It was the end of my career.

That’s all I could think as I packed my bags to leave my job in Shanghai. I’d sold everything I owned to be there: my home, my car, most of my belongings. I sacrificed time with my family, hours I could have spent enjoying my exotic surroundings, the time I could have spent pursuing my doctorate.

When my bully of a boss issued an ultimatum to me—demanding that I provide him with more, more, more—I knew I needed to take a break. My mental health was at stake as well as my physical health: I hadn’t slept a full eight hours in months. I was constantly being interrupted in my home life to work on another of his “special projects” or helping his manage some aspect of his personal life (arranging dates for him, buying his groceries, cleaning his office and his apartment). I spent hundreds, if not thousands, tracking down specialty food items to keep him happy and purchasing small gifts that would show him he was appreciated.

He was an abusive narcissist and I was his victim.

Losing my job and my home in one quick decision turned out to be the best thing for me this year.

I’m grateful to have had the experience, as traumatic as it was, to see how bad things can be and what I’m able to overcome.

I’ve hit rock bottom and I’m still here, able to thrive and rebuild my life.

After some time away to reassess my career and personal life, I’ve begun to heal and I’m now looking for other job opportunities. I’ve regained my lost health and maintained an exercise regimen.

While my family relationships aren’t yet where I’d like them to be, some of my friendships are stronger and I feel more at peace with most of the decisions I’ve made.

I’m saddened by the things I’ve lost this year but fortunately, I have few regrets about abandoning my job in Shanghai. I’m not done reinventing myself yet, but I know by this time next year, I’ll be able to look back and see just how far I’ve come. I’m stronger now and in my losses,  I’ve gained my self-respect and my dignity.