The past decade (my 20s) tested me in ways I never knew could be possible.
I’d always assumed that if I checked all the right boxes, life would click into place.
When I started college, I began to struggle with mental health issues, but didn’t know how to describe them. I experienced crippling anxiety and stress and for the first time, I found myself failing classes. I tried to seek help, but didn’t know where to turn. Terms like “therapy”, “counseling”, and “mental health” had not yet entered my vocabulary, those were things reserved for “crazy” people.
I worked even harder, my grades cycled a little bit, I met my first boyfriend, the love of my life. My grades went up! Then we hit a rocky patch, I found out he was on drugs, he lied to me, life become a roller coaster. That was followed by emotional and sexual abuse and him breaking up abruptly with me and leaving me with these haunting words: “You’re ugly and so weak that you wouldn’t even be able to hold a baby if we had one”. A few days later, I lost the job offer I had lined up post-graduation due to the financial recession. With just two months left until graduation, I realized I was failing two classes. These series of events was too much for me to handle and I tried to commit suicide. That was in 2010.
I went to mandatory therapy so I could return to class, felt a little better, even managed to graduate with my class.
Things improved, I started a business, began to earn six figures, met my husband. Then in 2015, I suddenly lost my contract, my clients threatened to sue me, and I was depressed for over a year after. Only then, after moping and Netflixing all day, when I was seriously contemplating having a child, did I decide to give voluntary therapy a try.
My mindset shifted dramatically and for the first time in a long time, I began to love myself again. I began to believe in myself again.
In 2017, after my daughter was born, I almost lost my life while giving birth. After that, I was separated from my family and experienced postpartum psychosis – a condition in which you literally lose your mind and can’t separate your incessant thoughts from reality.
This week, I was caught in a flood, and had to run out of my car in a lightning storm to escape the rushing waters. I survived, a little shell-shocked, but still fully intact.
With all of these experiences and challenges, I started to question all aspects of my life: How could I trust myself again? How could I learn to love myself again? How could I show myself self-compassion? How could I love and trust the world again? I’m still on this journey, but I now know that I am on a permanent upward trajectory.
Somewhere along this rocky road, I decided:
I’m not going to wait around for the next tragedy or challenge to strike. I’m going to make lasting changes and write my own story (instead of letting the world and life write them for me).
I have been gradually transforming my life and am now living my life openly and vulnerably. Every day, I:
- Sit in gratitude and write what I’m thankful for
- Appreciate my body and treat it with respect (healthy eating, consistent exercise – I went from not being able to walk a mile to running half-marathons) and living an active lifestyle
- Recognize that its not shameful to get help and support when you need it and actively seek out that support through therapy and life coaching
- Surround myself with deep, loving friendships and set boundaries as needed
- Remind myself to be mindful (present in the moment) in whatever activity I am doing
- Recommit to curiosity and learning – daily reading and writing
- Realize that I want to give back to the world
- Continue my journey towards “Happy for No Reason” [Marci Shimoff]
Today, I AM…
- A loving mom, who cherishes each moment with her daughter
- A loving, caring wife, who strives to improve her relationship with her husband each and every day
- An entrepeneur, who’s trying to make a difference in the world
- A human – who has both good and bad in her, and I try to improve a little bit everyday.
- Becoming a more open soul and a writer who hopes to share my lessons with anyone who can benefit from them through more love and compassion across family and work.
I hope the beginnings of my story inspire you to continue yours.
With much love,