In June 2020, I recently completed my first memoir, Heartbreak In The Time of Coronavirus.
Writing this consumed me.
It saved me.
It prevented me from killing myself once more.
In my memoir, I wrote about navigating through COVID-19 after being hospitalized in a psychiatric ward.
Several years ago, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and in 2019, my mental illness began to take a toll for the worst. After nearly committing suicide several times, I was forced to go to a mental facility that I lovingly dubbed as, The Heartbreak Hospital.
I had never been to a mental hospital before. I had no idea what to expect. When I was placed into the female unit, I learned that all of the women were the same as me. Our hearts were broken. I was devastated and so were they. We simply loved too much. We were quite literally dying of heartbreak. Even though we knew each other for only a short time, we were bonded for life. My sisters and I went through everything together. All the anguish, the suffering, and the tears, we were there for each other. Unconditionally.
During my stay at the heartbreak hospital, I couldn’t stop writing. With too many thoughts going on in my head, I discovered it was my only coping skill. It drove me from the madness I had somehow gotten myself into. In two weeks, I filled up two journals.
I didn’t want to forget a single second of my stay. I didn’t want to forget my new sisters. I didn’t want to forget what I learned. So after group therapy, I would always take time to write about our sessions. I would take time to self-reflect on my childhood wounds, my broken relationships, and how I drove away the love of my life. All of this became part of my memoir. In my memoir, I also reference the stories of my sisters and then eventually, my reintegration into a world driven mad by society’s “new normal.”
While I was at the Heartbreak Hospital I was immune to the outside world. I had first entered the hospital at the beginning of March. At the same time, the first case of COVID-19 had been detected in New York. I was truly clueless as to what was really going on until I finally checked out of the mental facility. Within two weeks, the world as I had known it was turned upside down. The empty roads, the empty aisles of food, and the endless lines to get into the grocery store was overwhelming to suddenly witness.
What had I stepped into?
But ironically, I was so grateful for this quarantine. Don’t get me wrong. I am certainly not hyped that people are dying. But I was thankful that I didn’t have to deal with the “old” normal. I loved this new dystopian society. It was a world where everything was on pause. Everyone was confused. Just like me.
I was able to hide inside my bedroom and write until I healed. I took the time to rebuild myself while I attended weekly outpatient therapy for seven weeks. Then after that, I continued my one on one sessions. I focused on my job. I focused on my future. I focused on being with my family and friends. I focused on trying to laugh again. Eventually, I was beginning to learn that life is precious and not meant to be thrown away.
Like most people, 2020 started off as the worst year of my life. But now, I am better because of everything that happened.
This was my destiny.
This all happened for a reason.
I am more empowered than I would have ever imagined.
Even when I began to unravel ugly truths about my past relationship, I found that I was surprisingly strong enough to not let those truths kill me.
I am now a survivor.
I am done blaming others. I am done playing the victim. I am done holding on to suffering. I’m ready to completely let go. Now that I have come to peace with my past, I am free from my heartbreak, and I am ready to move on to the next chapter in my life.
As of July 2020, COVID-19 is still running rampant than ever before. Over Memorial Weekend, Texas and other states began to slowly lift the quarantine. I knew immediately it was a terrible idea. Then just two weeks after Memorial Weekend, cases of Covid-19 rose immensely. With more than 200,000 cases, Texas is now considered one of the highest states infected with the coronavirus.
To infer we are now on our “second wave” is false. The first wave had never ended. Yet as unemployment increases, the government has been pressured to save the economy while also protecting the health of its citizens. But it’s a catch-22.
How can we save the economy if it’s dangerous for people to venture out?
How can we try and control something we have yet to understand?
Who is to say how long this quarantine will last?
Until then, I plan to still make the most of this downtime. I want to continue documenting my journey and all of the misadventures I somehow find myself in. I want to discuss relationships, current events, and mental health. As someone with BDP, I am continually learning more techniques through therapy and life experiences. Together, my personal therapist Betsy and I have just begun exploring Somatic Therapy. This is a body-centered therapy where I will slowly learn how to connect my mind, body, and soul through various exercises and techniques.
This therapy is supposed to be good for those who are suffering from depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic disorder. Before I began this therapy, Betsy forewarned me that this can be a very emotional experience. “You may feel worse before you feel better,” she said.
Soon I will be reliving all of the pain that I have tried to bury deep within my mind. In doing so, I will face my monsters and hopefully, be free from the memories that have disturbed me since I was a child. This will allow me to work on the core issues of my borderline personality disorder. While I have seen tremendous progress this year, I am self-aware enough to realize that I still have a long road ahead of me before I have fully recovered.
Just like my memoir, I will continue to be an open book.
I will hide nothing.
I am shameless.
I am free.
I am human.