Holidays: When You’re Forced to be Grateful

There are a lot of things going on in my life that suck. Yes, it’s become sort of a joke that 2016 has felt like the worst year ever, because we’ve lost a lot of iconic people. We had a terrible presidential election season that seemed almost comical but was painfully real.

But on a personal level, this year was one of the worst ever. I gave up freelancing to hunt for a job, only to have that job snatched away from me so quickly I never made it Facebook official. Physically, I’ve never looked or felt this bad. I’ve resorted to picking my skin which has scarred it.

I’ve gained a lot of weight and I’ve let my hair become so out of control it requires going to a pro to fix it. There are other mental, emotional, spiritual and physical issues related to my anxiety and depression that I can only discuss with a therapist or a doctor.

Now I’m back to where I was a few years ago. Feeling rejected for the umpteenth time. Feeling like I’ve sabotaged jobs, relationships and myself so frequently, the consequences are irrevocable. Feeling the most unpretty. The personality I had when I first moved to Alabama – one of optimism, loyalty and determination – has left me.  I have changed so much and mostly in ways that are sour and unbecoming.

What happens when you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom? I feel like I’m in that stage where I’ve just fallen and still tending to my wounds and cleaning myself off. I’m not ready for re-entry. When you’re in this place, you have to focus on the present. On what you have left when you feel like the parts that make up who you are have disintegrated.

There is still a bit of light left. I still laugh at the smallest things. I still recognize how amazing and privileged I am to be in the place where I am now.

To have people in my life who will not simply walk through fire to rescue me. They will lift me up and carry me through the fire so that I can help myself.

I know not everyone has that, and I’ve thought of them every day to get me out of bed in the morning.

Being at what feels like the bottom of a hole forces you to think simply.  The normal trappings of temporary happiness that spring from having a job, a lot of acquaintances who love you only when you’re happy have been burned away.

You focus on the simplest of blessings – food, shelter, health, faith, family. You look around and wonder why God saw fit to wake you up today. You search for what was so important that He chose to give you another day of life.

For instance, today I’m going out with friends. I didn’t plan it, and I don’t want to go. I don’t want to spend time with other people right now, even ones I know love and respect me. I want to remain in the shadows. But I know that’s one simple reason why I’m around today. For something so simple. Something that I could try to back out of but can’t since I wasn’t the one to plan it

That has been really easy lately.  Backing out of obligations to either stay home with my husband or just stay at home. Everyone expects me to bounce back. Yes, I have a mental illness, but it’s never been an issue. I stop. I grieve. I move on. However, this time and this year is different.

Resuming my normal won’t happen for a while. I’ve disengaged with a lot of my contacts while freelancing, and several I won’t be able to mend. I’m not in the right mental condition to go on job interviews. So it appears that, like a few years ago, December is dedicated to hibernation. Thankfully, I made plans with my family before everything went south, so I can’t back out on them.

There are traces of that super-determination left in me. I’m in the last steps of applying to a graduate program. I don’t have a lot of faith that I will get in. Not so much because I am in a self-defeatist mood, but because I didn’t prepare properly. I put together a lot of documentation in a very short amount of time, which is awesome considering my attitude at the moment but may have made for a less than ideal application package.

I’ve been so down that I haven’t wanted to write. I feel like all of the creativity has been sucked out of me. So for now I’m choosing to write about being down. Not my most eloquent of posts, and certainly not one where I manage to turn it around and make it relatable and positive. But that’s where I am today.


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