Essays

The difference a year makes

May 2018 I had a breakdown. 
May 2019 I have had breakthroughs. 
This is a weird, hard, complicated anniversary for me. I love being open about my mental health and May is #mentalhealthawareness month and ironically, I’ve been super quiet about the subject.

Last May, I had repeated seizures after a family vacation. I didn’t know where I was. I thought I had murdered someone. I couldn’t recognize faces. I was screaming about sexual abuse, abuse I didn’t remember until then.

I went to the hospital where I was given only male nurses. I remember being perched at the top of my hospital bed screaming for the men to get away from me and WHY there were so many men in there.

My journal from the ER is a mix of lucid and deeply fearful ramblings about memories that were coming up.

I spent a week in the inpatient ward in Springdale. A place where the nurses refused to give me contact solution and chided me for not planning ahead. A place where I wasn’t told my treatment plan. A place where the social worker told me to shut up loudly in group therapy then trauma bonded with me.

I came out reborn. I shaved my head. I got a septum piercing. I pulled a Britney. I scared those I loved with the experience.

In the year since, I’ve lost my two best friends. I’ve gained best friends. I’ve flourished. I’ve faltered. I’ve healed. I’ve self harmed.

I’ve grown. I’m radically different. I’m radically the same. I’ve leaned into some healing and I’ve let myself stay in my anger.

I am angry. I am joyful. I am sad. I am fearful. I am happy. I am usually a mix of all of those feelings all at once.

Healing is exhausting. Working through the shit is hard. Often, I wish I didn’t have to.

But the person you see now is a beautiful palate of trauma and laughter and growth and retrograde. I’m beautiful and I am strong and I’m learning to feel safe. Thank you to everyone who’s stuck around this year. Thank you for the understanding when I’m triggered. For the comfort when I’m sad. For all the safe places you’ve created for me. I’m here because I have trusted your love must have some purpose. You’ve watered me as I have bloomed through the shit. I’m so grateful to this existence.

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