February 4th, 2022
Going into another new month of this new year.
Many changes have taken place the last few years and some are yet to be resolved completely.
I used to make resolutions or plans of what I wanted to accomplish the next year. After retiring from the Air Force then getting divorced shortly afterwards, I stopped making those plans. I decided to just go with the flow and see where it took me.
It has been a hard journey the last eight years and I still feel lost. Aimlessly wandering down this river of life.
I went with the flow of time, faced my fears, and finally stared down the trauma of my life. This spiraled me into the deepest, darkest, depths of despair. I finally started coming out of the endless wave of major depression and anxiety almost five years ago.
Life, the past two years, has been mentally calm despite the injury, unemployment, surgery, recovery, and financial uncertainty. It has been calm because I am no longer under the stress of a daily work schedule and expectations from a boss. I still have those moments of not wanting to face the day and I struggle to push past the thoughts to just get out of bed in the morning.
My psychiatrists and counselors say I will still have those moments, but the therapy has been giving me better strategy and skills to maneuver past it.
The most anxious moments I face now is being around crowds of people while still in this pandemic.
The biggest obstacle in front of me is a physical one. The inability to use my hands and arms the same way as before is challenging. I still struggle mentally to accept that this is my life now and become mostly argumentative. That is what I am working on now with the help of my mental health providers.
The still undiagnosed tremor is the most deciding factor in how my day will go. The tremors are daily now but light in nature making good manual dexterity a struggle. I still have the long, hard tremors that last twenty minutes or more, at least once a week. Those hard tremors wipe out my whole day and I spend most of the day resting because my arm becomes useless, tired, and painful.
In a peer art therapy session, we wrote down all the bad stuff that happened the year before. Taking that list, tearing it into pieces, and then creating an art piece out of it to signify a new start. A question came up about what we wanted going into this new year. What was our hope or passion?
That was a good question for me because at this moment, I do not know. I thought I knew what I wanted to do five years ago but then my ex-husband passed away and set me on a new trajectory.
It has taken the last eight years to work through trauma and grief. I was this overachiever. I pushed myself to the limits of my capabilities and succeeded in whatever I tried. I was a decorated veteran of twenty years, wife, and mother but I never faced the trauma that I was hiding behind everything that I did.
Then one day I broke, mentally, and I have struggled ever since.
During the paperwork process of filing for Social Security disability, I was reminded of the failures that I endured from that moment on. I had seventeen different jobs from 2013 to 2020. I lived in six different places in that same period with four evictions. I have struggled financially, emotionally, and physically.
The only thing keeping me going is that the universe has not let me give up again. I made a promise to my kids to never give up hope and to be there for them, no matter what. I have and will keep that promise. That is all I have; my word is my bond.
The last two years has afforded me the time to step back and determine where my path should go.
I used to think that my life’s purpose was to help others but the last couple of years, those inclinations have waned quite a bit. Seeing how others treat one another at different workplaces, therapy groups, my own relationships, my own relatives, and then the public during this pandemic crisis, has made the innate faults and shortcomings of others seem too big to overcome. How would I ever be effective, or would I even want to?
The problems of the world seem too big now to even attempt to tackle and life is too short to worry about others except for my own family. That is what I have been pondering and it makes me feel like I have given up. I know that is not how I thought before. I was always this go getter that tackled the biggest problems and obstacles because I knew I could. I was not afraid of failure.
Remembering that this was who I was before, makes me feel even more overwhelmed and helpless about my current circumstances. Hence, a part of the anger.
The passion I had for wanting to help others has slowly been burnt out. That flame started fading the moment my mental well-being was attacked, by the person I trusted the most, my then husband. I no longer felt safe, secure, or stable. It was a gut-wrenching process to let go and move on from it.
Thankfully, today, I can talk about my life with him without feeling overwhelmed. It is mostly disappointment for not taking care of myself sooner. I was a strong-willed survivor of abuse, but I turned it inward and blamed myself for years.
What is my passion now? That has been a hard question to answer.
Most days, I wake up and just want to be creative. Paint, draw, sew, and craft something from my thoughts with my own two hands. It sounds easy and fun, but my arm does not always want to cooperate. Then the frustration sets in.
I then turn to writing as a creative outlet but once again, my arm hinders that sometimes.
I used to be good at organization and time management but now, I struggle to remember where I put stuff and I am always off on what day of the week it is. Wandering aimlessly throughout the day without a set plan or schedule compounds the frustration.
I made a decision before I had the surgery that I needed a skill and career change. I started the process of going back to school and learning more. Tackling programming and coding as a new outlet. At the time when I started, I did not realize the amount of strain the recovery process was going to take on my everyday life.
I have had to start over four times already with new cohorts. I will be starting my fifth one next Monday. I still feel lost but keep pushing on with the hope that, one day, I will feel useful again.
This program of learning is slowly giving me back hope through the encouragement I have found from others. They want me to succeed and continue with them on this unconventional learning journey. If I can manage the depression and anxiety, then I know that I can do this. It is just taking it step by step every day.
Learning to put aside my ego and pride when I do not know something. Willing to ask for help has been the hardest part for this headstrong person the last eight years.
There is still that small inkling in my thoughts that the next career path must include helping others, but I am unsure. How can I still be helpful and in what capacity?
I could go back to the business ideas that I had before, but it would require some tweaking and revamp to make them applicable to today’s needs. That is still a viable option.
I could go out on my own and do contract work. Setting my own salary rate and hours is very appealing. Possibly helping non-profits and small businesses with their needs.
There is still the impassioned idea of becoming a tribal lawyer and helping to protect the sovereignty rights of the indigenous people of this country. This would require a complete change in my educational pursuits through taking steps towards an even longer path of learning. I am soon to be fifty-one years old and feel that is no longer a viable option. I keep being reminded by others that you are never too old to learn something new. Nice sentiments, my own reality is a whole different factor in those dreams.
What is my passion and how can I use it to earn a living for at least the next ten years before I officially retire with my pension?
I keep leaning towards a creative pursuit. I enjoy creating things that others are in awe over. The original plan was to continue with the cake decorating and sugar arts competitions once I turned fifty. The arm issue as well as the pandemic has put a damper on those thoughts. I can no longer lift or manipulate things with my hands like I used to. The fingers struggle to grasp things and it is tiring. I still have dreams of competing and making a name for myself in that world. One day I will do that again.
For now, I will continue with this programming and coding school. I will continue to dream of what may be for the future. I will learn to live with my new normal and work through the pain.
“The Future Belongs to Those Who Believe in the Beauty of Their Dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
This quote I believe in because I have lived it. The dreams I had for myself, despite the toxic environments I grew up or lived in, kept me moving forward. I relied on my “ideal self,” in providing a safe haven from the abuse. It lifted me up whenever I was beaten down by life. I remained hopeful, faithful, and believed in myself.
The passion I have and want for others is a sense of safety, stability, and security. Whether that is through education, employment, housing, medical care, or a political climate that allows one to grow into who they want to be. A world where one is only judged by their character and actions as a human being.
How this translates into a meaningful career, I do not know? All I can do is to keep pushing forward and find the right path to be on.
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Take care and be safe out there.
Have a great week!
Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes, always!