Dear readers, in this week's exploration, we delve into a profoundly meaningful concept from Chapter 7 of Dr. I Rosenberg’s transformative work, "90 Seconds to a Life You Love." This concept, "Speaking Your Truth," resonates deeply as it draws us closer to our authentic selves. Today, let's embark on a personal journey together, veering towards candor and vulnerability. In the spirit of Rosenberg's assertion, "If it’s important to you, it will be important to others" (251), I bare my truth. This blog is for adult eyes and may contain content that is activating for some readers so please proceed with this caution in mind.
My tale is, in many ways, is like countless others. A vibrant childhood, embracing the warmth of caring parents, a nurturing neighborhood, and an inseparable bond with a best friend who shared my every joy. My existence danced along the lines of normalcy, occasionally shadowed by youthful anxieties. Yet, it was an event at the age of eight that etched a profound shift in my perception of life's contours.
On a seemingly ordinary day, a cheerful, carefree boy I shared a lunchtime Lego club with met a sudden, tragic end. His exuberance vanished, as his mother took his life and her own. Witnessing the contrast of his gleeful smile, as his yogurt exploded on him that morning to the heart-wrenching darkness that followed shook my understanding of existence to its core. Innocence gave way to the chilling realization that life can be a tapestry woven with both kindness and cruelty, a reality far removed from childhood's cocoon.
At the tender age of eight, the seeds of an anxious predisposition took root. To navigate a world tinged with inexplicable pain, I crafted daily rituals that gradually morphed into OCD – a relentless force that would sculpt the fibers of my identity. Gone was the carefree spirit; instead, an eight-year-old bore the weight of self-imposed compulsions, entangled in a web of dire consequences.
As adolescence beckoned, my struggle with OCD and anxiety intensified, casting a shadow over my desire to embrace life's simplest pleasures. At twelve, each day was an intricate maze of unease and inner turmoil. I embarked on a journey with therapists, seeking reprieve from the relentless grip of fear. Yet, the specter of anxiety never truly withdrew. The blissful respite of an OCD-free summer between grades 10 and 11 stands as a fleeting memory, the tranquility I yearn for.
With the arrival of twelfth grade came a tumultuous relationship, offering a misguided haven from the ever-present fear. While unhealthy, it diverted my anxiety from morbid thoughts to new preoccupations. University beckoned as a fresh start, a chapter of newfound liberation. But as semesters unfolded, the weight of expectations bore down, unearthing my anxiety anew.
My tale unfurls not for pity, but in the hope that it may kindle a beacon for those feeling adrift. To anyone grappling with isolation, despair, or uncertainty, know this: you're not alone. As I embark on my second year of university, a newfound strength courses through me, borne from the realization that my struggles resonate with many. Even in the darkest hours, the ember of resilience flickers. I remain imperfect, grappling with the remnants of anxiety, OCD, and intermittent bouts of melancholy. Yet, these do not diminish my worth. My fervent wish is for kindred spirits to understand that adversity and hindrances don't tether our essence or dictate our lives.
Each year, I craft a Lego bouquet in honor of my departed friend—a tribute that encapsulates our intertwined journey. In those moments, I sense a shared connection, as if we're placing the final piece together.
Trauma, while indelible, is not our sole defining narrative. Instead, it becomes a prism through which we perceive pain's nuances. This perception bestows life with a depth of beauty and complexity, imbuing even the mundane with profound significance. Every day, I am reminded that existence is a canvas, waiting to be painted with purpose and compassion. If I can leave you with one thought, it's this: you, irrespective of your past, your origins, or your wounds, are an intricate masterpiece. Crafted with care and intention, you possess inherent value—a truth worthy of celebration.
Madison is a Psychology Assistant; Digital Marketing Assistant at Eckert Centre. She is a university student majoring in psychology at the University of British Columbia. She is our blogger in residence, and we are grateful she is sharing her writing skills along with her mental health journey. May her young wisdom help all of us grow our “Wise Self.” For more information or to book an appointment, visit www.eckertcentre.com or email our team at info@eckert- psychology.com
Rosenberg, Joan I. 90 Seconds to a Life You Love: How to Master Your Difficult Feelings to Cultivate Lasting... Confidence, Resilience, and Authenticity. Little Brown Spark, 2020. Apple Books, https://books.apple.com/us/book/90-seconds-to-a-life-you-love/id1466751090.