Defined By the Struggle | Article

 

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I have been seeing a family therapist we’ll name “June” for a handful of times, about four sessions, alongside my main therapist. As I wrote this article I had just met with June again and my Mom had come along with me. It is a funny thing having my parents involved in my treatment. I live with my parents still, I have for all of my almost twenty-five years of life, and I’m still largely dependent on them. I’m not an “adult” by most strokes–I barely do my own laundry and I certainly can’t hold down a job (or at least, I tell myself I can’t) long enough to be both stable and consistent.

 

No, instead my full-time job with almost no payment is working on myself and taking care of my mental health. It’s not exactly the most uplifting of work, either, but the payoff is supposed to be living a healthier and happier life.

 

But there are these thoughts and expectations that are strewn into the mix that just makes everything messy.

 

For instance, I find myself wondering now, “Who am I without the struggle?” I’ve defined instances of my life as different blocks of struggling. As a child I struggled with deep bouts of loneliness, a dark time in retrospect where I would be lightly bullied and wouldn’t say a thing about it. I used to bottle up my emotions back then and I can say with certainty that behaving in that way never truly helps.

 

I remember that I spilled all my secrets out one night to my parents, accidentally mostly, and then the world grew brighter and I recognized how many friends I had and my utmost worth.

 

Only for the next struggle to come in my teens where the scoliosis I was living with reared its ugly head and I became consumed by the shame and baggy clothing that wouldn’t hug my imbalanced waist and took a damper on my self-esteem. I crawled further into myself and refused to talk about the issue with anyone. I thought if I just pretended everything was okay than maybe they would be. I thought in black and white, if my spine could never be straight than I didn’t want to try any of the meager options of treatment. I used to hate showering because it was the time I had to be the most intimate with myself and I avoided the reflections in the mirror so I wouldn’t stand there and point out my every flaw.

 

But then there was surgery and gradual self-acceptance, self-love and then college. College was great the first couple of years, even as my mind were slowly starting to show symptoms of things far more sinister.

 

And then, eventually, the next struggle came: OCD and its friend depression and suicidality and self-harm. I was sucked up in a whirlwind that I could not control and whose flight took off faster than I would have thought it would. Then came chronic suicidality with most of my time spent being actively suicidal. There were rounds of psychiatric hospitalizations, different medications, therapy weekly (even twice a week for a year), advocacy and inspiration and hope to recover.

 

And now, I’m here. Right in this moment, I’m here. Maybe, after all, the reason I struggle so much is because I’ve always defined myself by the struggle. June suggested I look at who I would be if I could take out the puzzle piece of struggling with mental health conditions.

 

And, I’m pretty sure that I’ve gotten so used to being defined by those struggles that I don’t know who I would be at all without them. I guess, after all, I still have my identity to figure out.

 

Like, it’s actually really rather terrifying to think that I can be someone without a struggle. Maybe I don’t have to always be struggling; maybe I can achieve my own form of homeostasis where things are just okay. Life isn’t always about life and death, death and life, over and over again. Life is the little moments of smiles, laughter, rebirth, growth and change.

 

Life is ever evolving, ever moving and ever changing. Life, sometimes, just happens. And sometimes in life we struggle and, at the same time, a lot of the time we just live and find meaning and reasons to live so that we can try to encapsulate our best life.

 

Because struggling is just a small part of the big picture and there’s more to life than just struggling. It doesn’t make the struggle go away completely, it just gives us room to embrace our own meaning and make the struggle a little less difficult to bear. So, let us share our burdens to the night sky and maybe the twinkling stars can remind us of all that we have yet to experience.

 

Stay safe.


This piece was written around 5:30-6:15p March 15.2018. I’ll probably be making another blog post tomorrow regarding some thinking and processing thoughts about the session with June from today, too. I took notes 😀

I think I’m starting to find the root of these issues of mine. I suppose there’s something liberating about that even though it’s gonna take a lot more work to really, really be free of it. Ah well, I suppose we’ll enjoy part of the ride. 🙂

❤ ❤ ❤ Thank you for reading!!

UPDATE: Added a photo to this article. It’s an old black&white that I snagged from my deviantART account probably circa 2012. Which reminds me that I need to update my About Me section of my blog and update my art stuff on DA. One of these days, I suppose… I’m hoping to have an additional update to the blog before the end of the weekend. That’s enough of me for now. 🙂 3.24.18