The awesome thing about being open about your struggles is that there are times when things come full circle. You remember talking about how bad it was at a certain point in your life and you realize that may be the time you got a grip on your situation. For me, there are a couple different times when I look back I think—“and that’s when I got it.”
One of those times was when I discovered Post Secret—the books made by Frank Warren. I have told people before that when my brother took me to Borders and sat me down and showed me this series, something changed with me. I finally saw that people everywhere are dealing with their own nightmares and I am not alone in this. Not at all. I remember my brother reading through one of the books and showing me someone’s post card and it was a beautiful pink flower and written on it was “My anxiety controls me.” Even writing about it now makes me tear up because I remember feeling so desperate to feel normal and for someone to understand me. Even though it was anonymous and whoever wrote it will never know how much it meant to me—I felt connected to someone for the first time.
Another “aha” moment I had was when I was studying abroad in London. It was my first trip alone—I had gone to high school and college with my friends and my boyfriend and I very rarely went to the store without someone I knew, let alone another country. I remember the nerves as I got off the plane and thought “OK. Now what?” If I had a panic attack, if my anxiety controlled me while I was there, not only would it ruin my entire experience, but no one was there to help me. It forced me to stop relying on other people to drop everything and be by my side. It forced me to get from point A to point B without having a meltdown. Being in unknown territory was always something that made me uncomfortable, but once I got to London, I saw that not only could I manage to do it, but that I was enjoying every minute of every day. There are so many examples of different things that happened on my trip there that made me feel like it was the happiest and healthiest I have ever been. London launched me into finally becoming healthy again. Deciding to take the risk to go there may be one of the most important decisions of my life.
Lastly, this website has been the biggest moment for me to understand what I have been through, who I have become and where I want to go. When I came up with this idea, I just wanted to find a way to help people. When I launched the site, a year ago, I had never been so excited or nervous in my life. I was literally about to tell everyone I know about my struggle in hopes to help others see that, while we all may not understand exactly what you are going through, we all have our own personal trauma we are dealing with. I felt so happy to be putting this out into the world—I didn’t realize how much it was going to continue to help me. It has made me understand people. It has made me see that people I know are fighting through things that I didn’t even know about. I have learned just how strong and resilient people are and I have seen that the people who write in and follow this site work through their problems and come out on the other side with a strong, positive outlook that cannot be taken away. I learn more from this site and it helps me more than I could have ever imagined.
With having a year of Listen, Lucy under my belt, I feel like I am not sure what is to come of it. I am excited for the future and want to continue to help others express what is going on and I want this site to help create a better world—one with less judgment and more understanding. I have learned that while my daily panic attacks are long gone, I continue to struggle from time to time and that’s when I turn to this site for inspiration and for my reality check. It calms me. It grounds me and it definitely humbles me. Thank you for being there for my first year of pursuing a dream of mine and for helping me show this small part of the world that we are all in this together.
Cheers to one year and to 50 more!