It’s that time of year where I start to look back and reflect on the previous months. It’s so hard to try and put 2020 into coherent words. This year has been particularly intense for myself and the rest of the world. The collective has gone through a trauma together: Covid.
Covid has been an equalizer. It has been an eye opener, too. People show their true colors in times of crisis. And for a lot of America, those true colors look like selfishness, greed, hatred, and willful ignorance. I have been horrified by people’s behavior. Continuously. It has been heartbreaking. This whole process has taken my naivety and slapped me in the face with it.
This year has been layered with crises for me personally and now I’m left trying to piece my life back together, again. I faced a health crisis that was major and unrelated to Covid. A health crisis that has demanded a career change. A health crisis that has left me unemployed, like so many are right now. It has lead to a total overhaul of what my life looks like from now on. I have found myself in a slow-paced battle for my life. If I do not make major changes, I will not live to an old age and will have a poor quality of life.
The core root of this medical crisis? Chronic, severe stress. Courtesy of my PTSD and the hyper vigilance that comes with it. It has left me depleted on all levels and I now must start completely anew. I have to unlearn all of my old coping mechanisms because they are hurting me, not helping me. I have to unlearn a lot of things. And I have to learn even more. I have studied PTSD relentlessly since my diagnosis. And there’s still so much left to learn. It’s such an expansive, all-consuming disorder.
This year came with major truths that will ultimately help me, but they are difficult to digest. It turns out I’ve likely had PTSD since I was about 11 years old. And every minor trauma along the way added another layer into the complexity of my PTSD. So there’s a lot more that I need to rifle through with my medical professionals, which is exactly what I’ll do.
The most important lesson I have learned this year is the necessity of self care. The majority of the issues I deal with are a direct result of my self neglect. Which is a tough pill to swallow. No one wants to admit they’re the root problem in their own life. But it is a truth I must face if I ever want to improve. It is time to stare directly into my flaws and find ways to lovingly heal them. I’m learning how to be kind to myself and understanding the significance of self love.
It is that knowledge that has lead me to changing my career. I was not happy in my previous career and felt trapped and the future didn’t feel like something I was excited to be heading toward. I didn’t believe I had the skills or the grit to go through the necessary changes. So I sat and festered in my discomfort for far longer than I should have. I did this until I made myself sick and my body forced a change. My body put me in time out and forced me to change my perspective. So, I listened.
I ultimately feel empowered by this new knowledge I’ve come across. I feel empowered by the fact that I have faced these hard truths and have taken the necessary action to improve my situation. I’m going back to school starting in January. For the first time in my life, I have made a major investment in myself and my future. And it’s been energizing and empowering, while also being exhilarating and terrifying.
I am excited to see where this all leads. I’m excited to continue my healing journey. For the first time in my life I am proud of myself and how much I have grown this year. So while it’s been one of the hardest years of my life, it has also been one of the best. I’m grateful for all of the opportunities that have presented themselves this year and I’m grateful that I took the time and energy to invest in myself for the first time ever.