Its kind of strange when you come out of an exceptionally long and hard trial. I write this while sitting in my new home as my two new cats run joyfully through the room. The brand new dishwasher is running and I can smell the aroma of the soap as it comes through the doorway to my room which adorns a fireplace. My college degree is resting on the mantle (my most prized accomplishment to date apart from my children). Its quiet. The house, my head, my heart and my soul are quiet.
My hair has grown back since the stress has waned and I’m starting to think that maybe just maybe I can do this more autonomously as I had previously anticipated. Of course no man is an island but the logistics of it all dont seem as outlandish as I had imagined.
I started back at my old job at the hospitals psychiatric unit and I can’t tell you how great that feels. Not only that, but as I sat at my laptop the other night picking out healthcare plans and dental and vision and retirement I couldn’t believe it. For a moment, I just sat back and thought to myself “I am back where I started in 2006. Im back on the psychiatric unit, I have my own benefits and my own place. I made it through”. The most amazing part of being back to work is reception I received from my coworkers and the sincere “its so great to have you back. no, really, I’m not just saying that I am so happy to see you”. What a ride its been these last 12 years.
I was cleaning out the pictures on my iPhone today and as I scrolled through the pictures of this last year I realized that what I had just been through was so much harder than I even noticed in the moment. I scrolled through pictures of air mattresses in basements, and the pictures of when all my hair fell out from stress and the sparkle that had been gone from my eyes and I just tried to hold on knowing I had three kids depending on me. I had no choice but to survive. There were days I would just sit and wonder why it was all happening to me. There were days I would have to convince myself that living at my parents on the air mattress was actually a blessing (which it really was trust me but sometimes thats hard to see in the moment). There were days I questioned if I would ever pull myself out of that dark place that I had found myself in. I had, afterall, lost everything right down to my hair. But there was something I hadn’t lost and that was hope and faith. Those were the two things that kept me going.
When I would waiver, I would jump on facebook and look at furniture that people were giving away and occasionally I would pick something up and put it in the storage unit in preparation for the new place I was hoping for.
Slowly, I began to see that I could live without him. I learned how to check my own oil and navigate my way around technology amid the pandemic with zoom meetings and the like. It took me a long while to get back to work. When I resigned from my position in applied behavioral analysis back in may (because my hair was falling out) I knew I was in no way ready to work. Besides, the court dates had begun rolling in and my doctor had written me an order to stay off. In november I finally felt ready. I, on a whim, texted my former boss and here I am today. Back to work and thriving.
I remember telling someone that “the hardest part of all of this the not knowing where I am going to land at the end of all of this. Where I will live or who I will even be. I don’t want to end up cold and bitter.” Well, now that I am here in my home I have to say, I am doing better than I have in a long long time.
My kids are happy because for the first time they all have their own rooms. My daughter, whenever anyone comes over simply must show them her room. She’s 7.
I gave Aiden the master bedroom which I plan to make into a sensory room to help sooth him. I plan to put up a swing for him and add some lighting among other things. The community we live in also has a pool that is open to its residents which is awesome because Aiden loves to swim so that gives us something to do in the summer months.
One thing I realized through this entire year was that everything I needed was somehow provided. Be it sleep, food, finances, someone to talk to it didn’t matter. Somehow it all just worked out. I learned that anxiety fixes nothing, what fixes things is patience, diligence and preparation. There was no luck in my situation. I did the work to get here. I faced the hard times to get here. I faced the immense fear to get here. I had to face it head on and trust me it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t charismatic but sometimes its not how you get there its that you get there. I am not angry about this last year and its happenstances, I’m actually a bit thankful, This last year had to happen to show me what it means to truly be thankful and not just for the good things but for all things. Had this year not happened I would not have found the parts of myself I never knew existed. You see, all my life I had seen my self as a weak person because Im a sensitive person. I would look up to strong women and think “I wish I could be like her. I wish I could do what she does. She’s so solid and strong”. But after this year I learned that being sensitive is not a weakness. And now, even if I don’t talk loud or I don’t know how to fight or be scrappy I’m just as strong as those women I admire. My strengths are just different and I am not weak or insignificant as I had previously thought. What an amazing year of growth.
P.S. You don’t know how precious hair is until you lose it. 😉 when i say I lost it I was completely bald 6 months ago so you know these pictures are recent he he My hair is growing with me.