I am 36 years old. On a lot of days, I feel about 12. I always got the blues as a kid. Mostly, it would be when Sundays rolled around and I had to go back to school the following day. But sometimes, it was just a feeling that something was ending, and nothing could be exciting again. When I turned 13, my mother's behavior started going from weird to psychotic, and when I was 16, she was institutionalized. My parents' marriage fell apart, and my family broke. I went to college and discovered alcohol. It soothed my anxiety and helped me feel more 'normal'. By this time, my depression and anxiety had been diagnosed and I was in therapy. But there was a long ways to go before I would begin to crawl out from my past.
After college, I lived in a few different cities. I held onto jobs for months, sometimes a year. I had many relationships, but my main relationship was between me and my addiction, whether it was alcohol, or food, or relationships. I made a lot of mistakes, and fell down many times. I kept getting back up, because of this thing that made me write my story tonight. You could call it grace, or strength, or perseverance, or the little voice inside of me that kept saying, 'your story is valuable. YOU are worth the effort.'
Finally, I am in Pittsburgh. I am sober and married. I started graduate school in Professional Writing, and dropped out to take a full-time job a few months ago. The job does not call upon my strengths, which are spontaneous creativity, a passion for helping others, and writing. Instead, the job drains me and makes me want to curl up into a ball every night. I find that despite the married/sober side of things, that my soul is craving community, creativity, and usefulness. I know that I have a purpose, and at times I feel lost because I haven't located that purpose yet. 'How much more time do I have?,' I think to myself. 'I'm already 36!'
I didn't know what I would say when began this email. I wanted my story to have a simple beginning, ordinary middle, and triumphant ending. But life doesn't work that way. It continues, and some days are still a struggle. I still get the blues on Sundays. But I've learned to cherish the little things, like stumbling across this website. I get a lot of strength from hearing others' stories. I believe the ability to relate to one another is one of the most precious gifts we possess. We can use that gift to spread love and cultivate acceptance, which is just what you are doing. Good for you, and keep going!