Oh, 2017…you were quite a year.
I will be glad when I can ring in 2018 with friends and give 2017 a swift kick in the butt.
I think back to a year ago and I was miserable. I had just come off of the trial where we struck a plea deal, but I was still filled with dread because sentencing still had to happen. So Many unknowns were ahead in 2017 and none of them seemed good. I had come to a point with my trauma and anxiety that I literally couldn’t remember things. I couldn’t remember a sequence of numbers more than 2 numbers long. I couldn’t remember basic things like names and I definitely couldn’t make decisions. Being an executive, making decisions is kind of vital. I beat myself up really bad about not having my ‘head in the game’ and not remembering vital information, even conversations. My hands were also shaking all the time. I couldn’t hang onto a pen most of the time. What was happening to me?
My therapist kept on telling me that this is normal and that my brain was ‘full’. My brain was still processing the trauma of the assault and it was in overdrive because I had to see my rapist, go to court and wait for sentencing. All while still trying to retain some semblance of normalcy in my life. It didn’t work too well.
2017 was spent in recovery mode instead of survival mode like in 2016, so I guess it was a step forward. The decision to move back to Minnesota weighed heavily on me. I felt like a complete failure for not staying in DC. I should be able to handle all of this stress, right? I can be Wonder Woman, right? I’m not married & I don’t have kids, so I should be able to juggle all of this, right?
We’ll just say that I spent a majority of the first few months of 2017 in denial that I was in serious trouble.
I had been raised to be strong and never give up, but it felt like I needed a break. I literally couldn’t muster the energy to try anymore. All this time my inner voice is telling me to buck up. It could always be worse! (This is a family mantra) I grew up on a dairy farm and farmers never get a day off, so why should I? Deal with it and move along.
What can I say? Old habits die hard.
Moving home was a true blessing, but getting to that point was difficult. I really enjoyed living in DC and the friends that I made, so it was hard to leave and going into the unknown. I’ve never not had a job before and the idea of ‘letting my brain rest’ sounded absurd to me. That, and I felt like a failure moving back to the farm. I’m in my early 40’s and moving back into my parents basement. My moving back turned out not to be absurd, but the best decision I could make for myself.
There were several really good times this year that included spending quality time with family at the lake catching absolutely no fish, catching up with friends and enjoying the beautiful summer and fall. One big highlight was Guppie the rescue cat finding me in July. My niece and her Dad rescued this very small kitten from the mouth of a Saint Bernard 5 times! She was all but dead, but they cleaned her up and started bottle feeding her. I took over feedings during the county fair and she took to me immediately, and I with her.
I saved her life and she has brought great comfort and joy to mine. She might get sick of me rocking her like a baby or giving her hugs, but I don’t care. She’s a bright spot in my year and we both have stories of survival.
The best medicine available for me were serene days on the farm, sipping coffee, resting, writing and seeing family. I really had the best summer ever. I got to see my grandparents visit their garden daily and I was also able to spoil my niece rotten and not feel guilty for having to catch a plane the next day to get back to DC.
Summer turned into fall and I really thought that I would be back to work. I did a stint with Minnesota 4-H at the State Fair and it was a great reminder that I still had my ‘mojo’ and that I was talented. When you can’t even remember numbers and names and shake all the time you think that you will never recover. My self-confidence was basically stolen from me for the past couple years. Working at the State Fair proved that I was coming back. I also did some other consulting gigs over the fall and really enjoyed them. I felt my energy coming back and that hunger to achieve again. I had been in survival mode for so long that I forgot how good it felt to be passionate about my work. We’ll see where 2018 takes me professionally. I’m definitely ready for my next career move.
I’m heading back to DC for New Year’s this weekend. This will be the first time that I have been back there since I hopped on the plane July 1st and said goodbye to my DC life. Honestly, I’m apprehensive. I’m doing really, really well in MN right now and this will be a true test of my anxiety. Will certain things trigger my fight or flight response? I’m not sure. But, I do know that the only way to face this is head on. I can’t hide from my life. Fortunately, I have several friends that I will be with and I know that if I need to take a breather that they will understand.
So, 2017 was definitely not a banner year, but I feel like my attitude has changed and improved. I got thrown a lot of punches this year and pretty much got knocked out again. I’m optimistic though. 2018 is an unwritten book and there are lots of opportunities ahead. I just need to remind myself that where I’m at right now in life is where God needs me and that I need to continue to follow his path.
Wishing you a prosperous 2018!