Tuesday, February 18, 2014

journal day: eighteen & distraught

**I've decided to join in on a blog series called "Journal Day". It was created by the wonderful Dani Hampton of  Sometimes Sweet. Every Sunday she will post a writing prompt and anyone who wants to write about the prompt can do so on their own blog! I'm excited to be a part of a group of aspiring writers/bloggers, and to have some inspiration to write again! 

[Here is this week's writing prompt]

"Everyone has a time in their life they view as a crossroad. Sometimes you can see it as it's happening, and you're able to choose one way or another. Other times you may not realize you're there until you look back, and see what a turning point it really was. This week, write about a time you view as a marker in your life; a distinct place where things changed, for better or worse."

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I always said, "when I turn 18, I'm moving out!". It wasn't because I had this burning hatred for my family, or that I was in dire need of my independence. Rather, it was because I had already been living an independent lifestyle (going to school, working 30-40 hours a week, and paying bills). I wanted to experience life as a true adult, so I moved out. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought it would be all fun and games, and at times it was, but the pressure of living on your own made many things surface for me.

I used to be the type of person who would bottle everything inside. I never wanted to create a hostile environment for anyone around me, and I certainly didn't want anyone feeling like they needed to have pity on me for the things I had gone through. So, I just stayed quiet, put a smile on my face, and kept moving forward. I think it must have been the pressure of working full-time, paying bills, trying to go to college and just everything else that comes with being 18 that tipped me right over the edge.

When I reflect back on this particular season of my life, it sort has  become a blur. What I do remember is one specific day, which is what I'd deem as my "crossroad". I spent many, many hours just sitting in the living room, lights off, staring at the wall. I just felt so numb. I didn't want to see or talk to anyone. My roommate came home, and I just said I had to leave; I had to get out. She asked me where I was going, and I replied, "I'm going crazy!" … As dramatic as that sounds now, it was completely true back then. So, I did what any normal 18 year old who was experiencing a mental breakdown would do: I bought a pack of cigarettes. I was not a smoker, whatsoever, but it seemed like the best thing to do at the time. I nervously bought a pack of Marlboro Lights (because that's what my parents smoked when I was a kid), and drove to a nearby neighborhood and parked my car. I just started smoking and crying, smoking and crying. I'd cry because I was smoking, and then I'd smoke because I was crying. When I think back to that moment, all I want to do is hug my 18 y/o self and say, "it's going to get much better, you're going to be okay". 

I was having a mental breakdown. I denied it for a little bit because I felt like only troubled people have breakdowns, and I thought I was a good person. I was an independent adult, working full-time, going to school, and even volunteering as a youth leader at my church. But that was the problem. I had too much going on, and I was pouring out in so many different areas. I quickly realized that my mental breakdown was leading me straight into depression. That word scared me so much. That is when, with the help of several close friends, I decided I was going to see a therapist. I was so fearful of what was going to happen, and what we were going to discuss in our sessions. 

Seeing a therapist literally saved my life. He taught me that I was normal, and that it was time to get my life back. He also reassured me that the reason I broke down was because I never dealt with some serious childhood issues. He helped me to walk through each experience and to redeem myself through the healing process. 

I look back at that season and realize I could have made two choices: one choice would have been to just remain in a state of depression and who knows what path that would have taken me on. Or, the second choice would have been to face my emotions head on, and come out a healed person.

I'm so grateful, and so proud that I made the second choice. I don't know who or where I'd be had I not.

I love that this man accepts me for who I am.
All of my past, my baggage & my flaws.

If you ever find yourself in a similar place, know that you're normal and that there are so many others going through the same thing. Take care of yourself, and know that your well being is the most important thing.



  1. Thank you for sharing your experience. It can be so challenging to face demons/traumas, etc.. So glad you got the support you needed!

  2. Thanks Jade! It really can be defeating to face hardships, but it's so important to take a step back and see the purpose in each season. Like I said, therapy saved my life.

    Thanks for reading!

  3. Love the positive message at the end. It's so easy to feel alone at that age. And so easy to forget that not everyone has it together, too

    xx Katie

  4. Katie!

    Thanks so much for your comment. I think realizing that I wasn't alone in that season, and with the help of God and my therapist, helped me survive. I hope that I can be a voice of reason to people who feel they are alone and afraid.

    Thanks for reading! :)