It’s been almost six months since I’ve been seeing my new, awesome therapist, and in that time, I’ve come a long way.
I remember the first time I met with her in her office and I broke down crying about how I felt so hopeless like life would never change for me and I would be stuck living with my parents forever and taking care of my daughter for the rest of her life.
I just knew at that time that I was stuck, so stuck in a rut in my life and so desperate to get out of it, and going to therapy with her was one of the most important steps I’ve taken to getting my life together.
It’s weird now to think that neither of us believed back then that I would come as far as I have in such a short amount of time.
When I started seeing her, I was nearing the end of my last contracted design project and knew that besides the money I earn on Medium, I wouldn’t have any more income.
After years of swearing I would never have a “real boss” again, I was ready to admit that I needed to get a job.
Writing is the only thing I’d really like to do full time, and I am slowly but surely working on that, but things aren’t happening fast enough for me to believe that in a month or two I’ll be making enough to cover all of my bills plus start putting things into savings so that I can move out.
I succumbed to the idea of getting a job, but what?
Phlebotomy is something I’ve always been fascinated with and interested in doing, and I’ve been saying for years that I would love to do it someday…
But when that day came that I told my therapist “I think I want to go to school for phlebotomy,” she didn’t believe that I was ready, which made me doubt that I was ready, too.
I was in a really bad place a few months ago.
I felt so lost and hopeless, really hopeless.
My mental health wasn’t good when I first started seeing Rachel, my new therapist, and she was worried that starting school for something would just add too much more stress to my life and that I should wait until I felt better to start.
I could see her point, at the time.
I have always been terrified of failure and the thought of spending almost two thousand dollars on phlebotomy training and then failing at it because my mental health wasn’t well… that was a scary thought.
She encouraged me to wait until spring to start school, to give myself time to work with her on some healing before I took on some new, huge stressor like school, but I disagreed with her.
I thought to myself, if I wait until spring to start school, it will be almost summer before I could get a job, and at the time I just couldn’t stare down six more months of not earning enough money — something that stresses me out more than most things.
We went back and forth for a few sessions, and I don’t think she ever did think it was a good idea for me to start school in January.
Nevertheless, I persisted.
I started school anyway, and tonight, I take my final exam.
Not only did I get through the last two months of this accelerated course without having any sort of breakdown, I’ve actually excelled in class.
I have more successful needle sticks than anyone else in class, and have over a 93 average.
If I get over a 90 on tonight’s exam, I’ll get a coveted letter of recommendation from my teacher, which will go a long way to helping me get a job.
Although I did struggle a lot in the beginning with the fear of failure, I am past that now, at least when it comes to being a phlebotomist.
Not only do I believe that I can do it, I’ve proven to myself that I can, and I’ve proven other people wrong who didn’t believe I could.
You have to believe in yourself.
If I didn’t believe in myself when others were skeptical of my abilities to get through this, I would have never gotten through it.
You can’t always count on others to support you and boost you up when you feel like you’re down.
No matter what it is you want out of life, it’s up to you to go out and get it whether other people believe you can or not.
Now that I’m almost done with school, I’m trying to apply that same line of thinking to my writing.
If I write every day on Medium, if I continue to improve my writing and reach more people, if I get the guts to start pitching to magazines and websites, will I be able to make a living writing someday?
Well, why the hell not?
I’ve proven to myself (and the people who have doubted me) that I can do a lot more than I thought I could, despite mental health issues and a lingering feeling of the hopelessness that things will never change.
But now I know they will change, because I have changed.
I’ve found a way to believe in myself even when others don’t, and the ability to say “look what I’ve done” feels amazing.
Yesterday, I had a therapy appointment with Rachel and we talked about how fast these two months have flown by, and I said to her:
“Three months ago you thought this was a bad idea and now I’m almost done.”
And she threw up her hands and laughed.
“I’m proud of you,” she said. “I love it when my patients prove me wrong.”
I love proving people wrong, too.
I look forward to doing it again and again, one foot and one word in front of another until all my dreams come true.
You can do more than you think you can.
You just have to believe in yourself, even when no one else does.
It’s not easy, especially not in the beginning, but the rewards are worth every step of the fight.
So go out and start fighting for what you want, no matter what anyone says.