You cannot heal in the same environment that made you sick.
I am a firm believer that one’s environment is directly related to how well we are able to, well for a lack of a better term, get well. I also believe that the man upstairs sometimes blesses us with some of his special people to remind us that we are not alone.
I am not a God-fearing woman. I am far from it. Do I believe in God? Yes. Do I follow the teachings of Catholicism that I was raised in? Hard pass. I just don’t believe that I need to step foot inside of a church to love and believe in God. I guess that makes me a spiritualist? Regardless of whatever that makes me, I am so blessed to have met the woman who gave me my second job after I lost my career.
I have mentioned this woman in Thank you for doing that. Because of her and what she saw in me, I pushed myself on days when I had no more to give. The number of twelve hour shifts, days off I gave up, late night text messages about inventory, and smoke breaks I had to take all lead me to where I am now – not doomed to a part-time job.
I was convinced after I had lost my career that full-time work was a pipe dream; I just wasn’t high functioning enough to do it, not realizing my environment was making me sick. My environment was stopping me from getting better; my body was in a constant state of fight or flight so I drank excessively to sleep excessively and then when my migraines increased in severity and frequency with Effexor, I really thought that was it. That I had wasted years of my life on my education, on dreaming of a particular career path, on becoming everything my father was and what he couldn’t be. I thought I was designated to be someone’s sick wife.
When I interviewed for a job with this woman, the biggest circumstance change was that I was back at home with my parents. My presence at my wasband’s house was diminishing, and it became a place I only really stayed at to watch his dog. I don’t remember the final straw when he told me I was no longer welcome in his home, that he wouldn’t be able to move on if my presence was still strong, but he set me free that day. I was messing this job up like the first job I had that was given to me by a friend. I can never apologize enough to her for wasting her time but I think she knows deep down that the girl who came in to work for her again was not the same girl she knew, and I really was not well.
However, this woman, we’ll call her Ms. Sunshine, saw so much potential in me that she fought so hard for me, fought hard to have a position for me that I actually enjoyed and excelled at. That position helped me greatly in my studies and when I finally received my Master’s, I had to take a moment to thank her. I have so many other reasons to be thankful for her – she saved my life. She inadvertently showed me that Lee never left, she just had to be brought back into the light. Her pushing me when I wanted to throw in the towel showed me that everything that I wanted was still within reach and it wasn’t too late. I owe so much to her because in the year and a half that I worked for her, I had never loved myself nor been as proud of myself as much as I did with her.
So it is only fitting that my struggle with who I am without a relationship and school sending me spiraling down the depression slide, that she would be the one to rejuvenate me. In the three hours I spent with her, it was like I was watching the clouds slowly dissipate. Her energy is infectious, her generosity and empathy are consuming. She’s literally this big (well tiny based on height) ball of positivity that you really have to try to be negative to feel terrible around her. Here she was, after seven months, reigniting the fire in me that I thought was slowly fading. She provided me with a safe place to unload something I’ve been keeping hidden from ninety-nine percent of the world and while that situation isn’t one that I have actually dealt with, I felt a burden being lifted off my shoulders.
My circle of friends is so small that I can count them on one hand. They are very understanding people that have always done their best to be that positive little light in my life when I run into the big fat depression wall. But there really are no words to describe Ms. Sunshine other than someone who is truly good for the soul. I didn’t tell her I was in a rut, I didn’t talk about my Bipolar Disorder or my stability although we did talk about ADHD but…next time. The moment I saw her and hugged her, my heart didn’t feel so heavy.
I’ve been successfully working a forty-hour work week since the end of October, something I never thought I would do again. I take lots of time for self-care which in my case means not speaking to anyone, watching tons of TV, and scrolling through social media. I’m surrounded by people who don’t get upset when I don’t respond, knowing that I probably have run out of spoons to carry on a conversation. My parents don’t have to worry about my well-being and on the days that I can’t make it out of my bed, well, my dad has pretty much made my dog his own. My environment has changed and I’m only five minutes away from my wasband’s house. It was my circle, the people in my life, that were affecting me in ways I couldn’t see at the time. But now, now that I’m out of that fight or flight mode, I am so aware of potential triggers for me. These triggers can be topics of conversation or negative energy; I feel so much more now. Someone’s bad attitude will instantly irritate me and cause a reaction, but because I know that, I try to walk away and ignore people who are vibrating on that wave length.
I’m better now because I made some painful changes. I lost a lot of people along the way and ended a marriage I should’ve never been in. But throughout all of that, God gave me one good present, Ms. Sunshine.
BITD is a blog designed to educate on mental illness and maintain mental wellness through personal experiences.