I am less than 24 hours from officially surviving the most heart wrenching, traumatizing, emotionally charged, tumultuous, unforeseeable, devastating decade of my life (Jane Austen would disapprove of that many adjectives).
Speaking of Jane, 10 years ago I was obsessed with the movie Becoming Jane (I also had a huge crush on James McAvoy, that is until his overdramatized portrayal of mental illness in Split). Like Austen’s character in the film, I wanted to experience a great love story but then spend my life dedicated to my writing (and writing six of the greatest novels in the English language couldn’t hurt either).
But while my love for my creativity may have been strong, my love for myself was not. Back in 2007 while I was still recovering from the harrowing Lost finale, I was also experiencing one of the worst depressed episodes of my life. When I look back at journal entries from February 2007, I write about “cutting” (something I haven’t written about on this blog but probably should).
“I know it’s wrong,” I wrote, “but I need something to subside the pain. I need something to show that I’m still not okay, that I can’t keep pretending.”
To this day it’s difficult to explain to folks why I would ever inflict such self-harm, but then think about alcoholism and substance abuse. In fact, I recommend if you ever get the chance to take a course I recently completed called “Mental Health First Aid.” For someone who’s experienced mental illness herself, I still found the tools and knowledge from this course invaluable in my everyday life and my relationships with loved ones.
But 10 years ago, I did not have Type 1 diabetes. That came in April of 2009. Hard to believe, right? I still remember a time in my life when I didn’t have to prick my finger multiple times a day or change out a device every three days so I could receive the necessary insulin to eat and subsequently live.
And Then I Met Diabetes
I may have imagined being diagnosed with a chronic disease while depressed might send me over the edge – might even encourage suicide. But maybe I don’t give myself enough credit? Because when I was diagnosed with that disease I had every reason to be upset, angry and done with life.
Fuck it, I remember thinking. I am not going to let diabetes get the better of me. I’m going to show it that I can live an amazing life in spite of it, that I can be happy even as it continually drags me down.
I was determined to find out why I, like so many others, chose to live.
In a journal entry from May 2007, I wrote: I am starting to think that I might not be alive in 10 years. I don’t know why. But I’m starting to believe I wasn’t meant to live a long life or even a normal one.
Yeah I definitely didn’t have a “normal” one. Diabetes helped change that. But what’s really “normal?” We all have our growing pains. We all experience traumatic events and hope that we can recover and become strong, beautiful individuals.
30 is the New Nothing, It’s Just Better
So you know what? I am done with my 20’s. I am done questioning my own self-worth, worrying about what others think of me and putting up with the world’s bullshit.
I am ready for my 30’s. And I will be jumping for joy. I survived a shit ton of black cloud nonsense. I am going to be happy and confident and laughing and not give a fuck what others think of me. Because I know exactly who I am, and I know exactly what I want to give back to this world.
In the past 10 years I have survived Type 1 diabetes, suicide, depression, eating disorders, chronic pain, a hypothyroid scare, a cancer scare, abusive relationships, multiple heartbreaks, financial debt, one-night stands and too many over-analyzed episodic memories. But let’s be real. I learned a lot. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for my 20’s. But now I think it’s totally reasonable to want to enjoy life and have a bit of safe fun.
And if I happen to die in some freak accident a few hours before I actually turn 30, well then at least I know I did well with what I was given (I even wrote a book). And that’s okay.
But let’s stop being morbid for a second. I like life, and I like to think I’ll still be here a decade from now. So 30’s I am already warning you, don’t try to pull over any more surprises on me. No sugarcoating. I’m fucking strong, and I will take you down.
P.S. Love you.