A year ago around this time, I was impatiently waiting for results from the California Bar Exam. I had mapped out tentative plans for both outcomes: passing on my first take and landing a full-time job as an attorney, or mustering the stamina to study and retake it shortly after the holidays. I was also navigating a new relationship amidst the ten plus hours of daily studying.
Two years ago around this time, I was just starting my 3L year of law school. I had also recently moved in with my boyfriend of four years and wrote this post about what it was like living with a significant other for the first time.
Three years ago around this time, I was restarting my 2L year of law school after a year-long medical leave of absence. Initially when I had made the decision to leave, I thought it was going to be for a semester at most, but one medical test turned into dozens, and before I knew it I’d been out of law school for a year.
I was unsure if I was ever going to be able to muster the courage to go back, let alone find the physical strength to be able to sit in classes all day long. Spoiler alert: I did and I think in addition to an incredible support system, a lot of what helped me do it was saying “fuck it” to people who said I couldn’t. I used that negativity to fuel a comeback, even though I didn’t know a soul in my new class. There were so many days I felt like giving up, and wrapping my head around not graduating with my old classmates was really a blow to my pride. While that adjustment was a really tough pill to swallow, once I sucked up my pride, I was really glad I was able to go back and finish what I had started.
Four years ago around this time I started 2LWithIt. Initially I had thought it was going to be a fun way to share my adventures in law school, but it quickly veered into uncharted territory, documenting every diagnosis (including PTSD and a stomach disorder) and challenge in the weeks (months, and years) that followed.
It actually gives me get goosebumps to think back about how sick I was. I’m still far from “better,” but I’m not passing out on bathroom floors and vomiting blood every day anymore. I guess you could say, relatively, my life today looks a heck of a lot “better” than it was. Absence Makes the Heart Grow Stronger is the first post I wrote about leaving law school; it’s also one of the first “thought” posts I ever wrote on 2LWithIt.
Around this time, I had also just adopted a puppy that I was training to be my service dog, because I knew my health issues were starting to get serious. Little did I know that she’d be put down within weeks of me taking leave from law school, coinciding with my health hitting an all-time low. I wrote this post about losing her. It fucking still makes me cry when I re-read it.
Anywhoo, this time of the year makes me a little nostalgic about the past and hopeful about the future. It’s almost the end of the year, and as things get more real in wedding planning land, I’m starting to think about what things might look like this time next year.
Someone recently told me, “if you want to make God laugh, make plans.” Thinking back on the last four years of my life, those words couldn’t be more true. Sure, I wanted to go to law school and become a lawyer . . . and that’s what I’m doing now, but it took a LONG time to get here. So many sleepless nights. So many tears. So much uncertainty if I’d even be able to go back to school once I took a leave of absence, let alone finish everything or even take and pass the bar exam.
In those early weeks and months, heck, even years, I felt so much shame about being diagnosed with PTSD. I felt anxiety about having anxiety. I was depressed about having depression. I didn’t think I’d be able to make anything of this blog, and that was okay. Above all else, this blog started as an online journal with an audience of one – myself.
But in the years since I started 2LWithIt, I’ve connected with so many incredible individuals battling their own demons. Whether that’s a chronic illness, mental health, difficult family dynamics, a tough academic course load, whatever . . . we’re all different but the same. We all want to eek out a place in this world, and I’ve found it’s a lot less lonely when you ask for help along the way.
I wanted this blog to be a place that someone, somewhere can come and read about how I did/am doing it. It didn’t happen overnight and I’m just like you – I still have bad days. I still have days where I question how I got here and where I’m supposed to go next. But you know what? I set a goal to get through law school and become an attorney, and my goodness, I worked my little ass off to get there. When I went through a breakup last year, I literally thought I was going to die of a broken heart. I remember writing this post and thinking I was incapable of ever being loved again by anyone, including myself.
You don’t have to have a blog to realize you’re making positive changes in your life. For me, it’s been a way to journal thoughts and emotions as I’m going through them. What started as a blog about trying online dating in college (and all of its epic fails), evolved into sharing my health successes (and epic fails, of course).
We’re all a work in progress, and I think if more people shared their journeys like I’ve tried to do, there would be more conversations about mental health and chronic illness . . . and those living with what feel like (or maybe they actually are) terminal diagnoses, will feel a little less lonely and out of place.
I know it’s done that for me. And I hope it has for you. And those are my thoughts on a Wednesday.