My parents told me I could be whatever I wanted. So I became a lighthouse…

silhouette of light house under gray dark sky
Photo by Vladyslav Dukhin on Pexels.com

Well, it’s done.

Today was definitely bittersweet, as I made my last trip to Edmonton for my mental health group that I have been part of for the last 13 months. I sit here writing this tonight feeling elated, anxious, and scared, all at the same time.

The road behind me hasn’t been easy. I have faced so many ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies. Through it all, through the work I have put into my recovery, it never crushed me.

And work it was. In the last 5 years since I brilliantly flamed out working on ambulance, I have lost track of the hospitalizations and the staggering number of hours spent on the road to get to appointments.  I have been in multiple appointments a week for a stretch, and at least one a week for the last 13 months.

With the group ending I will be down to seeing M once a month to every six weeks, and my psychiatrist once every three to four months. That is more spaced out than I have had for over half a decade.

I would be a bald faced liar if I said I wasn’t anxious. I’m scared witless. I’m scared, but also optimistic. I have been through literal hell in my own mind, and I came through the other side.

Will there be challenges ahead? Absolutely, what is life without them, other than boring? Am I better capable to handle the challenges? Again, absolutely.

I can’t promise that I won’t end up in hospital again. I don’t know what the future holds or how it will affect my ability to cope. I know that I am more resilient and will bounce back from any mis-steps faster. Even if I do end up in hospital, it won’t be a failure, it will be a detour.

I know what it’s like to struggle, to think that everyone would be better off without me. I still feel the urge to self harm call to me sometimes. When it does my skills get tested, and I am able to push through, thanks to my support system, and the effort I have expended getting to this point.

Like a fire that spreads across the dry prairies the effort you put in to recovery gets noticed and can spread to others.

During the goodbyes today, a couple of members said that I inspired them. For the first time in a long time I felt confident enough in myself to be able to take the comment at face value, and not try to deflect or minimize. A definite sign of progress. Not entirely sure it’s a deserved compliment, but progress none the less.

In the last few weeks something has become clear to me. I have an impact on those around me, and despite what my brain may tell me at times, I do have a reason to be here, though still trying to figure out what that reason looks like.

I know one thing for sure though. I will not fade quietly into the night. I will be a lighthouse shining on the darkness of mental health, and a beacon of hope for those who are struggling.

I appreciate you tagging along on my journey,

K

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