January 2nd, 2022. There was a time where I honestly didn’t think I would see this day. Just a few years ago, my life was a lot darker than it is now. I held in resentment, guilt, and anger from what previous years had brought me. I felt like I wasn’t receiving much out of life, especially compared to what I was putting into the world.
I won’t run anyone through all the dirty details of the time, but needless to say, I didn’t have a lot of a desire to pursue my life further.
Just waking up in the morning felt like a challenge. My parents were constantly hassling me about my life choices, I was never the person my son ran to for anything outside of the occasional diaper change, and my fiancee and I were fighting almost daily.
These issues seemed to compound daily. A little something more seemed to pile on top of the landfill that my life felt like it was becoming. I had very little will to continue with much most days.
This was years ago now and my life, outside of my current employment situation, is better than it ever has been.
It’s kind of amazing to think about now, honestly. There was a point when my life seemed so meaningless that I didn’t care if it ended and today, I’m just grateful it didn’t.
Seeing where I am now, with the same and best partner imaginable, the sweetest, most perfect little boy, and a mountain’s worth more confidence, its hard to think that I could even have had those ideas.
This mentality did not come without its challenges. Around the time that I had these thoughts, I was going through therapy – multiple times per week. While I did enjoy getting my thoughts out there, this is where I’m also going to express the importance of the right therapist.
I legitimately enjoyed speaking with, let’s call her ‘Kay’, but after things took a sharp turn for the worse in November of 2020, I realized that just talking about my problems wasn’t actually solving anything. She helped me learn to communicate about certain things in a very effective way, but my overall mental health was still on a decline. Long story short, she wasn’t an awful therapist, we just weren’t a good match.
After we parted ways and I began to see someone new, let’s call her “Jan”, Jan taught me multiple ways to cope with my anxieties and depression. I decided to start a regiment of antidepressants, I took better care of my health, I started journaling, I was more attentive to my fiancee, my son, and myself. After months of intensive self-care, things finally started to look up.
Eventually, I did opt to come off the antidepressants and journaling about my feelings wasn’t as required as it previously had been. I was starting to recover.
With the time that’s gone by, I’ve made sure to continue checking in with myself and my loved ones. Probably one of the biggest sources of the issues I was facing was my inability to empathize.
If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you could probably imagine that my house was not one where emotional intelligence and empathy were part of the “required learning”. Knowing how you felt and why you felt that way was not a staple of my upbringing.
Despite this, I spent the remainder of 2020, and all of 2021, teaching myself to empathize. I never really knew what that meant until I had to put it into practice. Once I could, my view on everything related to my dark times changed completely.
I could never see or understand the pressure my fiancee was dealing with because of my depression and anxiety, so I couldn’t help her when she clearly needed it. I couldn’t see or understand why my son was acting up because I wasn’t in the right headspace when we were together, so I couldn’t improve his mood or calm him down in any way.
Learning to empathize, discovering my feelings and why I felt them, and giving myself a level of self-care I never did before, completely turned my life around.
There is a ton more to this story that I wish I had the time to tell, but it is so personal, I’m still working on how to tell it.
I hope I can tell my story soon and that this little bit I shared here now can help someone. I wish you all the best in 2022. 2020 was literally the worst year of my life, but I thankfully managed to turn the following year completely around – saving my family.
Things can get tough, sometimes a lot tougher than we think we can handle, but it is so important to remember that these battles aren’t meant to be lost but to be conquered.
Stay strong everyone.