Celebrating My Progress – Moving Past the Struggles of the Past

This week marks an end to a period in my life: graduate school. On Friday (hopefully), I will be graduating from my program. I still need to complete my presentation (an hour long) on Thursday. It’s an exciting time. Completing this degree will give me a sense of accomplishment. It will be giving me something to put under my belt. It will give some boost in confidence. It will give me time that I didn’t have before. But it will also give me anxiety – of feeling like a failure since I don’t have a full-time job lined up yet. I feel as if more expectations will be there for me. Instead, I’m running off next week to travel for two and half weeks. I’m happy with my decision to do that. I don’t regret for a minute until I hear others talking about their “adult life,” while I just had to move back home until I get a job. You would think I would have at least something figured out right now professionally, but nope. I know what I want in life. I want to have a decent work-life balance. I want to live the most. I want to travel. I want to do things and not be stuck. According to me, I’m doing great. According to societal norms, not so much.

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Me in Vermont when I was slowly feeling better with my anxiety and depression.

That’s not the only thing I’m struggling with this week – I’m also dealing with memories of the last time, I was on campus. Remembering all my moments of high anxiety and depression. Or sitting alone in the corner of the dining hall. It’s feeling inferior and never as good as anyone else. The feeling of being alone. I specifically remember being at a party at my graduate school where I was standing against the wall not talking to anyone. I remember standing there and being dissociated from what was happening around me.

It’s not just what was happening with my mental health, but what happened before I arrived at my graduate school, but what was happening right before I came. The breakup. The panic attacks. The feeling that I’m running away and escaping.

This morning they had us visualize all of this. Visualize how we got to where we are in our journey of graduating. It was hard to feel all those hard emotions again. Even though I have come such a long way since then. I feel fantastic compared to where I was last year at school, but I still have my struggles. I still have my moments when recovery seems absurd, so remembering those moments when I wanted to disappear, was incredibly difficult.

But instead of continuing to reflect on all the hard times in the past – I want to give a big hurrah and focus on my progress. I am finishing graduate school. I haven’t had a panic attack in months. I haven’t felt dissociated in a year. I have a boyfriend who I care about deeply and who is there for me. I have friends and family who I love. I am living life. I am going to new places. I am trying new things. I am doing things that I never thought I would be able to. It’s incredible. Yes, I have my moments when I struggle. I had times in the past that I’m impressed of how far I came. So let me instead celebrate where I am, because right now that is the most important thing.

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One thought on “Celebrating My Progress – Moving Past the Struggles of the Past

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  1. Amen! Focus on your progress rather than the challenges of the past. I remember finishing graduate school and the exhilarating feeling coupled with anxiety and a “now what” feeling. Who we become on the journey is so much more than the destination itself.

    Liked by 1 person

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