These next couple weeks of the year are usually pretty big and memorable for my husband and I. Somehow we always end up vacationing in the beginning of August, our anniversary is on the 8th, and my birthday is the 13th.
Because of these big life markers, I can confidently say that I remember one year ago very clearly, and it was one of the hardest seasons I've faced.
For the first time in my life, I had just started experiencing panic attacks. We vacationed to California and I had just started taking anxiety medication for the first time (like, my therapist sent in an order to my PCP the day before we left for vacation), so I felt very out of whack and hyper-aware of each moment's physical and emotional state while adjusting.
While on vacation, we went out for a nice birthday dinner for me but I spent half of the time wishing the anxious knot to loosen up in my stomach so I could actually eat my expensive food, while also debating if I should tell Eric how anxious I was feeling, despite the seemingly perfect scenario he had set up (romantic dinner on the ocean with my sweet husband on my birthday, on vacation).
I had recently quit my full time job to do freelance work and was completely unsure of what the future held for me. I remember intensely hoping on my birthday that my next birthday would be a little easier for me.
Honestly, it makes me stressed to even recall all of these feelings.
But why do I share all of these things right now? I'm sharing because I can definitively say I've come a long way in the past year.
I feel very far from perfectly healed right now, but I have made it through my first year as a freelancer. I have been in therapy and healing for one more year than I was last year. Eric and I have grown in closeness and learned more about each others' mental health and how to talk to better communicate. We've further settled into our home and I have developed closer and deeper friendships. I have become more aware of what is helpful and unhelpful in my life regarding routines and self-care practices. I have learned how to be okay (most of the time) spending time alone. To put it shortly, I've come a long way.
So my question is, where were you a year ago and how have you grown? Maybe you feel like you're in a great place right now, maybe you wish you could be where you were a year ago. But you have grown since last August, I promise. And I think you should take some time to reflect on it.
In the mean time, enjoy these photos of a very anxious, very in love Alex with her Eric on our third anniversary last year (taken by Hadassah Carlson):