I was reminded of my turbulent undergraduate days recently when helping my daughters and their friends return to college. After their departure, I unearthed a journal, long sitting in storage, and tentatively began to re-read the entries – tentative in that I remember those days were steeped in anxiety and depression. And, it began much earlier than college.

For decades, I suffered in silence. Trying to get out of bed in the morning as anxiety washed over me. Private crying spells that racked my body. Experiencing body numbing fatigue from the mental war in my head. And, the aloneness of fighting a battle by myself that simply created a wall from others. I put up a good, no great, front and demonstrated what several generations of women in my family had done as well – a steely reserve. It was passed on and it was all we knew honestly.

Fast forward to several years ago. I had accomplished much professionally, enjoyed recognition, great friends, active in the community – and was personally falling apart piece by piece. Life had dealt (nah, best I own this), rather I contributed to a series of unhealthy relationships that came crashing down. Addiction, at 21, had taken the life of a beautiful stepson. My physical health was suffering. My future felt foggy and my faith was in tatters. (Note: It was sadly ironic that my professional career had been dedicated to living well and creating living spaces for others to thrive in.)

So, I suffered in silence – because it was all I knew.

After a series of ‘scary’ thought processes continued to unravel in my head, I knew from a base survival desire it was time to change what ‘I knew’ to something very new: a new perspective, a new life language, a new paradigm.

Choice, Grace and a chance encounter started a new journey…

PART 2 – Stepping Back from the Brink

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