Progress Not Perfection

Let’s start with the end goal in mind. My resolution for this year was to focus on myself:

My New Year’s resolutions typically relate to my health – I’m going to drink more water, work out multiple times a week, eat healthy, etc. Making that my resolution every year is losing meaning and it isn’t motivation for me to grow as a person. I want this year to mean more, I want to commit to something new – to be myself. To be brave and remain strong through anything that may challenge that. To be fearless with any sacrifices and practice independence. To ignore my anxiety and know that it’s okay to make myself a priority. To overcome any negative thoughts and learn to self-love. To embrace my relationships and make sure that the ones that matter can feel that. To define the line between kindness and being taken advantage of. To dedicate time to something bigger than myself and inspire others. To experience new things and make time for my hobbies. And despite my frustrations and disappointment – to refocus on my career goal by giving my CPA exams my best shot. I don’t expect this to be a fast change or an easy year, but I have the best support system. I have not been myself in as long as I can remember; but I’m so excited to start.

I chose this direction for my resolution because for the first time in my entire life, I was alone. I jumped into relationship after relationship, and for the past 24 years I’ve had roommates and family living with me at all times. I had freshly ended a long-term relationship and knew that I was immediately going to face everything that I had repressed for so long. I had a terrible habit of putting my energy towards distractions rather than solutions for myself, constantly depending on things to work themselves out and admittedly placing blame on others because I was not connected to myself at all. I did not know that the pain I constantly felt was from the inside out, rather than the other way around.

I can tell you that until very recently I constantly felt like a failure when it comes to my end goal. Mentally, I began making poor and irrational decisions that put myself in danger. I began a downward spiral of self-destruction. I put on a happy face anywhere public, but allowed myself to devastate alone because it was the only place that felt safe. My first suicidal thought this year was on my birthday in early March. I received many birthday wishes and loving messages from several people, of which I was so grateful, but I felt lonelier than ever. Feeling alone is such a dominant feeling of mine whether I’m in a crowded place, more personable hangouts with close friends, and as mentioned, even on my birthday when I receive the most attention all year. Constantly, I struggled to find a purpose and the desire to live. I began taking prescribed medication and attending therapy for help working through the remainder of the year. I’m to the point where I think of medication dosage as just a number, because as it creeps higher and higher, my embarrassment gets tougher and tougher to overcome. My mantra is to take life one day at a time, and anything I need to get through the day is just simply that – what I need to get through the day.

If you are using medication and unsure if it is working for you, I’ve found the MyTherapy app to be helpful. You list your medication (with an interactive reminder to help you remember to take it), take surveys at your leisure for tracking, and rate your symptoms for the day. It’s designed to inform you whether the medication is working as it is supposed to for you and point you in another direction if needed. A feature of the app that I haven’t taken advantage of yet is the team feature, you can share your progress with loved ones and your doctor so that they can stay connected and motivate you along the way.

As I reflect, I’ve undoubtedly been knocked down this year. I’ve lost friends and I’ve lost family, I’ve left my job and coworkers to start a new position (a beneficial decision for me aside from losing the daily interactions I had at my previous job), I’ve survived sexual assault, I’ve dealt with family heartaches, I’ve taken on double my financial responsibility when my previous partner moved out and it caused financial hardship for me, I’ve experienced my first peak of mental illness that I’ve handled alone at home. Nevertheless – I am here. That fact puts a smile on my face because as the year was passing I’ve felt so much defeat and disappointment in myself, but I can see now that I’ve actually become stronger and stronger and it was all part of the process. I have this positive outlook for the future that I’ve never had before.

When I look at the person I was at the beginning of this year and the person I am today, I’m inspired to keep fighting.

I owe my appreciation to others as well, there were experiences that have both encouraged me to keep fighting, and at times have made it easier to. I’ve developed an even closer relationship with my mother than I thought possible. I’ve met a friend online that has become very close and dear to my heart. We have been fighting the same fight and have been supporting each other the entire way. In meeting her, I’ve gained two fur-balls that comfort me always. Speaking of new fur-balls, I adopted a second cat, Dakota and along with Delilah they rescue me every single day. I hold a close relationship with roommates from college that constantly let me escape to my careless college-life self that I enjoy being. I’ve met another friend online who has given me the opportunity to cross the border to Canada for my first time and experience a beautiful wedding. She inspires me always and has led me to a healthy coping mechanism, expression. I was able to take part in a friend’s wedding during the summer and discovered a very distant relationship that I have with the groom – very, very distant but it counts to me. I’ve traveled across the U.S. with a friend to California, Arizona and Nevada. It was a life-changing experience that was focused around something I love – nature. I’ve realized how freeing it is to sit and stare off in nature, all problems disappear and my mind is clear. A recent addition to my life is my caring boyfriend who has already inspired me beyond measure. I’ve been able to connect with so many people as I opened up about my mental illness and spend a lot of time prioritizing myself and learning how my mind works. This was the most meaningful year of my life and I’m ready to continue my growth in 2018.

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