Two years ago today, I was lying in a hospital bed. One of my friends had brought a small Christmas tree, and I honestly remember more than I want to, yet nothing at the same time.
I wish I had thought ahead enough to emotionally prepare for this, but I didn't. It's been a bit of a wild semester.
My best friend texted me tonight, telling me she read my blog for the first time and found it to be encouraging. That's all I've ever wanted for this blog to be. Her texting me tonight was a bit of a God-thing. I've been sitting in a sick twist of anxiety all day, waiting for tomorrow to come and smack me in the face. I think last year, I was too in shock to process it all. And I've honestly been trying to figure out what I want to say, and I find that I have no words.
My chest hurts. Thinking about my hospital stay in the ICU is something that's still incredibly traumatizing to me. A lot of people don't realize I was awake for almost all of it. I remember a lot of what happened. I remember the jarring amount of physical pain. I remember the overwhelming sense of panic and anxiety. I remember seeing my mother look scared. If you've never seen your mother look scared for your life, it's not something I recommend.
Two years ago today, I didn't know what would come in only a few short hours. I wouldn't know that I would have a seizure, that I would code.
That term has been hitting me pretty hard lately. I've grown a lot as a human in the past few years, and as my understanding of the world deepens, sometimes I think that my pain does as well. I put new words to old wounds.
And you know, it's funny, I still don't really talk about what happened. If I'm forced to, it's like my entire brain shuts down. Cue Windows reboot sound.
I can talk about other things now, though, and I think it's a start. I put some adult words to a relationship I had in the past. My best friend was the first person I told with the new words. As I was telling her, I realized the words I was saying. The horror and realization on her face matched the horror I felt inside at the realization. I remember the way we both froze when I barely was able to choke out the words, "He said he would kill himself if I left."
I'm shaking even now.
Why is this so hard to talk about? My brain is like a stubborn GPS that keeps rerouting me, even though I know exactly where I need to go and it's not taking me there.
I know my brain is trying to protect me, but right now, I don't want it. I want to just feel.
As a twenty-one year old now, I'm facing the mortality crisis of someone much older than I. One, that I remember my professor saying he wished we would not have to face for sometime yet, when we were talking about the book of Ecclesiastes.
It brought me pause. My therapist and I had a long conversation about it.
I'm a twenty-one year old young woman, who is faced with her own mortality.
Mortality crises are not fun, by the way.
Other people may call them existential crises, but I mean that in a very serious way, not the way many joke about it now.
I call them Mortality Crises. Existential crises are more, "What's the purpose of my existence? What am I here to do?"
Mortality Crises face the consequences of mortality:
What's actually going to happen when I die?
Is there true a heaven?
Will I just... cease to exist?
What do I actually believe in about the after-life?
What about my family?
Everyone is just going to die, so what's the point?
And if there's no point, why should I care?
And if there's no point, why should I care?
That's been hitting me a little bit harder than I would like it to.
And it's something I'm working on a whole lot.
I'm learning to treat myself like a friend, instead of an enemy, and it's been really difficult. But I've seen a lot of progress.
In the past six months, I've gone from wanting to kill myself to being happy to be alive and loving my life.
I've had a lot of breakdowns, in and out of therapy, and I've had a lot of breakthroughs.
I did a vision board this year, and my word for the year was breakthrough. I didn't expect quite so many, but I am so grateful I've had so many. It's been an exhausting semester. But, in a good way. Here in a few weeks, I'll show off my vision board from 2021, and maybe the one I'm going to make for 2022 (we'll see, I'm undecided) and I'll walk through some of it, and describe the goals I had for myself, and how a lot of them came to fruition on accident.
Some didn't come to fruition, and to be honest, that's okay.
I've learned a lot since I've started at DBU. I've learned what it looks like to lose my religion, and not in a cliché kind of way, but in a "everything is a lot clearer now" kind of way. People are still lost and hurting, and so am I, but there is peace and calm to be found in realizing you aren't alone. And there's peace in realizing that your pain isn't your fault, and maybe, just maybe, there's something wrong with the church that told you it was.
How corrupt is our beautiful, beautiful world? How much more harm can we cause? Is that our goal as Followers of Christ? To hurt people?
Funny, we don't seem to be very good at showing that.
Do you drive by the homeless people, saying it's a scam, that it's been proven, that they just will go buy drugs? Do you insult other generations and only believe in extremism? Do you beat and throw out your children for being gay? Do you make snide comments about how people from Mexico should "go back to where they came from?"
