I got the journal prompt from one of the sweetest blogs ever Sometimes Sweet. I’ve mentioned Miss Danielle a few times, but make sure you check her out, she’s awesome!!
There’s been so many moments in life, both good and bad, that have a hand at shaping us into the person we are today. When looking back at our lives as a whole, it can be hard to pinpoint exact instances where we’ve changed immensely or grown as people- often these are gradual changes that sneak up on us over time. It’s only when we take a huge step back and really think about it, are we able to see all these sequences of events as separate pieces. And sure, hundreds of different events play a part in bringing us into the present, but when you really break it down, there are definitely moments that stand out more than others.
So with that said –
Looking at all of the life you’ve lived so far, can you pinpoint one time frame or instance that you feel truly contributed to your growth as a person? This may be a turning point, a positive or negative experience, a moment or collection of moments that stand out in your mind…something that changed you as a whole.
The day I moved into my house
I have always been an extremely emotional person and a huge worry wart. When I was young, I would get freaked out on nights that I had church group or soccer practice that I’d have time to get my homework done and get in bed by 9pm. I had to be in bed by then or I would get horribly upset, sometimes cry. I remember this and then of course my mother has reminded me throughout my older years just how much of a worrier and stress-er I had always been.
So as I got older and the problems moved from homework to boys to jobs to cars to school to finances to a home to everything, it just got worse for me. Me being a little “worry wart” grew into me being a very tense and stressed out person. And then it moved into becoming depressed. There was obviously a lot that goes into my depression forming, but it really was just a matter of getting too worked up over things I had no control of and allowing myself to constantly feel helpless instead of empowered.
I always thought my depression stemmed from my single-ness. So of course, I “dated” guys I shouldn’t have. I never had an actual relationship before Mike. And only one other guy I ever called my boyfriend was Chris, but it wasn’t what it should have been. It was just a lot of false hopes and wishing he was someone else. At the the time I said “something is better than nothing” to myself all the time, which DUH! is not true. So finally after too long, things started to fizzle out as they should have long ago.
During the same period of months as I begin to distance myself from Chris, I graduated from ASU (Holy Moly! Nobody ever said graduating college was that hard, ugh, it was awful!) Then I got a new job because Zia Records was only giving me 2 days a week. And then a few days later I lost said job (which is ironically where I work now) due to financial issues. I started at another place and after a month got offered it again and took it. So new job, losing boy that I “cared” about, then comes buying a house. Stress city, especially since the house jargon makes no sense to me. Then I move from Tempe that I knew well and loved for four years, into a big 3 bedroom house alone, in the middle of nothing. Friends move away and move on. My photo business is in the dumps because I just don’t care. I break down all the time. When I first moved to my house I was a wreck, I couldn’t be alone or I would go crazy and even if I was with someone, all I could think is that I would soon be alone. I stressed like crazy, I fought with my family, I hated everything that was going on. I loved going to work just so I wouldn’t be home alone. I left my house packed forever because I didn’t want to be there. I would just lay on the ground in the middle of a room and sob uncontrollably because I literally didn’t know what to do with myself.
See, I thought I was making all the right choices. I did good in high school to get a scholarship for college to get a good job (eh, didn’t work out so well) so I could buy a car and house for myself. Well, I did all that and it sort of turned into “Now what? I live alone and get a few cats and work until I die? Alone?” It was very daunting and very very scary.
So literally one Saturday I couldn’t take it anymore, something had to be done. I had been in my new house about 2 or 3 weeks. I wanted to just drive to the hospital and say “I am afraid I am going to kill myself” but that seemed a little too dramatic. My friends and family were sick of me and didn’t know what to do with me (no but really they were all mega concerned about me) and it was just the boiling point. I found a number for Banner Health for their mental health department and called. I just said “I don’t know what to do and I need help.” The lady was a bit confused but ended up setting me up an appointment to go talk to a counselor and explore options. I did that and ended up in an out patient intensive therapy group. This was really where things started to change. I went three nights a week for three hours a night for five weeks. Yeah, it was intense and very expensive.
I learned so much and grew so much in those five weeks. Not to say I was “healed” or any corny shit like that but it started a change in me. A change in my process of thinking, in the way I viewed the world and myself. Mostly, it made me realize I wasn’t alone and quite frankly, I didn’t have a whole lot that I really should be depressed about. The hard part with depression is even if you know something on a intellectual level, it doesn’t mean the emotions fall in line with that. It sounds mean but so many people in there had it way worse and had reasons to be struggling much more than I did. I learned from so many strong women and a few fellas that I wasn’t alone and wasn’t the only person who was having a hard time coping with the world. It was so pivotal in my life and I am so blessed to have had that opportunity.
The same day that I called Banner was the same day I had joined okcupid.com and “met” Mike. Being in the program made it such a better start to a relationship and since I was getting the practice of really thinking about how I wanted to be I had decided that I didn’t have to follow every whim to be “true to myself” in a relationship and that I really had to think about myself and what I wanted and what I said and did a little more, especially in the beginning. It’s not a matter of being dishonest, but a matter of being really honest and taking the time to reflect on yourself and process what you are thinking before just blurting something out. I was in the habit of reacting to a thought too quickly and without really thinking about the patterns of thought I was stuck in.
As a result of exploring myself so thoroughly, I grew and I started to change. It didn’t just happen in those five weeks and it isn’t done now. I still struggle greatly with my depression some days. Sometimes it creeps up on me and I feel like all my work and dedication to being healthy is slipping away. But I am growing and moving and becoming stronger and happier everyday.
And of course I have my wonderful boyfriend who has been beyond supportive of me and my issues with both depression and anxiety. He helps me so much and has really taught me how to relax and enjoy myself more and not take everything so seriously. I now laugh at things I never dreamed I would laugh at. I take it as it comes and try to remember that it will all work out because it always does. And then we have my puppies that bring me so much joy everyday and have truly enriched my life so much. And I have a home and a job and a car and lots and lots of love.
So I would say the process of me entering into therapy with a group and then getting some more help one on one really was the biggest “moment” of my life so far. My life has been completely altered for the positive since then and I have grown so much into the person I am becoming. And meeting Mike (sigh I really love that man…) fell right in line with all that was happening and really was a gigantic part of this change towards a more positive and healthy life.
Shannon, me and our nieces Ava and Caitlyn