15 years ago today, I lost my mind. Yes, 2005 was fifteen years ago.
Nervous breakdown; manic episode; pursued by police; committed to the state psychiatric hospital. Long story short. I’ve written about it extensively over the years, to process, to attempt to understand, to remember, to document. There are lots of things I don’t remember. Things that are documented on official pieces of paper written by medical professionals about my behavior in those ten tumultuous days I spent in the psych ward. Things that are not documented anywhere, too.
I was 6 weeks away from turning 25 then. I’m six weeks away from turning 40 now, and the whole world seems to have gone mad while I, ironically, feel more sane, grounded, balanced, loving and loved than ever. Overall, I mean. Not in every moment. I still experience plenty of moments of fear, worry, sadness, upset, anger, etc.
Every choice I have made since leaving the confines of the Austin State Hospital has led me to where I now sit, in a house overlooking a lake, in Guatemala, writing. First I chose to become an elementary school teacher, rather than continuing to work in my original field, advertising and marketing.
Later, I chose to move to Central America on a bit of a whim. Then after 3 years in Guatemala City, I chose to move to Lake Atitlan. That was 2012… somehow already 8 years ago. I chose to leave the field of education five years ago and got into working for a popular retreat center here on the lake, part time, as well as teaching yoga, and since 2018, doing quite a bit of freelance writing, editing and translating. I was also facilitating occasional yoga retreats. That’s all over for now at least, but I am working from home as a “full-time” freelancer now.
Life was good. Life is still good, but strange. I barely leave the house. We are on lockdown in Guatemala, as are people in many countries around the world. It has been a month already, and it’s rather ridiculous how the president keeps extending the restrictions (and adding to them) for a week at a time. We’re looking at months now, maybe even years?
I feel strong though. I feel powerful. I do not feel on the verge of a nervous breakdown, despite the circumstances, and my heart goes out to all who are in difficult situations at this time and struggling with mental and physical health issues.
Personally, I am aware of the ups and downs. I have evolved away from out of control depression, anxiety and mania. I made other choices, chose other treatments. Natural methods. Herbs, yoga, meditation, witchcraft, you know! I am grateful for it all and for every moment that has led to this one.