Dooley Noted: 12/31/2016
Much can change in a year.
Last year, at this time, I was at the emotional equivalent of death’s door.
I posted much about my struggle, which prompted emails of concern.
After all, how often are people allowed to be honest on social media?
The concern did not prompt me to do right by myself.
In fact, I felt myself slipping further into the abyss.
I couldn’t feel joy for my jobs, nor my training.
I couldn’t feel the hurt of my best friend who’s aunt died suddenly.
I couldn’t feel my joy for Christmas – my favorite holiday.
I couldn’t feel anything but despair.
My counselor reminded me that “feelings aren’t facts.”
I used to state that on repeat just to peel myself out of bed.
I was hanging on by the thinnest of threads.
A new friend offered to help me with meditation.
I booked a flight and flew out one year ago today.
As I sat on that plane, I reminded myself what everyone had told me:
“It’s going to be okay.”
But it wasn’t okay right then.
And all you can really feel is what is happening to you right now.
There is no comfort nor solace in things being okay in the future.
So, I felt myself drowning.
My new friend hugged me and told me he was going to help me save myself.
I put all trust in this person I had known for 12 days.
After all, he had saved himself from abuse, homelessness, and death.
The irony was that he taught me the only thing that really matters in the moment.
He reminded me what I teach every patient, every visit.
He coached me through breathing drills.
He brought my focus right back to where it belonged: on breathing and survival.
My thoughts were acting to drown me.
I was drowning myself with my own mind.
After opening my eyes from meditation, I felt a freedom.
It was that kind of renewal you can only feel when you’ve hit rock bottom and picked yourself up from it.
It’s hard for me to remember what I felt like a year ago.
My counselor was right. Feelings aren’t facts.
My new friend turned out to be my husband, something I thought would never happen for me one year ago.
I’m grateful for my breath.
I’m grateful for my meditation.
I’m grateful for my husband.
I’m grateful for my life.
I’ve stepped back from social media and writing Dooley Noted in order to honor my relationships more.
But please don’t forget that I’m here for you.
I was in utter despair one year ago.
But today I have so much joy that sometimes I can’t contain it. I simply cry and fall to my knees, so thankful that my life didn’t end last year.
I believed deep in my heart that things would be okay last year.
But when things are not okay in your present moment, feel free to read this.
As always, it’s your call.
– Dr. Kathy Dooley