This time last year I had no idea my entire life was about to fall apart.
In reality, my life began to crumble into pieces in 2018. Treading water in the ocean where your toes can barely touch and you only have a split second to gasp for air before the next wave crashes down on you. This is the only way I’ve been able to describe what life felt like over the past 2.5 years.
To summarize, the timeline went a little something like this…
Summer 2018 - A close friend I shot herself in the head.
Winter 2018 - The end of my first significant relationship ushered in a resurgence of depression. This brought me to seek therapy which became the starting point of a long, painful, and incredibly difficult period of growth. This was when I realized how poorly I was allowing people to treat me, and how poorly I was treating myself.
Fall 2019 - Dysfunctional family dynamics began to enter a new era of complexity and difficulty. The inner work I had been doing through personal therapy compelled me to take a stand. However, I wasn’t fully prepared to deal with the dynamics effectively. Ultimately, my stand exacerbated the discord.
I felt like I was walking around with a massive flesh wound, but only I could see it.
December 2019 - The mixture of medication management and therapy was beginning to effect positive change in my mental health. However, the experience of a deeply distressing personal incident brought me back numerous stages.
The ground beneath me began to shake and I questioned the very foundation I felt I was beginning to restructure.
March 2020 - I was laid off from my clinical position due to COIVD19. A job I was deeply invested in at a clinic with amazing and inspirational colleagues and friends.
I could feel the sting of the cracks splintering through me.
May 2020 - A loved one I consider my second half became severely ill. Due to the nature of this illness, I knew that this was only the beginning. The end was nowhere near. Whatever emotional and mental fortitude I had left was quickly expelled. But, I had no other choice but to persevere.
The ground began to fall out from beneath me.
June 2020 - The graduation ceremony for my Master’s Degree was canceled. I had been looking forward to this moment for three years. A moment that was incredibly meaningful to me and the members of my cohort who had become like sisters through our shared emotionally overwhelming and INTENSIVE shared experiences. I so desperately wanted to walk across the stage with my graduating sisters because no one knows better how challenging, emotionally depleting, physically and mentally exhausting, and overwhelming it is to experience counselor education.
Salt was being poured in my wounds.
August-October 2020 - I was forced to leave my home and community in search of work. I moved twice and ultimately landed in Denver to be closer to my loved one and job opportunities.
My entire body ached like a migraine as if every inch of bodily tissue was clinging on so desperately tight to prevent me from shattering.
Fall 2020 - I found myself alone in a new city without the support of my oldest and closest friends and confidants. COVID restricted my parents from being able to be physically present and exponentially complicated facilitating appropriate and effective care for my ill loved one.
Winter 2021 - I was isolated, lonely, and terrified. That was how I felt every day. I was jobless and nearing the end of my savings. I felt aimless, questioning every decision I ever made in my life. I was lifeless. Every phone call and text message I received scared the hell out of me. I never knew if the message I was about to receive was going to deliver the news of what I knew was a very real possibility. I never knew if I was about to hear the words that confirmed the nightmares that kept me awake all night and plagued my mind all day. I never knew if I was going to have to learn how to live without my loved one. I never knew if I was going to be able to recover from such a loss.
My darkest days came in January when I thought I was about to lose the last brace that had been preventing me from completely collapsing. I’ll never forget the way this felt. Like I was endlessly falling from the sky. The way your stomach drops when you’ve just passed the apex of a roller coaster.
I knew there had to be light at the end of this century-long tunnel. I had no other options but to push. Push through this mountain of pain. This sea of hopelessness. This desert of anger.
And then, in the Spring of 2021, I did.
And you will too.