One year ago this week, I closed my candy store in York, SC and started the process of moving back to Western Pennsylvania. A lot of Facebook memories have been popping up on my personal page. Seeing the pictures of things like all the final Oops bags, the sale of my assets, and packing stuff up really hit me hard. It’s been a complete change in my life since 2/14/18 when I made the final decision to close my doors.
I would love to tell you that everything has been easy, but it hasn’t, and you know what, that’s ok. I will tell you I learned a lot about myself and others during the past 12 months. I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly in those close to me and those who didn’t know me, along with myself. I have experienced so many emotions and bouts with depression just in the past year.
Overall, I cannot complain about my life and I won’t. I am still working on getting myself out of major debt, tackling some medical issues and figure out the next step for my business. I am back in the corporate world and in less than a year at my present company, I am making a difference. I have friends and family who support me emotionally. I am in a good relationship. But life is never and will never be perfect. Again, that’s ok.
How many times can you reinvent yourself?
For me it’s been about five in the past seven years. Prior to my divorce and my independence overall in life, I probably reinvented myself twice. As much as I have been through in my life, I can honestly say there is always something that helped me keep going. Even with the suicide attempts and depression, I have been blessed with guardian angels both living and deceased to keep me here.
I’ve had people come up to me over the past couple years since I’ve been writing the blog and tell me that they would have killed themselves if they had gone through some of the things I went through. They tell me I’m strong for getting through it all. Honestly, I don’t feel strong for making it this far in life, I feel blessed.
When you are going through some of the worst times in your life, you cannot comprehend how you will survive or how you can get yourself up again. When you reflect back on your life you realize that the lemons that life threw at you prepared you to be the person you are today, at this very minute.
Take this past year for example. I thought I had reached a low in my life. I went 40+ years without asking for help from anyone, especially financially. Seriously, I always figured it out and always had something stashed away for the rainy day (or storm). When I went through the divorce it was expensive and I paid for everything, I was so far in debt that I wondered how I’d get through it, I had never been that far in debt even when I was unemployed. But I made it through, paid off my debt, and prepared for the next challenge. That experience would not prepare me for the major debt and emotional low point I felt when I closed my store, my dream ended and I moved back to Pennsylvania.
I talk about debt because it causes depression when you cannot support yourself or your family. Financial troubles are one of the top five reasons for being depressed. Depression, depending on the study or website, is one of the top three reasons for suicide. People feel there is no other option. I felt that way and it is a feeling that you are worthless. If you have never felt depression then you won’t understand. When you feel worthless, you feel like no one cares and no one would care if you were no longer in this world. I know that is exactly how I felt when I moved up to Pennsylvania.
I went on job interviews, the first few I know I did not do well because mentally I was not right. However, when I felt my lowest, my best friend would somehow know what to say to get me to smile and realize I can do this. I started interviewing more confidently, but the jobs still were not being offered. I did not give up. There are those who thought I did nothing all day but sit around, do nothing but peruse online dating sites.
When you are looking for a job with my experience and background, you have to be methodical, patient and positive. I was working with nine recruiters at the time. I would politely harass them several times a week. I would review job postings on 4-5 different job boards on the internet and apply constantly to positions. Again, from an outsider’s perspective it looks like I’m not doing anything but sitting around. Trust me, there is a lot of work in looking for a job. The way you look for a job today is different from 30 years ago when you picked up a newspaper and called or walked into a place. Employers today post jobs online or go through recruiters.
While I was actively looking for a job, I was getting bills for myself, bills for my business, and trying to figure out how to pay for my thyroid medication. I started having some medical problems, but could not go to a doctor. While I had insurance, it was the bare minimum, I would still have to pay something and I didn’t have money to pay for anything. Almost a year later, I’m still dealing with a particular medical issue and a couple more that have developed. But I’m at least able to go to doctors for help.
I sold things to at least try and make minimum payments on some of my debt. Again, I am not going to lie to you all. I considered suicide at least a few times in my first three months being back here. I was in such a depressed state of mind.
I remember one night crying myself to sleep, which I did a lot, praying for a miracle. Asking for mercy. Asking my guardian angels who were watching over me to give me strength to go on. They were listening and started with bringing a wonderful man into my life. Someone who understood struggling and was easy to talk with, and who would be the man that I didn’t know I was looking for all my life. Then my guardian angels (particularly my dad), magically found a position with a company that needed me as much as I needed them. It is in the trucking industry, an industry that is near and dear to me because of my dad being a long-haul trucker for 40+ years. Some of my best memories were me helping him with the truck and riding in it.
As soon as I got a job, I was able to rent a house and start putting my life back together. One day at a time. The good thing is I no longer have the suicidal thoughts. I still have bouts with depression, but at least for now, it is one to two days and I have someone who can help me bounce back pretty quickly.
I am reinventing myself again, when I took a shower this weekend, it hit me how I need to get my business up and running again. I am going to do something similar but different. My new business plan is step one to a bigger business plan that I’ll implement in about two years. But I’m going to be smarter this time around and take smaller steps to get to the big plan. I have only told one person of my plan until I am ready to unveil it. I should be ready to launch step one in the fall. I am excited because it will allow me to continue working in the corporate world and slowly build a business and a brand.
Life is never perfect, but that’s ok. You don’t always have to put on the happy face and hide what you are going through. Do not let things build up where you feel like there is no option. I’m speaking from experience and I have to work on this every day.
The storms you are going through today are preparing you for the sunshine of tomorrow. It may be a storm that lasts a day, a week, a month, a year or longer, but trust me the sun will come out. Just like I have said in previous blogs, everything happens for a reason you just don’t know the reason until it is ready to reveal itself. If I can make it through the storms, so can you. I am no stronger than you. When you feel at your lowest point you are not alone, angels are watching over everyone no matter what you are going through – they will get you through it. I’m here too!
I know that I still have a long way to go to get out of debt and to get my business up and running again, but I also know me and I’m stubborn, patient, ambitious, intelligent, creative, and did I mention stubborn.