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I'm Still Me

2018 hit me hard. In October of 2017, the Northern California fires raged through Sonoma county, causing major destruction to hundreds of homes, and businesses. The summer camp I work for was one of those businesses. We lost nearly every building that stood on our camp property, including the homes of onsite staff who lost everything. The fire ravaged our site on the Monday of my sixth week on the job, just eight days before I was supposed to host my first retreat weekend on site. Following the fire our team hustled hard through grief and exhaustion to find a new normal, and we did, mostly. As the year progressed, and we continued to dredge through the pain of watching our community suffer through loss on many fronts, it became evident to me that the toll on my body and mind were far greater than I initially believed. Slowly depression and anxiety took over. I’ve lived with them my whole life, but I thought I had “arrived” at the place where I could adequately manage the symptoms without being taken too low. Without any warning, or notice this particular depression hit full force and I fell deep. As I am beginning to get to the other side of it and reviewing 2018, I realize just how tired I am. This month we were asked to pause and reflect on this past year; to think about all the things we’d like to leave behind and set our intention for the new year. I swear, when I read those words, I felt a bit like I was looking fear straight in the face. This past year has left me feeling lost, and exhausted. Many days my mind is unclear, overrun with insecurity and narratives that tell me everything I am is wrong. Other days though, I see my path and myself with such clarity, I wonder how I ever saw anything different. This constant back and forth can make stopping to reflect quite difficult. Everything feels out of focus, and a bit hazy. There is so much about this year I’d love to forget, and so many things that I’d love to hold onto for dear life. This year I learned a lot about fortitude, and what it means to stand in your truth bravely. I watched as friends, family, and colleagues faced adversity head on, with a deep sense of commitment and bravery. I also learned about joy, and what it means to seek out it out with intention. This year, while I spent time in darkness, growing ever more familiar with fear and anxiety, I also spent time in light, learning about harnessing the power of truth, and laughter. I’m still working and fighting to get back to a place of mental clarity where I feel like me. I’m still attempting to wade through the mud of anxiety and depression each day, but as the new year begins, I’ll keep thinking about all I’ve learned, and revel in all of the things that make me who I am. I will carry these with me, because after everything I’m still me, and I’d say that’s a pretty good place to be. Written by Sierra Meszaros

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