That is how the last few months have felt.I had a hell of a start–I pummeled into a dark, scary spot, and literally had to be dragged back out by myself, my therapist, my husband, and some handy-dandy anti-anxiety drugs. Slowly, slowly, growth started happening…I would dip down, and come back up. Then, one day…BAM! I felt better. I realized I was worth it.

I felt like me. Or, at least, the ME I want to be.

That feeling? Unfortunately, that feeling didn’t last.

Healing is not linear. It isn’t. It is up and down…and sometimes, it is down, down, down.

The last few months have made me feel like I was retreating back to the beginning of this journey. That dark, scary spot? I could see it again…granted, I had some perspective this time around…but I never wanted to see it again.

I beat myself up–How could I let myself get here again? How could I be so dumb? So stupid? So weak? So crazy? So broken? So messy?

I felt sorry for myself. But…mostly, I felt pissed at myself for feeling at all.

A few sessions ago, my therapist talked about  the way some people handle grief–some people, for whatever reason, get locked in these feelings. They have trouble escaping the pain and the grief.

When something good happens and they laugh? These people feel guilty. They remind themselves that they are hurting, grieving. Laughing? There isn’t room for that…it doesn’t fit into the mold of grief and it seems disloyal.

While I have not suffered the loss of someone in the sense of a death, I have most definitely been suffering from a deep, intense grief.

It has been caused by many factors–all of which underscore the long-lasting pain of feeling impossible to love.

I grieve the loss of a mother to love me the way all children should be loved. I grieve the loss of a father’s pride and love.

I grieve the lack of passion, of connection and closeness, with my spouse.

I grieve the lack of deep friendships–and the wish to just be known and loved for who I am, without having to change who I am in order to BE loved.

I grieve the eventual end of therapy. the knowledge that, while I have relied and needed the support and care of my therapist, this relationship will some day end.

I have been grieving. And I have been absolutely STUCK. 

I have refused to let go of the pain and grief–even when I desperately wanted to…even to just find a few minutes of PEACE–because, in many ways, it has simply felt like my burden to bear. My punishment for being ME.

This week, however, some of the darkness began to lift. Hope re-entered my spirit.

It started with a therapy appointment on Monday. In this appointment, I was feeling RAW. Yet, I didn’t share how raw I really was. I held it in. I refused to be a mess…again. Then, because I am who I am, I left feeling like I might burst at the lack of what I didn’t say.

I did, however, learn that my need for support does not have to be all or nothing. Even when I feel that way.

So I texted my therapist. Admitted that I wasn’t completely honest with my feelings that day. Admitted that I am hurting and struggling…and then I worriedly suggested that maybe a few check-ins throughout the week might help.

KNOW they help…even a small one.

But, I didn’t want to be overly dependent either.

However, simply realizing that that support from her is still there–even through all of my crazy–it gave me an ounce of hope.

It made me feel a little less alone. A little more capable.

Then…then, came a job interview. My hope soared. If only I could secure one aspect of my future–I could plan and know and breathe.

But…oh…how I feared being too hopeful. This little bit of hope had returned but…if I didn’t get the job I wanted? What would that do to my beaten down spirit?

I began to try to stop dismissing the good things–however small they were. I concentrated on my own kids. On my students. On connecting.

I was reminded this week…several times, of why I LOVE teaching. I was able to help, and talk to, many hurting young students this week. I was told, “It just helps to know that I CAN talk to you.” 

I have given, and received, many hugs.

I gave…and continue to give those kids the love I never received.

felt for them. More closely than I probably should have…because I could so very much relate to them.

But, it also felt so damn worthwhile.

So worth it.

And then, yesterday, I interviewed. I got offered the job–a great fit–on the spot. I was told that, out of 10 or 11 applicants, I was the only one they wanted to hire…the only one they even wanted to interview.

I know I am supposed to believe in myself. I am working on it, at the only speed I know how.

But hearing those words? A job offer, and such a strong statement of wanting me?

God does it help. It helps me believe in me. It validates that I have worked so hard for this…that I am good at what I do and that I can be an amazing teacher.

My students have made me feel that way this week.

And the best part? The best part has been sharing my good news with my inner circle. And only them. No need to blast it to the entire world via social media. No need to say, HA! Look, I have value because I got hired!!

No…suddenly, I am finding that I need less of that public validation.

Do I still need validation from those who I care about? Yes…but I think, slowly but surely, I am learning to need it less…and learning how to give it to myself (though I am not there yet).

And my hope? My hope is returning.

Healing? Healing is not linear. It is bumpy, painful, dark, and beautiful all rolled into one.

And its work is never done.

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