I’ve been thinking lately of how much I’ve grown in the past few years, I think looking at how well I handled the last couple of weeks really opened my eyes to the person I am growing into. I’ve always heard that in your 20s you have the opportunity to become the person you want to be, and I’m noticing how true that is every day.

During my final year of university I dealt with a lot of stuff that hit me very hard emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually, you name it! Teachers out there know that your final practicum experience can be everything from exhilarating to terrifying, sometimes at the same time. It was during this final two month practicum that I was dealing with the regular practicum workload, a part-time job that normally required my attention during school hours, an awful apartment situation that led to living with my parents and friends until we found a new place to live, the stress of moving, a close friend dealing with a very difficult time, another good friend getting diagnosed with cancer, the upcoming loss of a grandparent, and it felt like the list went on and on. Life doesn’t stop when you are on practicum just as it doesn’t stop any other time.

And then practicum and my university days were over. I was left with the unknown’s of this “real life” thing that people had talked about. I felt lost, hopeless, sad, confused, and anxious – very, very anxious. I ended up with anxiety that was uncontrollable and it was starting to take control of my day to day. A breaking point was one night when I started non-stop crying because the idea of going to bed was too much, because the idea of waking up in the morning was too much, because the idea of going to work was too much. At this point I decided to make some changes – I stopped drinking caffeine, started running again, quit one of my part time jobs, went to my doctor, and started talking about what I was going through.

*My anxiety was manageable once I started to make some changes and I did not need to access further professional help but please remember that this is my story and what worked for me. I am in no way suggesting that these solutions will work for anyone else. They are not meant to replace professional advice.

A good friend sent me this and it has stuck with me
A good friend sent me this and it has stuck with me

The more people I talked to, the more I realized I was not alone in my struggles. I was a perfectionist. I was overworking myself. I was putting an insane amount of pressure on myself to be someone that I wasn’t yet. I didn’t want to improve, I wanted myself to already be somewhere I didn’t need improving. I had grown into this role of “doing it all” and I didn’t know how to break out of that.

Many people supported me through this tough time but it also took a lot of internal strength and commitment to making my life better. I needed to make choices that would lead to happiness and I needed to spend time reflecting on who I am and what I need.

And here I am today…

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I am no longer afraid of saying no because I would rather do less and do it better. I am no longer afraid of making mistakes because I give myself permission to be in a state of growing and changing. I am no longer afraid of reaching out and asking for help because, just as I want to support my loved ones, they want to support me back. I am not as hard on myself and I make balance in my life a priority. I have allowed myself to return to being a learner as well as a teacher. I am grateful by choice, I am happy by choice.

So when I have hard times, like the loss of a close friend or losing out on my “dream job” or whatever challenge that may be out there next for me, I know that I can come through stronger in the end than when I started.

Coming undone made me grow, learn and change.

Coming undone gave me permission to be imperfect.

Coming undone taught me to show compassion to myself.

Meaghan