Beyond the Blank Page

My Journey to Telling the Untold

Difficult Choices

on September 20, 2016

The last year has been the scariest roller coaster of my entire life. My dad got sick and things went down, but then I started school and things began going back up. I moved out, made new friends, and finally figured out what I want to do with my life. Up, up, up the car went. There were many dips along the way – something I’ve grown used to in my seventeen years with depression – but my life as a whole seemed to be going in the right direction. As most of you know, February brought the biggest downhill ride I’ve ever been on. I lost my dad, and while I was numb and in shock of that loss, I lost one of my fur babies. Somehow I managed to remain in denial and shock through the end of Spring term, pulled out decent grades, and then…well then it all hit me. Hard. In the last three or four months the shock and denial have slowly begun to peel away. The upcoming holidays are making it even harder, but that’s a different story for (potentially) another post.

The point here is that my grief has set in. At times it is like a slow burn – as if someone is pouring hot water on me, but only a little at a time. Other times it is as if someone has dumped a pot of boiling water on me, and all I can feel is heartbreak and pain. In the midst of trying to come to terms with how I would grieve, my old friend Depression settled in comfortably. I couldn’t differentiate depression from grief. To be honest, I still can’t. But that’s part of the point. I am lost in a sea of depression, anxiety, and grieving the loss of my dad. Between insurance issues last year and the crazy schedule of college, therapy pretty much slipped through the cracks. I saw two different people, once each, after my dad died. I didn’t manage to get counselling for my grief and I didn’t maintain a professional support system for my depression and anxiety.

When school started at the end of August I found myself facing a dilemma. Getting up had become a struggle, as had leaving the house and being around people. I could go on with a list of symptoms, but they’re all pretty classic major depressive symptoms. I faced two options – force myself to continue forward, knowing that I may not make it and that even if I did I wouldn’t be capable of doing my best, or take time to get my mental health in order. I love school. I love the future that I have planned for myself. But the truth is, at the lowest points, I have come to dread school and even the thought of my own future classroom lost the sparkle it once had. I didn’t want to fall behind or have to face the questions of those in my life, but more importantly I didn’t want to risk losing it all because I didn’t choose myself and my health first. So that’s what I did. I chose me. I chose the path that would lead me to the professional help I need, to the time to grieve, and to return me to the woman that loves school – both as the student and the teacher. I am taking this year away from school to get healthy, and hopefully I’ll learn a few things along the way.

The decision was a difficult one to make, and I’ve taken my time in announcing it to the world. As soon as I made the choice, however, I felt some of the stress melt away. I knew it was the right thing to do, and I actually found myself excited to take this chance to explore some other things. Writing has always been my passion, but even it had become lackluster as of late. The idea that I would have the time to do NaNoWriMo lit some sort of fire in me, and I found a piece of myself again. I intend to take this time to explore other interests as well. In many ways, this is my last year to truly explore myself and the interests I have never gotten around to pursuing. After this year, I will be on a fast track to my ultimate career goal and hopefully a family sometime down the road as well. Life will become busy, and it will become too easy to make excuses not to try new things. This year will be dedicated to dealing with losing my dad and getting the help that I need, but it will also be used as a time to try new things so that I don’t have to ever look back wondering “what if?”

Right now, I’m just trying to make it to tomorrow. Each day when I wake up, that is my main goal. It may not seem like a lot to others, but it is a struggle I face nearly every day. I have drawn near to God in this time, something I had realized I had been struggling with for a while, and knowing that He has taken just this short amount of time to begin a new work in me tells me that He will accomplish amazing things over the next year of my life. Most of the time I can hardly come up with the words to pray to Him, so I just ask Him to be here, to wrap His arms around me, and I utter “Thy will be done.”

 

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