For one whole month I disconnected myself from my life as I knew it. I ran away. Literally. I cut myself off from social media, ignored friends and some family, and spent serious quality time with me, myself, and I. I crawled into my own private little space and I reflected on the past, settled into the present and reevaluated my goals for the future. When I started I didn't have a clue what I needed or what it was going to take to get me where I needed to be. But I had hope. Taking that leap of faith into the unknown was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a very long time.
I needed to become reacquainted with myself. Life had thrown me some serious punches that felt gut deep and had knocked me to my knees. More times than not I wasn’t sure if I was coming or going. Depression became a real thing. I was keeping those I loved most at an arm’s length. I refused to let people in. I was scared, suddenly questioning my own mental health. I didn’t know myself anymore and I had stopped trusting my instincts. It had been years since I’d been that conflicted.
The first week was the most difficult. I was unable to relax, refusing to let myself unwind. I continued to worry about things I had no control over, fearing everything would eventually blow up in my absence. But then those imagined emergency calls never came. I discovered what it was to sleep for a solid eight hours and wake feeling renewed. I watched the sun rise and started my day with renewed purpose. I spent hours in prayer and reflection and extended periods where I thought about absolutely nothing.
I read, devouring books like I hadn’t been able to do in years. And I wrote. There was no pressure, no distractions, and the words flowed like running water. It was a beautiful thing and I was in awe of how much I had missed the ease of it all.
Before I knew it the month came to an end and suddenly I had to return to other people’s schedules, and deadlines, and the stress and pressures that sent me into hibernation in the first place. But I came back revived, and invigorated, with a whole new attitude. I had let go of so much anger and frustration and I no longer had doubts about decisions and choices I’d made. I’d accepted that there were some people I couldn’t come back to and cutting them from my life was for the best. Although I reluctantly reloaded all of my social media apps, I know the necessity of those connections. I reordered my steps, comfortable with the direction I planned to follow.
Although I still experience moments of guilt, I know that I need to put myself first if I am to be of any value to anyone else. No is a complete sentence and I’m no longer concerned what others might think if I use it. Claiming time and space for my needs was life altering. That brief period of self-care lifted a very dark cloud that had been hovering over me. I saw the light at the end of that tunnel. I reprioritized and I am better for it.
In this moment, I am good.
In fact, I am better than good…for now. And mostly, I am immensely grateful.