Why I Celebrate

Today a large majority of people dress in green, wish one another “Happy Saint Patrick’s Day”, and participate in many forms of merriment. All in all, it’s a fun holiday. But March 17th is a day I celebrate for an entirely different reason.

I’m pretty open about this topic, but I realize some of you have no idea what today means for me.

This year makes it ten years. That’s a full decade everybody!
At the lovely age of 17 I was desperate for answers. Desperate for direction. Desperate for meaning. Desperate to understand what my place in the world was. As a typical teenager, I was lacking answers. As a result, I felt entirely lost, confused, and as though I didn’t have a reason to live. March 10, 2005 my parents sat down and approached me with something I had written just a few days prior on an online journal I didn’t think they knew about. It gave them reason to think I was going to end my own life. What I had written alluding to my suicide was true, I had been feeling suicidal for some time and was ready to do it. For months I hid the fact I was depressed and it became so intense I didn’t want to continue to live. My parents were concerned enough for my safety that they (against my will) admitted me to a hospitals psychiatric ward for clinical depression. I spent one week in the hospital talking with so many doctors and students in the medical field it was disgusting and annoying. After a few days though, I began to see the light. I started to understand that my life had only just begun. When I was released on March 17, I knew that every year I would reflect on what happened. For the last ten years I have not only reflected but I’ve also celebrated.
I celebrate being alive. I celebrate the good and bad times each year brings. I celebrate the fact that I am here, and as a result I make an impact on others’ lives. I celebrate the experiences I’ve had. I celebrate my life. I celebrate.

If you would have told me then that in ten years time I would have been to Europe almost ten times, driven cross-country twice, impacted thousands of lives, found my true desire of working with children and become a nanny, gone to school for early childhood education, become engaged twice and married once, let alone experience any of the other things I have… I wouldn’t have believed you.
But here I am.
Alive.

Depression and suicide are both very serious issues. If you struggle with depression, don’t think it will go away on its own or it will get better with time. Take action, talk with people, share with those closest to you what you’re thinking. There are people who love you.

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Childhood Fears

Lying in bed a couple of minutes ago I was suddenly hit with a memory from my childhood. Barely any recollection was possible, however I could clearly recall that in the midst of an elementary school weekend church retreat, surrounded by my classmates and leaders that I saw 2-3 times a week: I was terrified. Terrified of being alone, forgotten, rejected, and that no one understood me. As I tried to follow the memory deeper; remember more of what I experienced or what happened, I came up empty. My memories of my childhood are very slight and 80% of the time are sad/depressing. It’s challenging to remember the good things I experienced, the carefree times that all children should have. Instead when I search my childhood for memories – I’m greeted with an overwhelming amount of fear.

How our childhood, and what we are capable of retaining from our childhood, affect our “grown up” lives is a bit unnerving. Those fears we experienced when we were 4? Yeah, they still show up in our lives when we are 24, 34, 44,etc…  In my own personal life, I tend to push people away – exert my independence as far as I possibly can, which sometimes causes me to injure myself. Teamwork? More like “how much can Danielle do without anyone else’s help-work”. At least I am able to recognize my lacking ability to rely on others. I’m afraid to ask too much of others only to be denied and rejected.

Even though I know that I will never be rejected by certain ones in my life… And even though I know that I will always have outstretched arms to run to for support… I still have these nights where all I can recount from my childhood is the fear of being rejected. My heart is and always has been very sensitive; that’s one thing that I don’t think will ever change, but maybe someday when I look back to my childhood I’ll remember the better times.

The Cautious Butterfly

The events which leave a negative mark on your life will make you aware, and even, cautious of putting yourself in a similar situation. While this is helpful to a certain extent, at what point do you stop being wary and allow yourself to be swept up? The depth of the pasts’ impression is parallel to how deep and involved you must become in a new circumstance before you let go. No matter how opposite and surprising the new circumstances project themselves to be, there is always the concern that the past will repeat.
What does it take to accept that there are some events which will not turn out the same as what you have previously experienced?

Ability to Change

Life. That thing we take for granted. That thing that 7 years ago I realized how precious mine really was. On March 10, 2005 my parents recognized how serious my depression had gotten and admitted me into the same hospital my dad was at for his stroke (part of the reason being there was difficult for me). When I was admitted though I was taken to the psychiatric wing. It was the most interesting experience of my life up to that point. I was discharged a week later on the 17th. My week there opened my eyes to the conditions of many others. When I left my heart stayed with those who I had met and interacted with. I didn’t want anyone to feel alone, which is very much so my character and personality.

The seven years since I have grown a lot, made mistakes, fallen in and out of love, learned more than I thought I could, forgotten things I thought I’d remember forever and mostly- the single fact which initially just kept me from taking my own life – I’ve impacted others. There are people whose lives have been changed from something I’ve done and I don’t even recognize it. We generally don’t unless we are already close with the person, but every day we live, we affect someone. We all hold the ability to change our outlook on life, it’s just whether or not we want to or see the need to.

While most will celebrate today because it’s St. Patricks’s day, I celebrate today because I am alive!

