Confession: A year ago, I hit my personal rock bottom.
Not in terms of addictions or anything like that, but in my mental and emotional health. The stress, depression and anxiety that came from my declining health, misery at the workplace, and near monthly threat of being evicted from this place I call home were all-consuming. I was overwhelmed, paralyzed by anxiety and severe depression, and the monthly shingles and PHN flare ups that made it almost impossible to function.
The increasing negativity and libelous articles written about me, and the horrible things that were said on social media because of the book project fiasco did nothing to improve how I was feeling, despite my efforts to right things slowly on my own. Every rude word, every name I was called, every threat and suggestion I received to kill myself (yes… I get regular “suicide suggestions”) was another blow to my already fragile state. I felt like a UFC fighter taking the worst beating ever, with no way to even say I was done.
I will admit for the first time in written form that I actually entertained thoughts of self-harm. (Just writing that out gives me chills.) Not because of the haters per se, but because I was just overwhelmed. Done. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t see a way out of the hole that had become even deeper than when I first started this blog. The person I’d trusted the most screwed me over the hardest, and the betrayal was so deep, I couldn’t even process it. I didn’t have an actual plan to harm myself or anything, so I was still able to be rescued; but I do remember having to contact a couple of my friends who “got it” so that I could contract to safety. To them, and to my mom, thank you. I owe you my life.
I may have hit rock bottom, but I was not about to plant roots there.
It’s been an incredibly difficult climb upward and outward from this place of darkness and perpetual pain. In the last 12 months, I’ve lost both cats I considered my children, and even worse, I lost my dad. The grief from these tragedies made it almost impossible to breathe, but somehow… somehow I kept going. After all that I’d lost, I just couldn’t keep losing. Something would eventually have to give.
I hit my first turning point after the death of my father, when I told myself I wouldn’t break my last promise to him, the one about taking care of myself. I’m making my health my #1 priority, haters and naysayers be damned, and that includes my emotional health. If I don’t have my health, both physical and mental/emotional, there’s no way I can be totally productive, not in any area of my life.
Naturally, one of the things that has really suffered in this time is ye olde blog. And it kills me. Those of you who have been following for years know how I feel about this site, the work I’ve put into it, the community I’ve built, and the people I’ve helped with it. Not only that, but this is a source of income for me, albeit quite small, so staying away doesn’t just hurt me creatively, it affects me financially. And considering I just spent the last 6 months either unemployed or desperately turning around transcription projects and temping, that’s not something I can really afford. I’ve tried numerous times to make my regular postings a thing again, but every time I’d try something new, another tragedy would hit, or I’d get another eviction notice or disconnection notice from some utility, making it impossible to think about anything BUT money. Money, money, money, money, MONEY!!! Ugh.
But I’ve come a very long way over the past 12 months. I’m finding great ways to manage my PHN symptoms, I got back into my Transforming Myself project, finishing the weight loss I’d started (just 10 lbs to go until my happy size!), and I’ve finally secured a good job that will suit my needs beautifully, provided everything goes well these first few months. I’m finally able to go back to living paycheck to paycheck, rather than that perpetual anxiety and worry about where that next nickel would be found. (Who’d have thought that living paycheck to paycheck would be an upgrade?!)
Because the dust is starting to settle a bit, I feel a little less anxious. While I still owe a lot of money to a lot of places, I don’t feel like I have to keep waiting for the inevitable knock on my door that comes with an eviction notice upon answering; I don’t feel like I have to hide in my room, on the off-chance someone might see me living in my place, for fear that they’d question why I was living instead of paying rent; I feel like my electric bill is going to be manageable at some point, so I don’t have to worry about what will power the things I need to keep my home and blog running.
Basically, I’m not a total effing basket case like I was last summer. I am not 100% and have a very long way to go, and my health requires practically 24/7 surveillance just to make sure I stay upright; but I’ve improved so much over these past 12 months, I almost feel like a new woman.
And that means alllllll those recipes I’ve started, all those pictures I’ve taken, all those random bits of prose and new side projects I’d wanted so badly to bring to fruition 12 months ago, can finally happen again. I know some of you might be saying, “Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before…” and you’d be correct in your statement. But you couldn’t be more wrong about ME. Unless you know what it’s like to inhabit a particular person’s life with all its trials and tribulations, you don’t really know them, so to assume I will be “boring” or that I’ve “lost my mojo” is just silly.
While it’s been a very inconsistent year of posts, I’m back. And I couldn’t be more thrilled to be! I will share a new recipe momentarily, and there are a lot more of those and new tip posts waiting in the wings. Plus, there’s a brand new project I have been working on behind the scenes, and I can’t wait to finally be able to unveil it.
To those of you who check in via email or send me cards, etc., thank you for being so patient and caring. You guys definitely make me keep going and help me not lose so much hope. And I love, love, LOVE knowing that you’re saving money and eating healthier, all thanks to this li’l blog. I look forward to getting to know all the new followers that have recently come on board, and once I get a few posts under my belt, we’ll look into making the Facebook page the rockin’ place it was before Zuckerberg & Co. changed up their algorithm *grumble, grumble*. ; )
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I didn’t feel right just launching into a new recipe post without giving some sort of update first. It feels good to be back, and back for real this time! Thank you for continuing on this journey with me. See you soon with a new recipe!