For a long time when I struggled with severe mental illness, I felt like I was 10 steps behind other people that didn’t have the same challenges as me. I spent years unable to function, completely isolated from people, socially anxious, in and out of episodes and hospitals, and struggling with negativity and self-hate. I was unable to work for a number of years and had no career like most other people my age. People were in long term relationships, getting married and having children and had years of working in their careers under their belt… me zero. Their lives seemed to be amazing from the outside looking in and I was genuinely happy for them. But it also depressed me that I was not thriving, happy or successful. My life seemed to be a mess. I felt trapped in the aftermath of mental illness.
What I didn’t appreciate or give myself credit for, is that during this time (and 10 years in therapy), I was working on me. Combing through some serious issue surrounding trauma, mental illness and self-hate. I realize now that it was a blessing that I had the space, time and support to deal with those things. Volunteered, went back to school and slowly started to reclaim my life. I got pieces of myself back bit by bit and found new strength that I never knew existed!
It’s cliché, but I am so much stronger as a result of everything I’ve fought my way back from. I have a career that I’m proud of working in the mental health field. I’m good at it and proud of it. I get to help people everyday which has been something Ive always loved doing. It was instilled in me by my grandmother who was a nurse. I’m proud to be able to honour her in that way.
I had a full circle moment yesterday. I went to a studio for a photoshoot. My first one in almost 20 years. The pictures will be used for my website and promotional materials.. for my business! maiLIFE! It’s been an idea I’ve had in my head for so long and now it’s real! maiLIFE is a word I created when I was unwell and now other people are making reference to it. Using it. It’s a real thing! They’re excited to hear what it’s all about. Here I was standing chatting with a group of black business owners.. and it hit me! These are my peers! I too am a black business owner.
It’s so interesting because so many of my friends and the people around me are where I am now. Starting their own business (or having recently started them). They’re at the same stage I am.
I no longer feel like I’m 10 steps behind because I’m not. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. A 9-5 that I love. Creating a business that I love. Love from amazing friends and family. Self-love like I’ve never known before. Life is amazing. So blessed and incredibly grateful.
Peace Love & Dreams Actualized