I think the thing I feel the worst about in 2018 so far is how far behind I feel in my mental health journey. Even though I know that what I’m going through right now is a detour, rather than “falling behind”, the experience isn’t any less bitter. I heard a quote from one of the mental health channels I’m subscribed to (Kati Morton) that grew more comforting and honest the more I read it: “Patience is the kind acceptance that things will not always work out in the order you placed them to”.
A month ago, on new years day, I saw two of the most consequential pillars in my life crumbled in front of me. It’s difficult to describe the emotional and mental hell I went through during those first few weeks without explicating detailing the circumstances leading to that night. Nonetheless, I saw path I had been carving out for myself torn from in between my fingers. This was absolutely and numbingly terrifying. In an instance, I saw my ability to be an autonomous person disappear. I completely lost my ability to continue to pursue my educational and financial goals the way I currently was, and my plans and for the coming years suddenly became impossible as they were. I have over come so much adversity in the past few years of my life, especially this last year, I felt like I had finally settled on something sustainable for the future. I had grown deeply attached to my goals of perusing further education after graduation, paying off my student loans, and becoming more of a truly ‘independent’ adult; these aspirations evaporated as I found myself in a completely foreign reality to the one I had before.
I’ve always proven to myself that I am not someone who gives up easily. In the face of adversity, I will always get back up, pick up the pieces, and try again and again. I have found myself homeless, suspended from school, and crippled by major depression — I fought to stand up after being knocked down each time. To describe what was different this time is to say that there was simply no more ground. It felt as if the very earth beneath me was taken away. There was nothing I could salvage and nothing from my previously reality that I could keep. I have never felt such achingly hollow despair, boiling anger, guilt, and disappointment at the same time. I’ve always been someone who has deeply valued independence, financial and other wise, self-reliance, and education and hard work as a means those goals. I felt that this shattering of my reality truly hit me where it hurt the most.
The first week I found myself filled with a hurricane of emotions that lead to compulsions for self-harm. I truly had not felt this way in years. It was absolutely frightening to experiment my emotions rise like a pot about to boil over. I found myself taking two valiums the first night I was completely alone with myself. That week, I experienced depressive and anxious symptoms at an intensity that I hadn’t experienced in over 6 months. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I lost my ability to concentrate on anything other than the cyclical thoughts that plagued me with anxiety in every waking moment. There were days where I couldn’t stop scrolling through my feeds or put down my phone because I was too anxious and too afraid of my own thoughts. I can’t describe my mind other than it was hell while trapped within my own body. I felt trapped in every sense of the word because I couldn’t talk about what happened with anyone other than my boyfriend, and I was too ashamed to tell even my therapist.
Presently, I still experience depressive and anxious symptoms at a level higher than what I did months ago. My mental capacity to care for myself has gone to shit. I haven’t been able to go to the gym. I miss my appointments. I feel as if I’m completely a different person from the person I’ve worked so hard to become over the past year. My lack of resilience and confidence is an awful cycle and completely disheartening. I wish I could end this with something positive, but my experience has not reaped any benefit or growth for me yet, I’m still in the process of hurting. Until I’m able to see the good in this situation, the only possible next step for me is to be patient with myself.