Only me

30th of July 2016

We all have certain dates we will never forget. For me it’s the 30th of July. My day was going normal until I opened Facebook and read the post my best friend, Fran had posted:

With great grief I have to inform you that Tess De Plecker has passed away on the 30th of July 2016 in a car crash while she was traveling in Bolivia. I would have liked to tell you this in person, but given the current circumstances I have chosen this social medium to tell all Tess’ friends.

Fran De Plecker, sister of Tess

Immediately I felt my heart racing. My breathing got heavier and I felt lightheaded. I went downstairs and after a few minutes I told the news to my mom. I sat down and kept scrolling. My head was numb. I couldn’t think. I didn’t want to believe it. It got to be a mistake, right? She couldn’t be gone. After a few minutes I called my best friend. She was crying and I didn’t know what to say. I was waiting for her to say there was a mistake and she wasn’t dead. But she didn’t. It was real. This beautiful human being was no longer with us. Everytime I think of her my heart breaks. I can’t begin to say how beautiful and smart she was. Always helping people out, being there for her loved ones.

It’s so hard to see someone go you’ve known your whole life. It’s unfair that she had to go. She wanted to change the world and help the people in need. That was her dream. She had worked for that dream her whole life. Always enganging in projects to make a difference. She was truly an inspiration. Fran may be my best friend but I felt the same about her.

This past Friday was her cremation. It was a very sunny and warm day. My heart filled with love when I saw how many people had come to say a last goodbye. After the ceremony we made a last walk where her ashes would be bearried under a tree. It was truly beautiful.

The ceremony helped me realize that even though she isn’t fysically with us, her spirit will live through us. She will not be forgotten. At least not by me.

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A bit of history part II

During my recovery journey I had to learn to let things go. I had to recon that I don’t need to be the best in everything. It’s okay if I didn’t know how to do certain things. That has always been a huge block for me to go forward. Mainly because I have always felt the pressure at home to be successful. Not so much from my mother, but from my father. Whatever I did was not good enough. It had to be better. As a result I never really talked about what I did in school. I never shared my tests with my parents and i never felt proud at myself. It could always be better. Nevertheless I really enjoyed going to school. It was my only escape from home. Things were really bad between my parents. At a certain point I thought they would get a divorce. I certainly wouldn’t mind. I don’t like my dad. I do not hate him, but he never really showed me or my siblings any affection in our lives. We got that only from our mother or aunts. The only thing he did was get angry at us if we did something wrong or got bad grades. It was always surviving at home. I experienced stress from everywhere, so it wasn’t that surprising for me I exploded eventually. 

When I was admitted it was so hard to accept the compliments from the staff. In my mind it could always be better so they were only lying to me so I would feel better. It took me nearly my complete admission to accept for a tiny bit that my work wasn’t at all that bad. When I returned back to school it was very confronting for me that my examens weren’t that great. My psychologist and mom repeatedly told me they were good for someone who hadn’t been to school for such a long time. School told me the same thing, but I wasn’t happy. They had to be good. I was so fixated on the grades because I was now following the lowest level in school. I had high expectations from myself without thinking about my mental health. 

That year and the following year I had to learn the hard way that I can’t expect such things from myself. My psychologist asked me this simple question: ‘Would you expect from someone who lets say has cancer to have the highest grades?’ Of course I didn’t, but it did hit me and from there on I really had to learn to stop have these unreachable expectations for myself. The first step I took was to take it another step back and follow the lowest level anyone could do. And I was happy I did. As I said in my previous post: I took the easy way for once. 

When university stared in september I wasn’t fixated on my grades anymore. I was happy I got through and finally reached my goal: go to law school. I have been in a much stable state. During the exams for the first semester I was scared I would get a relapse. I was sick, had a very low iron level, was very tired because of that and experienced a lot of stress. I then decided to not make two exams and redo them in August. I eventually ended up getting through only one exam, but I wasn’t that sad about it. I was actually very happy I choose to listen to myself and stop. If I hadn’t done that, I would have screwed up my whole year by having a major relapse. 

My mom wasn’t happy I didn’t make two, but she doesn’t live in my body. She doesn’t know what I experience. My psychologist was of course also very happy I stopped. Until that day I never bothered listing to myself. Besides, I can still redo the exams I failed in August, so nothing is waisted. I think that’s the reason I stopped. In high school you don’t have a second chance to redo your exams. In university you have. Because of that a lot of stress has dropped of my shoulders. 

A bit of history

Since I could remember I always wanted to go to law school. Deep down I knew it would be the perfect match for me. So throughout high school I said I wanted to go that direction. I knew I was capable of doing that. I was already following the highest level in high school so I would be prepared to study large quantities.

When we set goals in our lives we don’t take other things into consideration. I certainly didn’t think for a minute I would get sick. When I did get sick I stil thought I would finish high school like everybody else.

After I got dismissed in June from being inpatient I went back to high school in September. In treatment I always said I wouldn’t be having troubles adjusting to school. In theory I didn’t, but I was always so tired after school. I didn’t do anything. I wasn’t even going horseback riding because I was that tired. Adding the fact I didn’t enjoy my classmates that much and I was having the feeling I was waisting my time. I got through the first semester (4 months) before I had to admit to myself I was in a relapse. It’s weird because I didn’t even felt it coming. To this day I still don’t know what triggered it. Or maybe I just forgot it.

I did make my finals, but I knew they would suck. I decided to get into a kind of homeschooling system. I basically study at home individually and make my exams at a central commission that had been created by the governement. I first registered in the same course I followed in school, but after five months I still had to do so many courses. I knew that it didn’t matter which direction I did to get into university, so for the first time in my life I took the easy way. I switched to a much easier course and had my degree whitin three months.

I had already started university and oh what did I enjoy it! It was everything I had ever hoped for. I could finaly close a very hard chapter and start a new one.

Looking back on that period I am so happy I kept going. It wasn’t easy and there were many days where I wanted to quit. Many days where I hated the way my life was going.

Now I can’t even believe I’m nearly finished with my first year in university. Sure this year had many challenges and my exams weren’t that great, but for me it’s already a succes that I had a year with no relapses. The first year in almost four years. No bad exams can beat that feeling!

 

Brand new

Five months ago I made a commitment to start fresh with this blog. I didn’t realize what that meant at the time. I thought it meant to just start writing again and pick up where I left. Now I know it’s not that easy.

I’ve been reading my old posts again, and it occurred to me that there was no consistency in my writing. Once I wrote about a random day, the other day about my PTSD. Without noticing I lost the true reason I started this blog. It should have been about my struggles with mental health and how I manage through all the life changing stuff without endangering my health.

That’s the reason why I’m starting from scratch. All the posts from the past are gone and I’m ready to find my voice again. The voice that always made sure I survived.

I hope this journey will be as smooth as in my head, but there is only one way to find out…

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