I fell hard, I fell deep
|It took me years and years to stand up after my fall. I fell hard, I fell deep but I overcame my difficulties gradually. Nonetheless, this is not a success story; it is rather a survivor’s tale. Here goes…
Fifteen years ago I suffered a mental breakdown. Twice in five years, I got so overwhelmed by stress and anxiety I couldn’t function properly for a period of time. The reasons were beyond me in both cases, the way I handled these awful periods badly was totally my own doing.
The first time was when a pupil of mine harassed and assaulted me during my work as a counselor. On top of that, his criminal family stalked me and uttered death threats for a year. I totally freaked out.
The second time, not totally recovered from the first attack and in hindsight suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, my house was burgled and money was taken. I got scared and collapsed again.
In both cases, I quit my job. I got sick, went on leave and entered the welfare system on disability. I have been on it ever since.
Because I was a highly trained and educated professional they let me hang in the system without really knowing what to do about my situation. Nowadays they would have offered me in-depth counseling and looked for another job opportunity but then they basically let me have it and ignored me. I was financially secure every month, although of course, my income came down dramatically. But I was so overwhelmed by it all, the loss of professional identity, the coping with stress, anxiety, and depression, I took everything for granted and was glad they didn’t force me to take another job. True: the mental health system provided for medication after visiting their clinic twice.
For ten years I volunteered on jobs, tried my luck as a Dutch poet and a writer, with writer's block and success alternating. I was not happy; I was just in the survival mode.
Until I discovered Writing.com and tried writing in English 8 months ago. That’s when things changed overnight. I found joy, and happiness was part of my daily life again. I had survived at last and had found a new occupation, a new identity.
My past has been bleak and somber but my present is bright and therefore my future is better now.
"If you fell down yesterday, stand up today." -- H.G. Wells.
It took me years. I am a slow learner, I guess. But I am getting there!
I learned the hard way that you can’t always rely on yourself. You are wired a certain way and you have to deal with that. Although I learned in my profession as a psychologist to try to act and behave a certain way when times are rough, it’s not always possible to find that right way of coping. In my case, I was too fragile and probably too sensitive to deal with overwhelming situations. To be frank, I had omissions in childhood due to a difficult upbringing. I learned that when you missed out on certain things in childhood later in life you can get into trouble. Those years in your youth are often an indicator of how you deal with life events.
I fell into a deep hole when challenged in life. I climbed out of that deep pit although it took some considerable time. Now it’s a new era in which I try to grow as a human being and an English oriented poet and writer. That new phase in life feels good and fills me with hope and vigor. It’s up to me to make something out of the shattered pieces of those past years and evaluate and learn. I really hope I can live up to those new expectations. But I think I am worth the try.
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