How a Series of Unfortunate Events Led to a Dream Come True
I’ll start off by saying that I have an inspiration to write, and so I am. Writing a blog will be an adventure, as with most things in life. I can promise only two things. One: I will be honest. I will tell the truth about my life, experiences, thoughts and beliefs. Two: I will be positive. Each article will include controversy, difficulty and possibly failure, but I am an optimist and so you will find that each time I share, I will focus on the positives. After all, life for me is about honesty and optimism.
I have dreams; goals and ambitions for my life that until recently seemed clear and attainable. One of the goals is to be a writer. And as I sit at my table, sipping coffee on this cloudy Monday morning, it seems surreal to actually be writing. It was not an easy road that led me to take steps towards this dream. But I’m glad to be here, difficulty and all. I like how Daniel Handler used the phrase ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’. For me, it truly was. But first, some history…
In December of 2012, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type I disorder. Honestly, this came as a shock to me. I pride myself on ‘knowing’ myself. I can recognize that I have highs and lows, bad days and good, but I never thought of my experiences as being a disorder. I was quickly placed on a regimen of medication and found it much easier to maintain balance, especially in my thinking.
I had been cautioned by many people, including my expert doctor, against quitting my medications. My doctor explained that I had a 98% chance of hitting a manic or depressive episode if I were to quit taking my meds. And yet, he explained, it is the nature of many bipolar patients to want to quit their meds. Why would I want to take medications for the rest of my life, when I was feeling fine? Why deal with a host of side affects, which for me included weight gain and mild tremors in my hand, when I did not think I was struggling? Fast forward two and a half years: I decided to quit my medications. That was unfortunate event number one.
When I was originally diagnosed, I was living in San Diego, CA. I had a wonderful job, and although I lived far from my family, I was enjoying the freedom and fun of sunny San Diego. After four years in California, I made the drastic decision to move to Portland to help my sister. She is a single mom with two kids, and needed the help to finish culinary school. I found myself working 60 plus hours a week, between watching my sisters kids during the day to working a low-paying administrative position in the evenings. I was burnt out and ready to make a change. I was applying, and finally landed what at the time was my ‘dream job’. I was chosen as the office manager for a local primary care practice. That was unfortunate event number two.
After three stressful months of long days, half of which I was not medicated, I was fired from my dream position. They told me ‘it was not a good fit’. I had hit a manic episode a few days before the news (not sleeping, anxiety ridden, racing thoughts), and plummeted into a depressive episode quickly after. I wasn’t sure my life was worth living anymore. That was unfortunate event number three.
Slowly but surely, I began to recover. I had started back on medications, this time with a doctor who was able to give me a plan of action that felt closer to what I wanted. I applied for unemployment and was able to begin my job hunt. When my unemployment check finally came through, it was accompanied by a letter. The letter said that if I wanted to start a business, in lieu of looking for work, that I will still be eligible for my unemployment insurance. As long as I was working 40 hours per week on my business, I could quit looking for work. This sparked something in me. It created the option for a new future, a hopefulness in me that had been lacking.
Now, there is no way in high heaven that I want to start a business. I’ve seen it done, and it seems like way too much work. Long hours, financial stress, little to no predictability, all of which are not my cup of tea. But the letter was like a calling. What did I really want to do with my life? What was I good at? What was my dream? Finally, I was able to see how my unfortunate events were leading me somewhere. I’m not sure where that is, but this blog is the start.
At age 26, I cannot claim to know it all about life. Nor do I think it is attainable to ‘have it all’. But two things truly tickle me: happiness and health. I love to dabble in what makes us happy, how our journey can be blessed with long periods of joy and contentment. I also enjoy focusing on health. What makes us healthy, how can we pursue health, and what does it mean to be ‘hot’? Women in their 20’s and 30’s face a lot of challenges, particularly surrounding how to be happy and hot. Inspired by my own journey, I will explore what it means for women to be happy and healthy. After all, happy girls are hot girls, and healthy girls are hot girls, and you can be both.
I hope you enjoy my journey and my dream.