February 22, 2020. Pre-COVID. The day I emotionally hit rock bottom.
I was put on a two-week medical leave, because I told my boss that on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being that I wanted to “check out”, I was at a 3. I felt out of place wherever I was, and my triggers were completely out of control. I was emotionally angry (not physically), and every word that came out of my mouth felt like I was speaking a foreign language, as I felt like nobody could hear me, and that nobody had a clue about what I was feeling.
Perception vs. Reality – my perception was that the walls were caving in around me, and that I could do nothing right. I was not communicating with Lauryn, and still struggling with the insults from Miss Vitriolic (who will henceforth be referred to as “The Karenator”). People at work on my staff were working my last nerve, and I felt like giving up. The reality was that I had internalized so much of my anger and frustration that it was consuming me. The reality was that I had (and still have) friends that truly care about me, and they care about my well being. And the true reality is that I’m loved unconditionally, and that I have so much to be thankful for.
I can never thank Ryan Forrester enough….a year ago tonight, I had a gig with him, and at the time, I didn’t realize just how much that helped me. I knew I couldn’t cancel on him on such short notice, and it forced me to find my footing. Had I stayed home, I would have spiraled even more.
In hindsight, I’m thankful that my breakdown happened before COVID. It gave me and my therapist time to start my recovery and develop better coping skills for me, which I still use to this day. I’m also thankful that the stigma of mental illness is changing for the better, as during this pandemic, mental health awareness has become part of the mainstream discussion in society. It was not an easy journey, as I had to figure out all of the things that were constantly consuming my brain (only being able to dwell on mistakes triggered my frustration, anger, and feelings of failure), and I needed to find ways to focus on having a positive mindset.
I’ve had to let go of the way I’ve always processed things, and learn a new way of rationalizing certain situations. It’s easier said than done, but over the last 365 days, I’ve found my footing, and although my life isn’t perfect, I definitely have a lot more good days than I do bad days.
And I still like my brussel sprouts.