I grew up in a great home with a great family in a small city in upstate New York. My mom stayed home with us, and my dad was a dentist. Even though I lacked the motivation to do well in school (and I didn't), I know now that somewhere within me I wanted to be successful. Even still, I never really had a direction. I just let the winds of change blow me through school, through graduation, and into a stagnant year after high school in which I didn't particularly do a thing. I never went to college and I still haven't. Oddly enough, however, a volunteer effort turned into a job in San Diego, and from there, the road of my life ended at a career I had done nothing to deserve. Twenty-two years old and I had a career making a ton of money that most folks at that age wouldn't have dreamed of for several years, and maybe even never. I had it all.
And then something happened.
Several years later, tired of the management, not knowing an ounce of what it was to be a 'good employee', I quit my great career, justifying my knee-jerk reaction to management reprimanding as my desire of 'changing career paths'. I wanted to go into nursing. And that's how I looked at it. I was done with upper management and their unfair treatment (years later, in this point of my life now, I realize it was indeed fair.). That first night without the cushion of my career was a very difficult one. I can remember it even today as if it happened last night. The lack of sleep. The constant surge of anxiety as if someone had poked my brain each time I almost fell asleep. Little did I know then that those nights would be common in the next months. Little did I know then that anxiety would nearly be my undoing later. Then, on the cusp of a new adventure, I didn't know about the ugly monster that looked down at me from further up the road, waiting to devour me. The monster we know as depression.
I began my incredibly short journey as a clinical nursing assistant and never made it past the first couple of days. I had forgotten one key thing about me: I am extremely empathetic. I will adopt anyone's pain as my own. Seeing others in pain… it never would have worked out. I still remember the event surrounding my decision to turn away from the path of nursing; a stroke victim whose children and family never visited her, and who, while attempting to wash her own face, gently stroked the air in front of her instead with a sponge in her hand. It was the saddest thing I had ever seen. And that's when, while running through the dark forest in my mind, I took my first few steps into the pit of despair.
I hadn't quit the new-found job yet. During the day, I told myself, "I can do this. I can do this." and at night, the shadows of my self-created negativity and anxiety suffocated me. I thought to myself, "If I can get out of this job, I'll be okay. I won't be afraid anymore." I begged my husband to let me quit, asked him if we would be okay if I didn't have a job. Thankfully, he let me... and I safely walked through the gates. Gates that I saw were pristine and golden, but were, in truth, decrepit and broken. I had walked through the gates of depression.
Unbeknownst to me, it was the dawn of something dark.