In 2015, I moved back to my hometown and in these past two years, I have been challenged more than I can say I have ever been. My thoughts have been circling for some time, and I don’t pretend to have closure and tie everything up with a pretty bow, but I’ve learned a few things from an eventful 24+ months.
I didn’t know it then but when mental illness hit my family, our lives were forever changed. We were all in uncharted waters, trying our best to ride out each unpredictable wave. For the sake of privacy, I won’t disclose who/what the diagnosis is. But as a loved one, I struggled with feelings of guilt, sadness, and shame. I felt guilty for trying to live a life, for ejecting myself out of stressful situations, for wondering, “Why not me instead?” This is an internal struggle I still face every single day. But to best take care of people we love, we must first take care of ourselves. Every time you’re on a plane, the flight attendant instructs you to put your oxygen masks first in case of an emergency. If you don’t, being unconscious won’t help anyone. I love this person more than life itself. It clashes with my instinct, but I‘m learning to put on my oxygen mask first.
Break-ups suck. They really do. You’re going to have moments you wish you could take back, text messages you wish were never sent, but somewhere down the road it will all be okay. It’s not the umpteenth article you’ve read, or a certain advice from a friend that will get you over the hump, it’s time. And don’t beat yourself up over it. There’s no protocol — everyone goes at their own pace. But on a random day, you’re going to wake up, appreciate that person and experiences you shared for what it was and move on.
I don’t know when I became this person, but I believe in fate. Maybe I’ve watched one too many How I Met Your Mother episodes that has served as my beacon through my early 20’s, but I’m guilty of putting emphasis on scenarios that really weren’t worthy of the energy spent. But in high school, when I tore my ACL twice, I internalized that experience like no other, and let it propel me towards my future career. Every internship I held thereafter just solidified this path for me. In two years, I’ve gotten at least 15 rejection letters, 3 graduate school interviews, and 1 acceptance letter. I won’t let self-doubt creep in, I belong and this is what I’m meant to do. I’m so excited to become a physical therapist.