Looking Back

When you live out of context, when you don’t remember where your life is at, it can be useful to take a moment and look back. Even though today you might feel the same as yesterday, you might have gone a long way since the beginning of the year.

This time two years ago, I was having extreme headaches that I would have for months. Little did I know this would cause me to lose my job because of it.

This time last year, my body was in pain due to stress. The headaches were back, I was hopeless, getting extremely depressed, moving on with energy and brain power I did not have to do my Master thesis. “While everyone is running at full speed, I’m trying to run when I still need to first walk.” Suicide was in my mind.

On January 1st 2015 I decided to take a break. I needed to stop this train before it wrecked. “Last night it reminded me how I cannot have another year like this. Crying for no apparent reason, closer to a panic attack, last night was a strange evening. There was nothing to celebrate, my strength is down and I think I have gotten myself into a depression.”

An extremely hard decision to take a break from studies and work, without financial security, without knowing what the future will bring, and seeing all your friends working and being successful. It is terrifying. If I didn’t have a wife and a father who help sustain me, there are high chances that I would have lost everything and ended up in the streets.

I decided then that 2015 would be a year of recovery, and yet it became a year looking for recovery. I spend this whole year going from doctors to doctors to get 1) help with financial help and 2) get me in a rehabilitation program.

In February I saw a neuropsychologist that told me I had a burnout. In April an incompetent doctor told me that my cognitive difficulties were due to depression – from 5 minutes of talking. In November a team of brain trauma physicians told me I have brain fog and recommended me to be in a rehabilitation program.

2015 was a year full of emotional ups and downs. Sometimes you get hope sometimes you are hopeless. A year of patience and learning. I realised that you cannot get everything the day after. I understood that society doesn’t work this way – everything takes time. A lot of time. It’s a learning curve.

From where I stand, there is a lot of improvements since the beginning of the year. I have started to be more involved in cooking, using calendars and reminders, allowing myself to relax and be okay with doing nothing. Best of all, I have started to learn to say “no” to people and requests. I still have things to learn and behaviours to change, but all in due time.

So here I sit, sipping some tea, feeling a bit anxious, thinking about what next year will hold. Contemplating if I should give up the social system that never gave me any support but stress, and simply be a freelancer or start a small company. Or should I wait and get in the system?

Will next year be a year in which I will recover, a year in which I will start working or get back to school? Does it go uphill from here?

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