Open Apology

It has recently come to my attention that almost two years ago my attitude went through a drastic change. While at the time I saw myself as just “expressing my opinions” and “making sure others understood me” I now realize that it was construed quite differently by those around me. I went from just going along with others said to standing up and making my point. It came across as though I didn’t care what your thoughts were, all I wanted was for you to understand me and I’d repeat myself as much as necessary.
This shift occurred in March of 2010 when I learned I would be moving to Cali come fall. I suppose one could say that I was attempting to cut all ties with PA so I wouldn’t have a desire to return (major fail: see all posts re: ex-fiance) or that I was pushing myself to become more sure in my thoughts and opinions – either way, it doesn’t matter. The things I put those who I considered friends through wasn’t fair.
To all of you who were affected by the words I said, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be a b*. I didn’t mean to push you away. I didn’t mean to make it difficult to be around me. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I didn’t mean to put you through all of that.
I can only hope that all of you out there can forgive me, and accept me for who I am today.

Friends are important because you can go through difficult times and they will support you. Don’t make your friends your enemies though.

Another Life

A year ago I was in love. I was 2,400 miles from the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I was in California for a year of training. Everyone who talked to me knew I was pre-engagement. The only time people saw me was at school, or maybe if they came to the house. There was barely anything outside of my life aside from him and school. I was surrounded by 1,200 others going through the same training, I had a group of 65 who were supposed to be there to support me, there was a small group of 5 which were meant to be my close friends, I had 4 roommates who barely knew anything about me… The first few months of my time in Cali, I wasn’t living my life.

Removed from that place and the relationship I now am seeing how many opportunities I gave up. How little I did outside of my relationship. I didn’t want to have a life in Cali, because it was a life without him. I didn’t want to connect with people, because I knew I was leaving in the Spring and never going back. I didn’t want to talk about anything outside of my relationship or him, people had to know that I was taken and things were wonderful – even if just from the outside. As far as I was concerned, my life was complete.

Why did I do this?
Because it was an unhealthy relationship based off of a mess of situations and therefore the actions surrounding the relationship were unhealthy and obsessive. I thought I had found love. True love. I was told I had found the type of love which only comes along once in a life. I believed all the things he told me about myself. He was my own personal “Mr. Know It All“. I was living a life which was so absorbed in another I had lost myself. I lost what it was I wanted to accomplish while in Cali. I lost what I wanted. I lost who I wanted to be… Thankfully things shifted sometime after the New Year.

Dang it’s amazing how when you look back you see what you missed out on… But at the same time, there was so much which happened and pushed me to grow.
I did step into the type of woman I wanted to. I did create friendships and bonds which will last. I did learn a lot about my future. I did study and walk away with more knowledge of God and His works.

All in all, the things I missed are made up for in the things I found.

What Makes Life Complete?

Over 3 years ago I wrote the following, and I still feel pretty much the exact same. I’d like to think that says something about me and my character… (Also, what kind of 20-year-old was I?!?)

How will you ever know? (July 22, 2008)

So, yesterday and today I have been thinking about what I want for my life.
Immediately, I would love it if an apartment would go through and I wouldn’t have to worry about finding a place to live anymore. A week off from work to be able to take all of my closest friends with me away somewhere… Of course, we’d all get along perfectly even though the majority of them don’t know one another. Oh! And money would never be an issue… Hehe! Wisdom to know what to do and what to say when faced with a situation in which all you do is stand there. The feel of a guys arms around me. About 5 days filled with nothing but sleep just in order to catch up. An adjustment from my chiropractor… The list continues, but I won’t.
Just looking at that list however, it makes me wonder: why is it I feel these things would make my life is complete? Some of them are possible and even probable in happening; others don’t have a chance in the world.

In the long run of things, I’d love to live a long, full, happy, life. Have my own company that would reach out and touch people’s lives in some sort of way – hopefully it’ll be able to focus on women who have had abortions. Find a great guy who is on fire for God whom I will spend the rest of my life with, and one day have children with who are healthy, strong, and love God. That’s pretty much all that I want. Yeah, it would be great to be rich and not have to worry about finances, but money doesn’t buy happiness. If I were rich, I would most likely wind up giving the majority of it away to those who are less fortunate.

I realized last year that both of my brothers and I are the same when it comes to giving. We will give and not expect anything in return, just because we love to see others happy. I honestly don’t have a problem paying for my friends when we go out to eat (within moderation of course!) or even buying something for them when they don’t have the money. In the past few years I’ve noticed that my heart is one that will never say no when a friend is in a hard place. I won’t stop talking to someone just because they’ve gotten themselves into something. Heck no… That’s generally when someone needs the most support. I hope all of my friends know that I’m always there for them. If it’s an emergency I would totally cancel plans to go help them, anytime, anyplace, it doesn’t matter. I like to think that there are lots of people in the world who are like that. Isn’t it taught to us from a very young age to treat others the way you would like to be treated? Whatever happened to that? Those are words I practically live by. I hate it when people judge me, so it takes A LOT for me to judge a person. Most don’t understand that. This is a shame, because it’s the truth. It doesn’t matter what you tell me, I won’t hold anything against you.  In this world today people also aren’t used to others caring about them. This is one of those things that I just can’t help. I care about people way too much for my own good. Even if I hardly know a person, if I hear that they’re going through a tough time or things aren’t going the best, I’m completely there for them. This takes people off guard – who in this world cares about anyone besides themselves anymore?  *raises hand* I do!! Don’t believe me? Guess you don’t know me then. Agh! I hate it when people look at me and all they see is a ditzy, young, immature, crazy girl. There’s so much more depth to me than that, thank you very much. It cracks me up when people stray from getting to know me. *grins* You should never judge a book by its cover, you’ll never know what you’re missing.
*sigh*
Did I really just write another blog and come to absolutely no conclusions and not say anything too mind-blowing? Oy.
What a week… What a month… What a year… What a life.