six years ago
Six years ago today, I begrudgingly took the first step in my healing journey by entering inpatient psychiatric care. It was a Thursday.
Since my stay in care, I have not attempted or planned a suicide attempt. I have not written a suicide note in six years. Sometimes I forget what a huge deal that is. I know how to avoid killing myself today. I don't need alcohol or cocaine to make me feel better. I love nourishing my body with healthy food and pizza.
Year six was a tough one, folks. It started with being sick and my marriage sucking, and ended with OG's heartbreaking death. Though it was easily the most tumultuous year I've had since 2012, it was also the most beautiful. There was a giant puddle of mud, and out of it, a fucking garden of lotus flowers grew. No mud, no lotus.
Being alive is very cool and sometimes quite painful. That's part of it. Pain is simply a passing moment. It's been easier to buy into that as I have begun observing my pain in a new way. I spent time in both physical and emotional pain this year. I felt it. I can't tell you how grateful I am that I felt every minute of it.
I felt angry when I needed to feel angry. And feeling angry did not mean sounding aggressive. Jonny and I had a lot of long talks about whether or not we wanted to be married. I had to take a few five-minute breaks so that I could go break pencils and cry for a moment before returning to the conversation with a rational mind. We did not raise our voices or stand up during any of our conversations. We were sitting down, facing each other, even if we couldn't yet look at each other. I was pissed. Our only rule was: always come home. I texted my brother every other day to ask him if I could come stay with him. But we always came home. I'm so grateful and so proud of us. It was really hard.
I meditated, I played with buttons, I screamed in my car. I went to therapy and just cried and yelled. I ate a lot of donuts and really started leaning into food to change the way I felt. I read my book a bunch of times (I can't wait for you to read it, too!).
In July I spent seven days in the hospital because we thought I had epilepsy. I don't. I had a deep underlying anxiety that I was not willing to look at. I had other things to focus on and I just forgot that I had a lot of shit that I didn't feel like dealing with. It took us five months to really know what was going on. I got concussions, made trips to the ER, hurt myself falling down the stairs. I was just passing out fucking everywhere. That brought me a lot of pain. I couldn't go to work, drive, walk upstairs when no one was home. It was weird, to say the least.
I am so grateful for that experience. It's been nine months since I last fell. I hadn't counted out the months until I just went to type that, so now I'm crying. It was not a cool time. It was also totally amazing. I read a shit ton of books, I wrote a lot, I asked people for help. I couldn't hide this. There wasn't anything I could do about it yet and I was a liability everywhere I went. So I had to fucking own it. Not easy. I cried and screamed and yelled about that, too.
Existential angst is in the DNA of my everyday. I got curious about my spirituality in new ways. I played with it like I was solving a rubix cube. I was so mad at the world. I thought I was doing everything right. Praying was a regular thing. I just needed to be really mad at someone. So I got really mad at source/universe/oneness, and I had a thing or two to say about this bullshit. Yelling at the universe felt good. I'm not into the idea that anyone is listening. It's just about the energy I feel when I say it out loud, directly to the grander scheme of things.
September and October were two huge months of catching my breath. I had done everything right. I graduated from college, got a job, got a house, got married, got promoted. I was doing all of the things and I was loving it. It felt so good. There was never a moment that I didn't love it.
And then I got sick and things took a turn. I was really sad all the time and I lost some of my light. Completely out of nowhere. For no reason. Though my life is beautiful beyond belief today, this shit was not fate.
I rested in September and I began coming to my senses in October. As soon as Jonny and I had our first shitty relationship talk, we emailed the therapist we'd gone to for premarital counseling (we came up with a d-word action plan before we got married - 3 months of therapy).
Jonny is getting better at self-compassion and mindfulness than I am. We have had amazing conversations and we talk about parts of the future that we are worried about. We respect each other as individuals. We remind each other to come back to breath, and we communicate our needs instead of trying to read each other's minds. His journey through this year has been admirable and inspiring. He embraced his own community, he cried, he asked for help. I asked him to write about it for me so that I can share it with all of you.
Friends started coming into my life as soon as I opened my heart to community. I'd been pretty isolated while I was sick. No one understood what was going on. I didn't understand, doctors didn't understand, it was so confusing. There was so much going on I couldn't keep everyone on the same page. I was tired of telling six people the same story every day. There were two women that really held me through that process and kept me from going totally crazy, even when I didn't want to see anyone.
New opportunities to put myself out there started presenting themselves. In therapy, Jonny and I were asked to really think about what we want our lives to look like. We got really clear on our values. One of those values is relationships. We take our values very seriously, so I had no choice but to start focusing on relationships.
I want to be around people I want to be like. So I started surrounding myself with those people. I asked my friends to invite me to parties/rallies/talks so I could meet people. And I met a lot of people! I am surrounded by powerful women and I am a powerful woman. It is amazing how much pretending to be confident can accomplish. It helps me actually feel confident! I forget that I'm pretending.
I went on a very healing women's retreat, and I'm going on another one soon. I am allowing myself to be seen by women. Discussing spirituality and truth with people I love makes my heart beat stronger. My dear friend and fountain of inspiration (Liz, thank you for sharing your healing with me) gave me the gift of my mantra for this coming year. I am worthy. This is what I need.
My long-held truth that life is meaningless and insignificant has begun to make yet another evolution. I am connecting with the things that tether me to my existence and make me feel good. This journey has led me towards a path of exploring the metaphysical with an open and willing heart. I can't wait to tell you more about it.
I experienced emotions and energy in a way I never have. As a result, I have discovered on a new level just how fucking powerful and resilient I am. Using the tools I have gathered from brilliant people over the last six years, I walked through this storm with certainty. I was absolutely certain that I would get through it.
I had no doubt that my life would feel lighter, and it does. Today is a big day, and I am full of gratitude. Six years ago, I wished my dad a happy birthday (happy birthday, pops!!), and I walked through the doors of a psychiatric hospital. That twenty-year-old girl was skeptical and pissed off. I am honoring her today by getting all of the hugs she was too afraid to ask for. Sweet, precious, beautiful girl, you do not have to end your life to finally breathe.