Why am I interested in health? Why am I a care aid? Well, I would say that has to do with my personality and also my life experiences. If you’d like to know more, read below!
Growin’ Up Ain’t Easy
My life hasn’t been terrible. It definitely could have been worse, but it hasn’t been easy. I grew up in a broken home with an abusive father and an emotionally frayed mother. My parents divorced when I was quite young and my mother was solely responsible for my two older brothers and I. My family was quite dysfunctional and growing up around hostility and anger caused me to withdraw within myself. I became very quiet and I disliked socializing with people outside of my immediate family, including other children. I remember my mom forcing me to play with other kids so that I could learn some social skills. I hated it. I just wanted to be left alone in my bubble (i.e. my room) and play peacefully with my barbies or create art.
As a child, I was never taught how to properly handle emotions and pain. My family also didn’t take me seriously. Because of this, I internalized everything, not wanting the outside world to know what was going on inside of my world. As I grew up, my emotional and mental strife grew worse. My home was still hostile, I experienced more abuse, and I had very little friends. I became quite depressed. My depression grew worse in high school and I contemplated suicide many times. I didn’t know how to deal with my emotions and I had no support system to help me handle my pain. Occasionally teachers would reach out to me, but nothing really took my pain away.
A year after graduating from high school, my depression spiraled even further, to the point that I sought out help because I was afraid that I would take my own life. The support I received was short-term and I never really worked through my deeper issues. Nothing really changed in my life. My depression and anxiety, my toxic thinking, and poor life choices were building up and it was only a matter of time until I spiraled downwards again.
A couple of years ago, my depression got much, much worse. Even though I was taking antidepressants and sleeping pills for my insomnia, I still felt myself spiraling. Because I wasn’t in a healthy place, I sought out a romantic relationship with a man that was even more unhealthy than I was. Nothing really came of it, except for heartbreak on my end. Because I wasn’t doing well, that heartbreak pushed me over the edge. I got to the place where I couldn’t handle life anymore. I was so tired of feeling the heaviness of my pain. I wanted to kill myself. Unlike the other times that I was suicidal, this time I was serious. I wanted to die and end it all forever. Fortunately, I was clear-headed enough to ask for help before I could do anything detrimental. I called a friend in utter panic and desperation and she called my parents who took me to the hospital.
I was at my lowest point and there was no hiding it. My family, friends, and acquaintances were going to find out how bad things were for me. It was just inevitable. News would spread. I also couldn’t believe that things were so bad that I needed to be hospitalized. And when I got out, my roommate needed to hide the knives in our house so I wouldn’t hurt myself. She even asked me if she needed to hide my pills. I didn’t go to work for a week (and it wasn’t the first time my depression interfered with my responsibilities) and nurses came to my house every day for three weeks to make sure I was okay.
How did I get to this place?
After that experience, I decided that I wanted to live. I didn’t want to die. I knew, somewhere deep inside of myself, that life was worth living, that my future could be bright and beautiful. I had no clue how I was going to revolutionize my life, but I had to do something. I was tired of conventional therapies (a psychiatrist said she couldn’t help me) and so I embarked on a new journey.
I knew I needed to work hard to get myself out of that place. I can tell you that it was very difficult. (It still is.) It took months of fighting, of pushing through the pain, of being honest with myself and with others, of forcing myself out of bed, and kicking myself in the ass. I had to face my demons, be real about my weaknesses, and truly, deeply love myself. It also required me to adopt healthier habits, say goodbye to unhealthy friends, and be true to myself and to my desires.
A New Life
I started researching healthier foods to eat, exercises to implement, and alternative health solutions. I’ve dabbled in mindfulness and yoga (I need to do more) and my diet has changed quite drastically. I try to stay on top of negative thinking and I don’t let myself spiral out of control anymore. Even though I’m not an expert at this, I try to jump on negative emotions right away and try to deal with them in a healthy way. I’m also extremely honest with my friends about what I’m going through. I no longer hide my pain, anxiety, stress, etc.
I am also dating a wonderful man who happens to be a holistic health nut. I’ve learned so much from him! He’s now my research buddy and accountability partner. It feels so good to finally be in a loving, supportive relationship. My boyfriend challenges me, pushes me to be better, and cuddles me when life is hard. He’s also an amazing listener, which is super great because I talk a lot! (I’m a verbal processor.)
I now surround myself with positive people who build me up and celebrate me. (And who also give me a swift dose of reality when I need one.) I am also pursuing my passion in life: caring for others. I am a full-time care aid and I love it! I love going to work knowing that I am providing someone with their essential needs. It feels so good to make a difference in the lives of those around you.
I’m also not that shy, scared kid that I used to be. I’m quite gregarious, actually. Though I would still consider myself an introvert, I am quite sociable, friendly, and I really enjoy being around others. I no longer fear making new friends and meeting new people. I feel insecure from time-to-time, but I am more confident in myself than I ever have been.
I am far from done my health journey. I have lots, and I mean lots, of room for growth. I need to join a gym so I can kick up my cardio and I’m sure I can cut back on a lot more sugar and processed foods. I still have wounds in my heart that need to be healed and my depression is still present, though much milder than before.
A few years ago, I would have never imagined that my life would be as fulfilling and wonderful as it is now. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s more of the life that I’ve wanted than ever before.
I was telling my best-friend today that I love myself. I really, truly love who I am. I never thought I would ever feel that way. Though it sounds cheesy, it feels so good to tell myself “I love you”.
And it’s all a process. It’s a journey. Care to join me?
P.S. I would love to hear your story. Post it here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!