Did you know, that there are four groups of people in the Bible that God has specifically tasked us to care for, that we don't?
Deuteronomy 10:18 NKJV
He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing.
Deuteronomy 15:11 NKJV
For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’
Hm. Food for thought.
The orphaned, the widowed, the foreigner (the stranger in this translation), and the poor.
I just think life is to short to be so hypocritical and mean. Why can't we just love people? How much better would the world be if you just chose to love everyone, regardless of their status or their sin? It would have a ripple effect.
And if you read that and don't think you're doing any of those things, you might need to check yourself, friend. You may not do those things specifically, but everyone is hateful towards others in someway. So, take a deep breath and grab a pair of tweezers to pull that splinter from your eye.
All that to be said, I've changed a lot. In good and bad ways.
I'm far from perfect, and a lot of days, my heart is heavy as I'm trying to sort through the mess of emotion that always seems to be a part of me, but I'm better. I'm not really carrying that raincloud around anymore, you know? It's still raining a little bit, at least to me, but it's getting better. And maybe the rain will never truly stop, and if that's the case, maybe I'll get some extra help, but as for right now, I'm able to sit in it and marvel. It's pretty, don't you think?
I think a lot of the time, we just want to be heard and understood. Actually, I think a lot of the time, we want to be heard and helped sort out our emotions. And honestly, therapy is just learning how to better communicate with yourself. If you just said or thought, "Well, I communicate with myself just fine" that's probably a sign you might therapy a bit more than you think you do.
I've come a really long way in a few short months. Especially when it comes to my mental health. I had to leave my job because of stress and scheduling. I was literally had no time to rest. When I wasn't working or at school, I was doing homework or chores, or cooking, or running errands, or... and so on. I've made friends at school, I've passed all of my classes, and I'm honestly so relieved to be on break. I'm applying to an internship with Chrystal Evans Hurst, which I'm extremely excited about and really hope that I get, and I'm already making plans for moving out and grad school.
And, for the first time in a long time, I'm happy. I'm excited.
Truly, down to my core, excited.
And it makes me cry, feeling that way. I think I'd forgotten how to be myself. And, honestly, there's been a lot of work that's gone into getting her back again. I've seen glimpses of the girl I used to be. I know I'll never been her again, but I'm slowly gluing the pieces back together, and I'm recognizable again. I actually recognize myself again.
And it's funny, because I never realized that I didn't. Until one day, it just hit me. "I don't know who she is. I don't know what I'm doing. I don't want anything."
I had no ambitions, no goals, and honestly, life really just kept kicking me in the face while I was down. And now, I'm dreaming again. I'm writing, I'm laughing, I'm smiling, I'm being obnoxious about Christmas again.
I feel like I'm still not remembering things the best, and maybe my hormones are off, and my body hurts just a little more than it should, but...
I feel like me again.
And it's freeing.
And you know, I've lost a relationship or two over the past while, but I don't really care. Maybe I should care more. Do I still think about them? Absolutely, and I wish them well. But, I also recognize how poorly they treated me, and how poorly I responded. I'm learning to realize that I deserve to be happy. I deserve to be treated well. I deserve to be treated like I'm someone worth loving.
I have that now. I'm meeting people who love me for me, and who care about me so much. I wish I had the words to thank them, and they know who they are.
If you're interested in hearing about what happened to me in the ICU, I was on this podcast awhile back. The Earls are some family friends of ours, and after that experience, I was actually asked to go onto Mr. Earl's podcast. It was a really moving experience for us both.
I keep getting sidetracked. I literally just stopped for like an hour to make plans to go see Spiderman (yes, I think the hyphen looks stupid) again with one of my friends.
Life is getting better, and it's really nice to finally be able to see it. Maybe I'm not where I wanted to be, but I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.
Life is short. Love people, and learn to love yourself.
If there's one thing I wish I could have told that scared nineteen-year-old version of me, it would be this:
"It's okay to be scared. But, it's going to be okay. You're going to be happy, and you're safe. It doesn't feel like it right now, but don't lose your sunshine, sunshine. And love people without abandon. It's okay if it hurts. It's worth it."
Life is always worth it.
It's always worth it.
So, take a deep breath and put your next foot forward.
You've got this, sunshine. I'm rooting for you.
Currently Reading: Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
Currently Watching: Hawkeye
Currently Jamming To: Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture, TH 42, performed by Leonard Bernstein and New York Philharmonic, written by Peter Tchaikovsky