I’m a fighter.

At least that’s what my therapist told me today.

You know, I’ve always wondered why I’ve been through so much in my life. My therapist says my pull to help people is actually quite fitting because my experiences make me well equipped. And she’s right.

I’ve overcome so much to get where I am today and I never think about it. I take it all for granted. For example, let’s start with my college education. Fun fact: It took me 7 years to get through college and I changed my major 5 times. I started in veterinary medicine –> biology –> pre-med –> pre-radiation science –> marketing. YUP, all the Science flunkies went to Business School, which at my University was actually pretty difficult to get into. But thankfully I got in, or I was screwed.

Ever since I was a young child I had wanted to be a veterinarian. I even started working at a vet hospital as soon as I enrolled in college. I literally thought I had my life together. However, due to family matters that caused me significant amounts of anxiety, stress, and depression, I ended up never going to class and finding any way I could to get around the system. WELL, in Science classes THAT DOESN’T WORK. I ended up pretty much flunking my first semester except for English. I was always good in English for some reason.

Depression takes a toll on studying. As in, you don’t. Learning to study in college is a difficult period, let alone studying when you’re depressed and super stressed about your family and personal life. I took the classes I flunked again my second semester. Did better in all of them except for Chemistry. I could not master the final exam in Chemistry for the LIFE of me. Turns out, you can only get a ‘D’ in a class twice and you can’t take it anymore. There went my veterinary science, biology, and pre-med career. This led me to take a year off. I worked full time at the veterinary clinic trying to save up money to pay for the PREVIOUS semester. This was hard work considering I got paid a little above minimum wage and owed over a grand. I was a workaholic, but at the time I didn’t mind.

After a year, I went back to school and tried majoring in Pre-Radiation science for a year. Anatomy and Physiology are hard, man. But, I ended up loving Anatomy and watching Game of Thrones during Physiology. *shoulder shrug* I knew I had to do something with my life, but I just didn’t care. Medicine just didn’t feel right and I had an advisor that told me I was “not smart enough for nursing school or medicine” and that I “should try social work.” Well, that sent me further into my depression and made me feel even dumber and worthless. I then took another year off.

I finally decided that I wanted to work on Broadway but I didn’t and still don’t have the talent, so what could I do? Business. What specifically in Business? Marketing.  So, I spent my remaining years in Business School.

My therapist wants me to look in the mirror and be proud of my Bachelors Degree. Not everyone can say they have one. Of course, she’s right. However, jobs now want more experienced and educated individuals. But that’s my mind being a negative Nancy immediately following a compliment. I didn’t just battle poor grades in the beginning and financial challenges. I battled depression, anxiety, and stress. I learned what they were and how they affected me. No one had educated me on these topics, especially before going to college. I thought everything would be a breeze. WRONG. And it’s funny because when I was in the Business School, many times school was my safe haven and the rest of the world was my enemy.

Certain people, however, have a way of bringing out the worst in you. During my last year of college, I developed BPD. I realized that I don’t do well in relationships unless that individual can understand BPD and handle me, (which I feel like many men don’t want to take the time or have the patience, and that’s fine.) The more and more my disorder became dependant on this individual, the more and more I became dark, suicidal, and isolated. I became paranoid about other people and felt like everyone was out to get me. I hated going out and doing things, and I felt like I couldn’t explain this to anyone. So, I just let people think I was a grumpy individual. I mean, well, I was. Certain things happened during my last semester, especially at home that made me more fragile to what happened at school. I was a mess. No one could save me.

And I’m still a mess. But I’m a surviving mess. I have battle wounds all over me. Some self-inflicted and some art. I have a phoenix and dragon tattooed on the side of my thigh. Its significance represents my disorder and how my brain fights with itself every day. The Phoenix is me rising from the ashes of all the crap I have gone through and still go through and the dragon is my brain with all of its negative thoughts, impulses, and self-infliction. They look as though they are about to attack. On the Phoenix it says “Trust I seek and I find in you” and on the dragon, it says “I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel you there.” Perfect for someone with BPD right? All 10 of my tattoos mean something and are my battle wounds. After Chester’s passing, I feel like everything in my brain just puked itself out and I needed to express it. So, I did. Now, I look at my body and I admire the art and my therapist has given me a new way to look at it. Battle Scars. I won’t always look at them that way, but some days when my brain is being nice to me, it’s not a bad way to think.

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