You Survived

A letter to those whose mental health made 2020 even harder

by Nada Merghani (she/they)

Welcome to the 2020 Charlotte Pride Magazine! This article is part of the annual Charlotte Pride Magazine, published this year as a special year-end retrospective for 2020. You can see all 2020 Charlotte Pride Magazine content here, as well as finding distribution locations for our limited print run.


Congratulations! If you’re reading this you have survived 2020. Though I definitely think we should, we don’t regard survival or “making it through the year” as a huge accomplishment, but this year was different.

2020 was undoubtedly a difficult year for those of us struggling with our mental health. Political turmoil, pandemic deaths, physical isolation, fearmongering, hate crimes rising, and economic trauma affected most of us this year. These seemingly unending crises and traumas made the already difficult task of navigating life with a mental illness feel unbearable.

But still, you persevered and made it here. Your mental health did not get the best of you. This year you won, emerging victorials over everything working against you because you survived. You have every right to be proud of yourself.

Regardless of how you coped, no matter what you had to do to make it here, in spite of how many times you almost (or did) fall apart, whatever the goals you felt like you didn’t accomplish this year, despite how many times we may have almost lost you — you made it all the way to the end of the year, and I am so proud of you for that.

I want you to take a moment and simply thank yourself for surviving. Thank your body for being the vessel that got you to this point. Thank your soul for guiding you through the chaos that filled this year. Thank your heart for keeping you going. Thank your sense of perseverance for keeping you alive. Even if you didn’t get as far as you wanted to this year, you deserve to spend time thanking yourself rather than feeling guilty.

Many of us are entering 2021 feeling broken down. It’s okay to take some time to lick your wounds. It’s also okay to not be at 100% as soon as 2020 is over. All the trauma we experienced is not going to magically go away when that New Year’s Eve clock hits midnight, the old year passes away, and a new year begins. I hope you find relief in the fact that all the resilience, strength, and conviction you built this year to endure all that trauma isn’t going away either. You are entering the new year as a stronger, more radiant version of yourself.

You are stronger. You are better. You are resilient and have earned skills that will carry you forward. Be forgiving to yourself. Know that you will continue to grow and continue to become better, and know that it’s okay when you don’t feel like you are growing and getting better. Every version of you is valid and loved. Happy New Year!

Do you need support? Schedule a time to talk with the Social Justice Emotional Response Collective at es4sj.org. You can also find other social, support, and health resources in the community resources listings in the back of the 2020 Charlotte Pride Magazine, starting on page 52, in the virtual flip book edition online here.