2020 to 2023 – Three years of changes
January 3, 2023
It is the first week of another new year. Time just seems to be moving so quickly then in other moments it seems to move so slowly.
Personally, I used to make lists of things to accomplish during the new year. I never made any resolutions just a list of goals. I have not made any lists since 2019.
In 2019, I was finally starting to feel things were settling down as a new empty-nester and I was looking forward to becoming more financially stable by working two jobs. Then I got hurt and injured my arm. It was just not the same after that.
Then another new year started, a milestone of hitting the year 2020. As a kid growing up, 2020 was supposed to be this auspicious year full of technological advancements. That was per the movies I watched and was inspired by as a kid. Instead, it was the year of a worldwide pandemic, a virus that killed approximately 3 million people during that first year. That just came out of nowhere and was devastating to everyone, everywhere.
We as the human race moved on and continued living through all these changes. The best and worst of humankind became openly visible. The only thought I had was, that I knew it was coming a very long time ago, and I was just trying to live in my own truth
From 2020 through 2022, I faced not only physical and mental challenges but also financial ones too. It has been a struggle trying to manage the funds I have coming in, despite my best efforts to cut all the excesses out.
The one positive that I discovered was my creativity. I began revitalizing my bead working ability, talent, and skills. This will, hopefully soon, help provide some additional income. I am slow at completing projects due to my hand dexterity as well as my own thought processes.
I have always been very meticulous when it comes to creating things. I have to make sure there are clean lines, and it looks how I envisioned it. This goes the same for any creative projects that I attempt. Then there is the added time of creating and finishing the website, social media, and online purchasing aspects. It is hard due to seasonal depression, major depressive disorder, and anxiety to contend with. I am sometimes unmotivated and struggle to get up in the morning.
I am also looking at gaining work as a part-time person and have been busy with that process. I am going through an outreach Veterans program to assist with resume rewrites and finding interviews. Also, a Veterans Administration (VA) program. The VA VRE (Veteran Readiness and Employment) program is aiding me with going back to college to complete the last 12 hours of my degree and also providing a stipend benefit while I finish. The lack of a bachelor’s degree has always been a barrier to better employment and higher pay.
I have also talked with technical schools about gaining skills in a whole different career path and starting programming/coding and website development. These would be on my own and I would have to find the funding for them since they are considered private vocational training. These types of training are not normally supported by federal financial aid or have any scholarship programs. The one program I attempted previously offered a monthly cost of living allowance while you complete it. I have a virtual appointment with them today to get more information.
Choices, so many to think about, and so many decisions to make about my future financial outlook. It is overwhelming at times, but now there is time to focus on these things. I am an empty-nester, unmarried, and have no real responsibilities to anyone at the moment.
There is still an ongoing online relationship, but at this moment in time, I do not know where that is heading. I remain optimistic that, maybe one day, I will actually meet him. Previous experience tells me to stay steadfast in my own progress until that happens. I do enjoy talking to him daily but he has his own issues to contend with, and I am not much help there.
Lastly, there is still the issue of my own personal health. I still have an undiagnosed arm and hand tremor that is still not being treated. The VA medical system has decided that it is all in my “head” and not a physical problem. Yet, it is no longer a daily occurrence. The tremor happens when my arm gets tired after I overextend or use it too much, or when I try to exercise it. It causes physical pain and tiredness. Apparently, that is all in my head too. These so-called “mental health” issues put me back into even more weekly therapy. These too are becoming barriers to employment.
The past few weeks have made me dwell on what is best for me going forward.
I decided that weekly one-on-one therapy sessions were not helping, so we changed those today, and I am on a waiting list for the next group sessions in March. I still have weekly meditation sessions that I can attend as well as my twice-a-month peer art group. After talking with my mental health provider this morning, I had to give her a reason as to why I thought changing my therapy plan was the best course of action.
I thought about the outcome of the last 3 sessions we had and realized that previous one-on-one therapy with the first psychiatrist, over 5 years ago, only produced a few positive outcomes. Those sessions only left more open thoughts about the trauma by not letting me get past them. Reliving those moments was not helpful, for me.
Instead, I found gaining insight through group therapy, and obtaining better coping skills, by recognizing my triggers, was actually a better experience for me overall. The group therapy experience was helping me move forward in a more positive way. It was helping me achieve the goals that I had set for myself by not holding me back.
The doctor asked me if I was sure about changing my plan and I feel in my own mind that this is the best course of action, going forward. These thoughts were actually triggered by a comment she made during our last session. She made the comment that I had to envision myself as the 12-year-old self and work from those feelings, that maybe the 12-year-old Suzanne should have just let it go and moved on.
At first, after thinking about what she said, it made me angry. I had to step back and look at how we were approaching everything. Going all the way back to the abuse I endured as a prepubescent girl was not something I wanted to relive.
I know it is a part of the trauma but in reality, it was a crime that was committed against me, that would never see justice prevail. I was let down by every “grownup” that I turned to and made to feel that I was wrong in asking for help. It was too long ago, I just learned how to cope with it, or block it out of my thoughts the best I could.
It was the abuse as I became a young adult that affected me more. That time period affected how I acted or reacted in relationships with others. Those are things that still affect me even today. That is what I need to focus on instead.
I feel better about that decision and the change in the direction related to my therapy.
So many things going on in my thoughts and in my life at the moment.
It is the beginning of another new year and I have not written down any goals. I have some still safely tucked away at the back of my thoughts. I will just keep going with the flow and see where it takes me.
I know that life is not perfect. There are obstacles both big and small to overcome.
I have known this my whole life and it still has not stopped me from being here today.
I am still seeking the positives in life and trying to find those silver linings when I can.
I am still the same blunt, brutally honest, and that get-to-the-point person that I have always been. Just with fewer sharp edges here and there.
I am still learning new things every day and discovering more things that I like about myself which is always surprising.
I am always that person you can turn to, and I will do the best that I can for others, even if that means not helping but guiding instead.
I am rolling into my fifties with the goodness and grace that I have always tried to portray.
It is not a new year to me; it is just another marker of time.
Thank you so much for stopping by and supporting this blog.
Have a wonderful week!
Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes, always.
3 thoughts on “2020 to 2023 – Three years of changes”
It’s amazing how trauma affects us. I live with it every day. I was thinking of going back to therapy too but I’m not sure I’m up to it.
Therapy is good but only as good as the provider and the willingness of the patient. This viewpoint is based on 9 years of therapy. I started feeling a few months ago that I was no longer getting any sort of value from some of my sessions. Others who have been in the same group as me, sometimes for years, are still not progressing. I know for me personally, it was starting to feel like it was weighing me down, hearing the same thing every time, knowing that it was not my place to say anything except try to be encouraging. Everyone goes at their own pace. I think the sessions should be broken down further to gradually build people back up and let people go at their own pace. Instead of using this all-encompassing approach like the sessions do. How much progress can be really done in 13 weeks? There have been others who felt they no longer needed sessions, they left and ended up coming back a few months later. Others, like me, started adding to our therapy through other outlets, such as this blog. Some turned to learning music or taking up hobbies. There is never just one way to deal with trauma. If formal sessions individually or in group are not for you, there are online workshops, books, and finding a different outlet. Here in Oklahoma, we actually have hobby groups that are PTSD and MST survivors together in one, so it is not that formal and it is overlooked/maintained by a Peer Support counselor. It is about what makes your feel comfortable and how much you want to share. Never let anyone tell you differently. Best wishes to you in the New Year! Thank you for your kind comments and support.
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I have family in OKC 😊 We have an informal online group that meets every week. It’s all women and it’s been pretty positive..
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