Foggy Futures Will Come into Focus

*TRIGGER WARNING: The topic of suicide is mentioned in this post.* 

Imagining your future is such a strange phenomenon. Throughout your life, you will imagine many versions of yourself. Many jobs, many houses, and many names for your future children. Life is full of planning for what is yet to come. However, there are many times you can’t see a future for yourself. You become doubtful of the present ever changing and the future ever arriving. At least, I know that is how I felt for years. The comedian Chris Gethard shared a lot during his comedy show which shared his personal struggles with mental illness. Toward the end, he shared how there was a long period of time where he didn’t see himself dying as an old man. He saw himself giving in to the thoughts already inside his head and completing suicide. He ends his show sharing that now, he finally see’s himself dying as an old man and how joyous that makes him feel. This hit home for me. Let’s be clear, luckily, I never saw myself completing suicide. My parents were the drive that kept me going. I knew what it would do to them, and I was surrounded each day by their never-ending work towards finding me help. If they were fighting, I had to fight. Even if I hated it. It was the last thing I wanted to do and many nights were spent in tears because of how much I didn’t want to face my life and the internal fight the next morning. I couldn’t see a way out of this torture. I couldn’t see a way out of the lies my brain created, the fears my heart held, or the emotions tearing up my insides. Life isn’t always about what you want. That was a lesson I learned very young.

I had hopes and dreams, but I could never picture myself as an adult living them out. My parents did a fantastic job of giving me a sense of hope. I was always so hopeful that I would get out of this Hell, and most of the time I knew I would with my parents on my side. But I couldn’t imagine it. For the life of me, I couldn’t see myself as a 40-year-old woman with a family, with a job, or with a stable brain. All I could see was the welcoming cocoon of my bed and nights filled with jolting limbs from my Tourettes and a mind full of thoughts that lied to me.

Just as Chris Gethard is able to picture his death as an elderly man, I can now picture my future as a Clinical Psychologist. I can see different office arrangements and imagine future New York City apartments. I can’t yet picture what my family will look like in 20 years because so much is still uncertain (That will be another post for another time) but I think uncertainty is the key to a fuzzy future. The future can go in so many directions, and the present keeps you stuck on one path. Hope gives you the power to see other pathways, but the present often seems like it can hold you back and weakens that hopefulness. I wish I would have realized that so much is going to happen to me in life that will lead me to my future. Things I could never have imagined. Things I wish didn’t happen, and things I didn’t realize were significant. Things that lead me to where I am now. At a place in life where I can see what lies ahead, appreciate what happened in the past, and enjoy my life in the present.

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