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A Key Factor in My Mental Health Recovery During Quarantine

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Life has funny ways of working itself out. I must admit, it has been really challenging lately to be a single young lady, in her late 20s, living in this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and being isolated from friends and family.

Companionship is something we as humans crave, and while it is amazing to have the companionship of my two dogs, it gets lonely at times when you are surrounded by the same four walls day in, day out.

During this challenging time of quarantine, I have seen my strength and growth as well as my weakness and struggles. I have seen how challenging it is to fall out of a daily routine. I have seen how challenging it is for me to not be able to go out freely to clear my mind on a run or walk with my dogs without fearing for my safety and my life. Yet I have also seen the growth in my battle with my mental illness in that I have not let my depression get the better of me and I face my anxiety head on each day. I use the skills I have acquired from treatment for the past decade in how I approach my day. I have learned to reach out for support and love when I can sense myself falling into a downward spiral. (I used to be ashamed and engulfed with shame when I reached out for support to friends.)

Growth comes in many shapes and sizes. For me, especially during this quarantine, I have expanded my professional aspirations and really shown myself the love I have not given myself for the majority of my life. I have come to see I am resilient and stronger than I know. And I have come to understand two things about myself that have not been clearer in the past: I have two passions that drive me and motivate me in everything I do.

Life passion number one: become a mother. I want nothing more than to be a mother to my own children, to have my own little family that relies on me and looks to me for guidance and love. I want a stable relationship, one built on the foundation of trust, friendship, honesty and support. After having my two dogs enter my life, I know more than anything I am ready and meant to be a mother. I am fascinated by the human body and what a women’s body can do. I am in awe of the immense amount of love a human can have for another, especially when they are related. And above all else, I am a caretaker and love taking care of people. I take care of my dogs, my friends, my students and slowly, as I am learning to, take care of myself. While I am religious and believe in fate, it is sometimes hard to not rush the process. I always imagined myself to be a mother at 25, happily married and pursuing my career. Life did not pan out this way and while it can be disappointing, I can see how nothing would have worked out had it happened like I planned. There is a greater plan out there for me and there is for you. I truly believe there is a plan for all of us and however that plays out, it always plays out in the right timing. (Believe me, this is not an easy conclusion to come to. I still struggle with this every day, especially the negative voice in my head that says I am not living up to expectations and I am a failure at life.)

Life passion number two: education. I just recently completed my first semester as the teacher of record at the second largest public school district in America. I entered the classroom facing the biggest uphill battle of my career. I inherited a line of classes where there was no structure, no faith and no support from the most important figure in the room: the teacher. My students were abandoned time and time again and my negative, depressive, anxious voice told me I would fail yet again. Failure is a theme that plays out in my life day in and day out. Yet I survived my first semester when the first day, one student bet another I would not last a week. I survived the transition online and fought with my depression that led me to become frustrated and upset with myself at times.

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And now, with the encouragement of my professors for my credentialing program, as well as my closest and biggest supporters, I am considering pursuing my doctorate in education. Crazy, right? When I transitioned out of my first graduate program, I felt like the world’s biggest failure. I could not keep up with the coursework and the rigor of the research, my mind wandering and my mental illness getting the better of me. I took a year off my first graduate program because I could not focus, I could not concentrate and I was constantly in a place of suicidal ideation. I am beyond grateful for everything I did get out of my first graduate program because I would not be the person I am today without it.

Life has funny ways of working out and discovering my passions has been one of the biggest factors in my recovery. I finally feel like I have a purpose in life. I finally feel motivated to get out of bed (on some days, because other days it still is a struggle to remember that I am worthy and loved). If there is anything I know, it is that I will be a mother and am a mother and I am a forever student. The former will come with time and faith, the latter is what keeps me going.

Discover your passions, whatever they may be. Big or small, they are there and they have been what helped me in my recovery. I truly hope they help you in your recovery too. We are all unique and worthy of love and belonging.

For more on the coronavirus, check out the following stories from our community:

Originally published: June 24, 2020
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