The last two years have been interesting to say the least. I always felt like there was a hurdle to overcome. It started with me healing from an insane 2020 that involved me overcoming mental health challenges stemming from the pandemic (the isolation), a stressful workload due to COVID-19, dating someone on and off who never made it clear what we were, overcoming health problems, and coping with the sickness and eventual death of my beloved dog of six years, Georgia.
I struggled with my mind being in a state of darkness, so I sought professional counseling. It helped me tremendously and my therapist not only assisted me with the anxiety and depression, but she also encouraged me to be my best self at work. We would discuss ways to effectively communicate whenever I felt that I was not being heard. We set holistic goals and addressed past traumas because to create a better future it is imperative to heal from the past no matter how hard it is.
I turned my pain into purpose by using the uncomfortable feelings as fuel to propel me to my next destination — Raleigh, NC. I had my doubts initially, but my move has benefited me in a huge way. I sat down and really examined the pros and cons, and once I prayed on it and realized the good outweighed the bad, so I made the move. The move was hard because the night prior to relocating, I was dumped by the person I was seeing at the time via text message. That night I sobbed to the point of having swollen eyes. Heartbroken, but determined, I made my way to Raleigh the next day because I was so grateful for a change of scenery and to be away from a city where I had spent twelve years of my life longing for greater and never feeling at home. The last two of those twelve years I was almost completely consumed by anxiety and a great deal of sadness.
I turned the pain into purpose by choosing to grow from these experiences versus falling victim to them. I chose happiness over sorrow and faith over fear. Trust me this journey has not been easy, and I have my moments at times where I allow my thoughts to consume me, but I get up and fight every day. The weapons that I use in my battles against my anxiety and depression are God, the Bible, my support system (my family, close friends and church), exercise, and writing. Whenever I am overwhelmed and am not in a talking mood, I turn to pen and paper to let my frustrations out. I feel an immediate feeling of release and relief.
As I reflect on everything that I have gone through to get to this point, I feel like a champ. I view these difficult challenges as learning experiences. COVID-19 has taught me to love and to lean on loved ones because tomorrow is never promised. My battles with different health issues taught me that I’m a precious vessel and I need to care for myself better. Losing my dog Georgia made me appreciate all the times I had with her and it reminded me that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. She is still and always will be a part of my heart.
Being dumped by someone who didn’t commit for three years taught me what I do not want in my future relationships. I expect more and I will be upfront about that from the beginning. I will be clear in my expectationsMoving forward I will know how to communicate better with my partner; while this was not a fun experience to go through, I learned a lot. To paraphrase Biggie Smalls, I went from negative to positive and I’m happy with the results. I am looking forward to the future and what it holds for me. I encourage anyone reading this article to turn your trying times into triumph.
Jasmin Ikard resides in the RDU area.
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