Jennifer's Journey

Today is the last day in May and it wraps up National Mental Health Month. At the start of the month, I shared with you that I would disclose my personal journey, as it relates to mental health. I solicited my dear friend to interview me and I was really excited to share. My excitement came from my desire to express that you can overcome certain obstacles that are placed in your path, without allowing external forces to affect you internally. Well, the interview went more than well - it was even cathartic for me (Thank you, CMF). The format however, was not conducive to this blog. My intent for self-disclosure did not come out the way I visualized and I am one day considering video tapping or penning it. The blog is geared towards quick information for my readers to either prompt awareness and research further or re-confirm what they have already known.

10 year old me
On another note, to keep my word, I will say that situational anxiety and depression had occurred as early as 9 years old for me. I have always been highly self-aware and have even kept a journal since that age, writing down things that affected me on a daily basis. To not go into too much detail then, I will fast forward to age 25. I had just purchased my first real estate property two years prior and had landed what I thought to be a "dream job" in terms of organization notoriety and most important, my salary. I thought, "life is great" and after a while of doing exceptional work, my immediate supervisor began harassing me. One would think that you come to work and have performance reviews that are professional in nature and not personal, right? Well, mine were all personal. My female supervisor who was 20+ years older than me, had an issue with my appearance. She would attack me on a regular basis, especially if she knew that I was exercising. Her comments consisted of, "you should be going to a buffet and not a gym". Anything this woman could do to attack my character, she would do. After a period of time, I began reporting her to HR, building my case. About one month later, while perusing the local newspaper online, I found my position posted in the classified section. Little did I know HR was sharing information with her (which was a complete confidentiality violation). I was shocked, upset and fearful. I immediately went to HR, only to learn that my supervisor reported to them that I had resigned two weeks prior. How was that possible? I was still producing, in fact, I successfully executed a major event the day before I saw my position online. Needless to say, I asked for my exit interview right on the spot. Discernment led me to the online newspaper and I refused to be fired from a job that I performed exceptionally well on.

Learning to LOVE myself
I was now 26, with a mortgage and out of work for almost a year. It was during this time that I was having more depressed days than happy days. Even though my parents taught me to "save for a rainy day", I never envisioned this circumstance to be my "rainy day". It was difficult for me to walk around with a smile on my face, knowing that I no longer had my high paying job as security. My relationship was suffering and I slowly began to push him away. I was hot and cold, never lukewarm. As months went by, anxiety was really high. I was offered several jobs, but turned them down because they were not "ideal". Then, one November morning, I received an email from my former supervisor - the supervisor I left for this "well-known, high paying" position. She was looking for someone to fill a role and had been emailing me at the job I unexpectedly quit from and all the emails were bouncing back to her. I went in for the interview and a few weeks later, I was offered the position. It was at that point that I vowed to speak to a therapist regarding all of the emotions I had experienced during my months of unemployment.

Graduated with Honors
My therapist and I met for a total of 6 months and I will say those were the best 6 months of my entire life. Walls were being broken down and secret boxes were being opened. This process allowed for me to see that I was living for reasons that were not fulfilling to me. I placed too much emphasis on security (money), rather than passion and purpose. I made the decision to go back to school to pursue my dream deferred of becoming a psychologist, opting for a Master's in Mental Health Counseling.

Me at 31, "letting go"
This post is longer than I expected it to be, but I hope that I was able to provide you with a little insight. I have so much more to share prior to age 25 and after my "ah ha" moment during therapy sessions. But I would like to leave you with this... on one of my "down" days, while watching Oprah (yes, the big O), I realized that I was holding a grudge against this supervisor and I needed to forgive her, as well as myself to release that negativity from my life. So I wrote her a thank you letter. I know, it sounds trivial, but I was genuine. I thanked her for the experience of working for her and the organization. Had it not been for that particular situation, I may not have stepped into living on purpose.

Some of us could severely benefit from learning the art of forgiveness. Sometimes it is not always about forgiving others, but forgiving and loving self.

My lessons learned: 1) No one or nothing can dictate my own happiness 2) take nothing that others do personally - their actions have more to do with them, than me 3) my attitude truly determines my aptitude through good and bad situations, always keep a positive attitude & have faith.

Stay encouraged.