Immediately after writing that initial blog post for Project Pilgrim, I was struck by feelings of uncertainty and worry. Would anyone want to read about me? Did I have any right to include my voice into the conversation about mental health – something with which I’ve never had a significant experience? The response I received after writing that was overwhelming; people truly made me feel like my voice was valuable and that my story did matter. The writing itself was incredibly therapeutic as well. With that in mind, I’ve decided to write a “part 2”.
This has been a very different summer for me in many respects. It’s the first time in three years that I haven’t travelled (thank you frisbee for taking me around the world) and subsequently, it’s the first summer in three years where I’ve actually worked full time and been able to save some money (screw you frisbee for being so expensive).
I was incredibly fortunate to get an amazing job working in communications at my university; it’s the first time that I’ve actually found something that I could see myself doing, something that legitimizes my degree choice and makes me feel like I’m not wasting a huge sum of money. For the past two months, I also worked for the Canadian Census – I was that person who knocked on your door repeatedly, reminding you (nicely) that you had to complete your census.
It was busy, so busy, but I think I needed that busyness because of everything else that happened. At the end of June, I received some family-related news that really really affected me. I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say that my family dynamic has changed forever, and it has been a very difficult transition to come to terms with.
As the oldest sibling, I’ve also felt a lot of pressure to protect my sisters, to try and help them while also balancing the self-care that I recognize I need. Luckily, I have incredible friends and boyfriend who have been there for me whenever I’ve needed it.
There have been moments, however, where I’ve felt like I can’t go to anyone with my issues, my concerns, or my fears. Because if I do, that will make them all the more real and I’ll have to accept all of it, and sometimes I just don’t want to. Sometimes I want to pretend that everything is fine.
But that’s not true; that’s not the case; and I can’t. So I talk to people, I write, or read or go to the gym. Whatever will make me feel better. Because ultimately, the best person to take care of myself is me.