This year, I decided to start a mental health journey. I was tired of being unhappy and feeling trapped there. I knew life could be better. So I decided to do all I could to get there. I used tools such as books, videos and eventually a therapist to finally be something other than miserable. I knew it would be a hard journey, but it would eventually be more than worth it.
The progress I did make woke me up. I felt like I was waking up from a coma after years. I was a part of the world around me. At the same time, I felt like I was so far behind everyone who had those years to learn, grow and change. But I was still working on myself. I even added goals to my financial, spiritual, and social life. All of it was upended by the spread COVID-19.
Suddenly I was home, and away from my job and the stresses it brought. I was paid for four more weeks after it shut down, but then I would just apply for unemployment. I had debt, but no expenses after that, so I was lucky enough to not have my life turned upside down by shutdowns.
I figured since I had all this time, I could fast track my journey and come out of quarantine a new person. I’d get in shape, blog my way to a better job and thigs would only get better from there. I was proud that I did start the blog, but I let my optimism get the best of me. I set lofty goals that quickly overwhelmed me. I was supposed to come out a new person, and eventually that felt impossible. For one I had to build up the habit of writing. I wasn’t so sure of how often I’d post, but I knew I needed a consistent schedule. And most writing jobs needed multiple posts a day.
It was hard. I was planning out my posts, but what I wrote was never long enough. And it didn’t sound as great on paper as it did in my head. I took breaks and came back to posts, but I layered them to make sure I was at least getting something out. What wasn’t published started to pile up. I was overwhelmed by the progress I had to make by the end of quarantine. And eventually I just stopped.
The world outside my mental health pretty much disappeared. At first, I wasn’t getting much from unemployment. So saving was no longer an option. While I did have money each week to pay things off, it was just the minimum payment. And savings weren’t really possible either. I never really saw anyone besides family and my boyfriend. I wasn’t working out as often as I should have to get the results I wanted. My momentum plummeted from all the goals I set for myself.
Fortunately, my family and I were safe from the damage of the virus. We all kept our health and income. And when my place of work opened back up, I still had a job. I was very lucky.
I was able to resume my life in a way a lot of people could not. And yet I still felt like I lost. All that time I had I did nothing with. I came back to life the same as I was. I didn’t think that was something to be grateful for. But it was.
The work I was able to do taught me a lot about myself. My thinking habits were toxic, and I needed to reevaluate. I’m definitely a catastrophic thinker, and not so good would become awful. I was picking good things apart until they became bad. And on my journey to become a better me, I was trying to become someone else. My basis was that there was something wrong with me as a person, and not that I needed healing. That was one thing I needed to put a priority on remembering.
I wasn’t sailing where I hoped I would be before COVID 19. But practicing gratitude showed me how many things I had to be grateful for. Even if I wasn’t where I wanted to be, I still had the desire to make progress, and with life starting up again, I had the chance to really get back on track. I have my health, my job and my family. In these times, I am grateful to say I’m blessed, and always have been.