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This year:

Wow.

It’s finally the last day of it.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been creating a book about my experiences in 2020: the ups, the downs, the heartbreaks, the movies and songs that helped create a small sense of joy, the struggles and the achievements.

I had a panic attack yesterday.

I’m not entirely sure what triggered it. It could be from having a couple family members over, it could have been the lack of sleep that I had the night before + no coffee. But as family members were over for lunch, I suddenly could feel a panic attack coming and my only thought was to leave.

I didn’t tell anyone where I was going. I just said that I’ll be right back.

I originally wanted to just get Starbucks and come back. But without really thinking about it, I drove to my old neighborhood. For some reason, the trails and the parks in that neighborhood give me some peace and I go there sometimes when I have a panic attack.

On the way there, I was crying. When I cry during a panic attack, it’s a particular feeling and the only word that I can associate with that feeling is “heartbreaking”.

As soon as I parked, I took a long walk. It was very peaceful. I could only hear the birds in the tree, the fews cars driving by and the leaves moving by the wind. My panic attack ended when I felt the cold crisp air as I was walking. Even though I was wearing a mask, I felt like I took a deep breath of fresh air.

One of the thoughts that I said out loud during my panic attack was “I don’t want to experience it again”. I was referring to 2020.

Even though I was able to conquer all the challenges and struggles that I faced, I don’t ever want to go through something like that again.

It was a hard year.

I know it’s been a hard year for everyone in the world. Everyone faced their own challenges and struggles. And I really hope that we don’t experience that, ever again. I’m sorry that you had a hard year.

We are stronger together.

Being an essential worker is hard.

My experience at work has been a series of unfortunate events. From choosing between my health/safety vs. getting paid and working was one of the hardest decisions of my life. The stress from making that decision and getting influenced to one side heavily affected my physical health. One day at work, I got extremely nauseous, had blurry eyesight and I could barely stand up. I started my journey as a solo teacher: running the classroom, handling challenging behaviors and deep cleaning daily. It took a toll on me mentally, physically and emotionally. When I finally got some help in the morning, I received the news that my co-teacher quit (uhh 3.5 months later). And the floater who has helped me, applied and accepted the job as my new co-teacher. BUT. we came back from a week off and they put a partition in our class. And SURPRISE, we each had our own mini classroom (they didn’t even let us know about it). Then we had months of trying to get used to the new setup and schedule. And then I had a couple of months handling challenging behaviors from one student, where I got hit, kicked and scratched. Things settled down for a little. But, when we go back on Monday….is a different story.

I tried dating again this year (aka dating apps). I had 3 main experiences from it. The first one was during the beginning of the pandemic when things were hard. I really enjoyed talking to him and he was the first person I ever met from a dating app. But I shared my feelings for him, that is when things changed and also when it ended. I didn’t think I would I be interested in the second one. But I really enjoyed getting to know him. And as soon as I got to know him more, his ex called out of nowhere and with lots of thought into it, he went back to her. The third one is current and I feel so comfortable when I’m with him.

With everything that has been happening this year, my mental health has been deteriorating. After a couple of months in this pandemic, I had no clue what to do anymore to help with my mental health. I would get really bad panic attacks and additionally, I was attacking myself and my self-worth.

Going to therapy has been the best decision I made for myself this year.

The only good thing that has come from this pandemic is that it has made therapists more flexible and available. I couldn’t believe that I found a therapist that worked with my schedule and my payments were based up my monthly income.

Additionally, my therapist is great. She has given me new insights to anxieties that ruminate in my head. She was able to help me through hard times at work. We also talked about topics that I have not talked to anyone before. I’m glad that I am able to talk to her on a daily basis.

It’s been a hard year.

We have no clue what 2021 is going to bring us.

But I think that we can handle anything that comes our way.

HAPPY

NEW

YEAR.

-Mel

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