It’s safe to say that 2020 was one of the worst years of our lives so far. However, for me, it was the year my life changed drastically for the better. I moved halfway across the country and started my life over. Yes, in the middle of the pandemic.
When the first lockdown happened about a year ago, my life changed just like everyone else’s. I was at my worst — mentally, physically, and emotionally. It felt like my walls were caving in, and there was no escape. I constantly thought about suicide, believing that leaving this world was the only escape from the constant pain. I was depressed and so tired. Living was exhausting.
On top of that, I was in a toxic, unhealthy relationship. My family didn’t understand my depression, and I could never live up to their expectations. I continued to push through the pain, trying to carry on with my daily life, pretending everything was fine. But, it’s hard watching yourself become a shell of who you once were.
Then, I started to ask myself the question: Did I really want to spend the rest of my life feeling so empty?
I reached out to those closest to me as best as I could. I wasn’t the best with words when talking about my feelings, but I mustered up the courage to say that I wasn’t doing well and was very unhappy. In fact, I felt like I had no real support group. My relationship was becoming increasingly more toxic and unsafe. I felt lonely, isolated, and afraid. I knew something needed to change.
The more I sat down, looked at my life, and saw how unhappy I was, the more I knew I needed to make a change. And before I knew it, I was doing something terrifying but exhilarating all at the same time: I left.
It took every last ounce of strength that I had in me. But I did it.
Up until that point in my life, I felt like I was living for someone else. I was constantly doing what others expected of me, and I felt like a disappointment when I fell short. I didn’t want to be that person anymore — I wanted to live for myself. And I couldn’t do this if I remained in the same area.
I made the arrangements to stay with family halfway across the country — family that I hadn’t spoken to in years. I was shocked, scared, and excited that they welcomed me with no questions asked. So I packed my dog and belongings into a rental car and drove 20 hours straight without sleep. I ran purely on anxiety and adrenaline.
When I got there, I didn’t even know what to expect. I just knew that where I had been was no longer safe for me. I truly believe if I stayed any longer, I wouldn’t have been here. And though I’m still struggling to find myself and put my life back together, I finally feel happy. I still suffer from anxiety and my chronic illness, but I feel like I can breathe again. Leaving and starting over was the best decision I’ve ever made. And I will never be sorry for making my own health and happiness a priority.
For anyone who has ever felt hopeless, afraid, or ready for a new beginning, I truly hope that this piece resonates with you.
Always put your physical and emotional well-being first, even if that means starting over. Toxicity isn’t always obvious that it’s happening. Sometimes it’s your best friend who “means well” but is constantly judging you. It could be a member of your family who is just looking out for you by making you feel like you’re not good enough. Or a significant other/partner who gaslights you into believing everything is your fault. None of these are okay and shouldn’t be tolerated. You deserve better and are worth more than they will ever know.
If you’re seriously in a situation that isn’t safe for you, or you aren’t happy for whatever reason: leave. And if that’s something that is difficult for you, there are so many resources out there that can help you! Some of us need a reset button sometimes and a fresh start. There is a whole world out there full of joy and exciting opportunities right at your fingertips!