I am not the same woman I was 365 days ago, nor will I ever be that woman again…
To be honest, I started 2018 in a very dark place. My plan was to not survive the winter, but the universe had other ideas. My transformation began in mid-January, about one week after a day filled with ambulance rides and wishing everyone goodbye. Little did I know, though, that what I thought was goodbye was actually hello.
Like a phoenix, a part of me died this year, only to be reborn yet still full of fiery passion. 2018 transformed me; I rose from the ashes of pain to blossom into a rare and beautiful flower. This doesn’t mean that I’m perfect or anywhere near enlightened or healed; it just means that I’ve found my hope and inspiration to work towards a life that is truly worth living.
My treatment led me to my transformation.
Since mid-January of 2018, I’ve committed to a treatment called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT is an off-branch of cognitive behavior therapy, and centers around four main areas, referred to as “modules” since the therapy is taught through skills courses. It combines the concept of mindfulness along with skills in distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. DBT is not for the faint of heart, and it requires intense commitment to not only attending weekly sessions, but also to constantly working outside of your sessions to implement the skills and lifestyle changes needed to build “a life worth living.”
Each day, I’m pushing myself towards improving over the day before.
Every moment I struggle is an opportunity to reach into my soul and utilize something I’ve learned in therapy. Really, though, this treatment has been more than just memorizing acronyms and reminding myself to use grounding techniques; my year in DBT has been a transformation of self-awareness and discovering just who I really am.
I’ve embraced parts of myself that long lived in the shadows; I’m slowly accepting that aspects of my character are deeply rooted symptoms of my personality disorder. I have also had to work towards making peace with my past and accepting that it does not define my present or my future.
It’s a difficult, painful process to work towards radical acceptance and self-love, but each day I creep closer towards it all.
They say the path to enlightenment is a life-long journey that few often complete. The same could be said for my own awakening, as I started a voyage that I have no intention of ever ending. I will forever more be searching for my wise mind and striving to stay on the middle path.
For this next year, my goal is to not only continue my transformation towards being the best version of myself and making my life worth living every single day, but I hope to find a purpose for my pain and the journey it’s led me on. A friend of mine recently said, “People like us need to be somewhere we can find usefulness in our pain. Otherwise it’s pain without a purpose.” There is always a purpose in our lives, even in the moments of pain. My wish for the new year is to transform my pain into healing powers for those who need it most, for those who battle with their minds and their souls with each breath they take. My goal is that, through saving myself, I find a path to save others in some shape or form.
We are all capable of blossoming into the most beautiful flowers and rising from the ashes of our struggles to a vibrant rebirth. We can all find solace in each other and within our own hearts, and, with time, we can take flight and touch the stars. Because, in this new year, a new hope begins; a life worth living will emerge.
Megan is an avid writer, currently published on The Mighty, Project Wednesday, Thought Catalog, Unwritten, YourTango, and Words Between Coasts. She hopes to use her writing to break down the negative stigmas and barriers for mental illness, specifically borderline personality disorder. Megan is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University (2010) and spent 7 years as a public school teacher before making the difficult decision to pursue other career options. Megan lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with her husband, two delightful daughters, and three super silly cats. When Megan isn’t writing, she enjoys traveling and a good bowl of ice cream. You can read more of Megan’s work by visiting her website, http://meganglosson.com/.