Healing: The Journey, Not The Final Destination

Healing is a process.

If there is anything bipolar has taught me, it is that healing is a process and a journey. There is no specific destination, no specific time and date that we are fully healed–not in my experience, at least.

When I look back five years ago to my diagnosis, I was devastated and confused and hurt. I did not understand what was happening and I faced severe depression and anxiety.

When I look back at the past couple of years, I feel encouraged and excited and whole. These years have been full of bliss and peace, they have been practically depression-free.

But I would not consider myself fully healed.

Even though I have come a long way from 2016, I still experience down days and anxious moments. I still feel over-exhausted and run myself thin. I still have to regularly assess my needs and habits and adjust them as needed.

My gut response is frustration and confusion, “Why don’t I ultimately and forever feel better? When will I be fully healed?” But when I think about my mental health journey, I realize it’s been just that: a journey. And with journeys, although sometimes there are final destinations, many times they are just an ongoing process of learning and discovering.

Honestly, I don’t want it any other way.

This journey mindset reminds me to learn and discover and work toward healing. It gives me hope and joy and pushes me forward. If there was a final destination, I would be wondering why I haven’t arrived by now. I’d be wondering when my emotional and mental fulfillment would finally come.

So if you have been hurting or lost or upset for a while now, if you feel like you’re running thing or scrambling for hope, I would like to offer you this bit of wisdom: healing is a process, a journey. You are doing a great job as you chug along and do your best. I’m proud of you and I’m rooting you on!

2018 Lessons & 2019 Resolutions

2019 is here.

It’s amazing how quickly 2018 came and went. A lot of life happened in that year, including becoming an aunt, going on my first solo trip and receiving my first promotion. Lots of good, bad and in-between.

Thankfully, 2018 didn’t leave me stagnant or stale. Instead, it sculpted me more into the person I would like to be. I’d like to share a few lessons I learned in 2018 that shape my current 2019 resolutions:

  1. Life is short — so I’ll say “I love you more.” Unfortunately, I lost three friends in 2018. It was a year of heartache and hurt because these friends passed. Their leaving only made me realize how truly valuable each moment is, so I’d like to affirm my friends and family by telling them I love them as often as I can.
  2. Life is fast — so I’ll pause more. As said, 2018 passed in the blink of an eye. Starting this January (and hopefully continuing in February), I’m going to only use my phone from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (excluding emergencies). I hope these unplugging hours will help me breathe and take more time for myself.
  3. Life is sweet — so I’ll savor it more. Similar to pausing, I’d like to soak up the sweetest of moments more. Take more pictures, write more words, remember more smiles, melt into hugs, spread more laughter.
  4. Life is great — so I’ll give thanks more. Hurt and heartache included, God is abundantly good to me. Though 2018 shared its difficulties and challenges, it also proved God’s provision never ceases. He doesn’t stop giving good things. I’d like to say thanks to Him and everyone around me more.
  5. Life is hard — so I’ll be more kind. After so much loss in 2018 (for both myself and friends and family), I realized just how you never know the hurt someone might be going through. Because of this, I’d like to share kind words and kind thoughts and kind actions.

2019 — it’ll be short and fast and sweet and great and hard.

It will be all of these things and so, so much more. I’m not sure what to expect or what to do or how to prepare for it. But I have hope and joy and peace that it will be a wonderful year, even if and when challenges arise.

I hope and pray you are having a wonderful start to this new year. I hope and pray for good things for you!

Peace & Blessings,

Mae

When Less Is More: On Giving Thanks

I’m really good at saying, “Thanks.”

I thank people who bless me when I sneeze and people who hold the door open for me, I thank my servers and baristas and gym staff . I thank Dear Tim (aka Dad) when he puts oil in my car and Sweet Denise (Mom) when she makes dinner.

I thank people who give generously and love deeply and care affectionately. I thank people who are my kind of people, the supporters and cheerleaders and encouragers who spur me on to do good things.

But if we’re being honest, I’m not good at saying thanks in those moments in the valley

I certainly wlasn’t thankful when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder — and to put it frankly, I’m still not. I wasn’t thankful when I almost failed my Christian Ethics course in college, and I wasn’t thankful when my friend Richie died of cancer last March.

Yet it’s in the darkest moments that I pray the loudest.

I fall to my knees in my bedroom, let out awful wails and pour out oceans of tears. I clench my fists and ask God, “Why?” and hope and pray He will deliver me from whatever mess or heartbreak or hurt or struggle I suffer from.

Most of the time, it’s during those deep-in-the-valley-no-where-to-go moments that I feel the closest to God. I remember His scripture which promises divine deliverance. I feel His love pouring over me, soothing my cries and healing my hurts. Once I make it through, I look back and understand how His plan unfolds, only for supernatural peace to wash over my worries.

When you really get to thinking about it, it’s a little funny: it’s at the times when I have the least that I truly feel God’s presence the most.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

There’s something warm and fun and brilliant about meeting up with people you love to devour food and count your blessings.

But this year, many of my friends have faced a lot of heartache and hurt and loneliness and doubt and suffering. Though my life isn’t close to perfect, I feel untouched compared to my friends who currently struggle with deep, devastating loss and scary, echoing fears.

This time around, it’s not me in the valley, it’s them. My loved ones. My friends. My community. And aside from prayer and petition, the only encouragement I can give them is this:

Even when you have the least, God loves you the very most. He loves you during times of thanks, and He loves you during times of doubt. He loves you while it’s good and He loves you through the bad. He loves you and He’s here for you and He hasn’t left your side, even when you feel utterly helpless and alone.

You may not have a lot — or anything at all — to give thanks for this year. Just know you are seen and heard and deeply, radically loved by your Creator.