect life? If you define it by all that we endure then yeah that’s a perfect life. Because the definition of a “perfect life” as being flawless doesn’t exist.

Life has struggles. That doesn’t make life “bad.” Those hard times just make it easier to recognize what’s good.

Published by

AnneMoss Rogers

AnneMoss Rogers is a mental health and suicide education expert, mental health speaker, suicide prevention trainer and consultant. She is author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW. She raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost her younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. She is a motivational speaker who empowers by educating and provides life saving strategies and emotionally healthy coping skills. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now that's the legacy she carries forward in her son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website.

4 thoughts on “A perfect life is made up of imperfect days”

  1. Anne Moss, Adam’s Story, just posted on face book a story of sharing and caring from Dr. Sara Azzam, M.D., our Allergy Doctor. During one of our routine visits, I had left a resource packet with Crisis Line numbers and how to know the signs of mental health crisis/suicide. Just a couple days later at the clinic, an individual went into a crisis mode and Dr. Sara was able to use the Johnson County Mental Health Crisis Line number to get help for that individual. On my next visit Dr. Sara and her staff shared this story with me, what a feeling of accomplishment and praise. Sometimes we feel no one gets it! As Adam’s father, I continue to receive more than I can ever give, even when growing weary in well-doing, God knows our hearts and our needs, even in those dark and foreboding days the ones present and to come He is with us, protecting us, using us to fulfil His purpose. From Me to You, You continue to be a friend and blessing.
    Keeping the Faith,

    1. One little mention. One little number. Had HUGE results. And just think of the awareness you built there in your son’s name. You know it’s the start of allergy season and one of the theories is that suicidal thoughts are activated by spring allergies. We don’t know for sure but it’s one of two. Thank you for what you do!

  2. Great read , I feel like I am in the recovery state of 8 years this July since my son left ! How can that be ? I remember the pain back then , I believe I have softened and aware how I have changed for sure , I think of my son every day his birthday is this month he would have been 30 ! How can all of this be?
    Thank you Anne for posting and sharing your thoughts I look forward to learning when I read your post !

    1. Thank you for commenting Wendy. My son’s birthday is also this month, April 26. He would have been 28. My son died 7.5 years ago. It does seem like yesterday and then so long ago at the same time.

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