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Kate MacDonald: A different journey

Kate MacDonald

This is not a piece about answers, about shiny times, about easy times, about success even. This is a piece about process. My processing and steps. And hopefully someone else will read these words and feel less alone in their process, maybe even find some bravery to take their first step.

I have been on this path of unearthing my mental health mysteries for a long, long time. Longer than I was even aware of. Back to being an anxious, independent, overly emotional child. I can see the signs now, looking back. 

Even as a teenager, who could stay up and out all night until the sunrise with little to no fatigue, I see the signs there too.

Into my early 20’s where the party truly never ended and things were barely in control. Choices and people and priorities all show the signs of needing mental health intervention then as well.

That brings me here – almost 30 and playing zero games about my future.

I have been diagnosed with anxiety for about five years and taken and tried a handful of medications, only to be disappointed by their lack of magic to fix me. I have been through a few therapists, mentors, spiritual guides, and energy healers. Feeling like I am on a path, certainly, but still there was a piece that just wasn’t fitting, a coin that simply wasn’t dropping.

Always pointing to my adoption as the root of most of my abandonment and attachment issues, I didn’t look much further. Until I broke down.

My life, this life I have prayed for I can barely enjoy. The paranoia and intrusive thoughts keep me pinned into a pattern and way of thinking I need to break free from. I want to break free. I look back on myself even a year ago and barely recognize my thought processes anymore. I spiral into panic and tight chested moments leaving little room to enjoy anything. I am so tightly wound with the idea that I can control all of my life, I can’t ever relax. Fixated on the idea that no one truly likes me and everyone is on the brink of leaving.

I am exhausted. Because on top of this I am many other things. This sick brain is also a creative, loving, innovative, fierce place to reside. But most of that I am currently unable to see. I can’t see how I love myself and how I am loved for.

Seemingly, this sounds bleak. Seemingly, I sound as though I am giving up. But that is truly not the case. I am writing this because right in this part of the struggle, journey, work, people quit. Now is where there is no warm sunshine, there are no unicorns and rainbows.

This is where most people stop. And because we don’t really talk about things in full, we keep re-accessing the same dialogues and conversations so there are also no stones for people to step on, no lily pads to jump between and no bread crumbs to follow. Fuck that. I want to leave a map. I am not certain what comes next. I am in the in-between. I am not certain tomorrow will be better or will feel as beautiful as two days ago, but I am in the in-between, and in this place all there is is hope and faith and prayer and dreams – whatever that means to you. 

I can’t even say I’m familiar with these things because I am not. I have faith that if I get dressed I can do it. Even though on my break at work I need to make six phone calls about assessments, leave three voicemails advocating for myself, and answer three emails about how I have been placed on yet another wait list.

I have hope that at some point every hard thought won’t lead me to tears, but in the meantime I must cry to pour out from my very full cup. I must have faith and hope that the parts of me I am burying will plant seeds for the person I dream myself to be. I am on my way to her. I must forgive the person I have had to be to get me here and thank the universe for the wisdom along the way. I must pray that it isn’t too late for me or my life, but that I am simply on time.

I continue to pray that this shit gets easier because god knows my shoulders can only hold so much. But I have faith I can handle what I have been given. I walk and speak and dream in gratitude to those around me who keep me in their prayers. I know that what comes next is an onslaught of appointments, scary words, long therapists appointments, and unlearning lots of behaviours and coping mechanisms. And I will never be ready which I guess means I’m always ready. 

I promise to myself to continue in the vein of discovery and to everyone else in the in-between this is but a moment, a chapter, a journey. Forever forward and everything will come together in time.  

Be easy, in love, Kate 

See also: Kate MacDonald: Cracking open empathy during the pandemic

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