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When you’re in your twenties, you’re basically setting up for the rest of your life.
You put in years of school in preparation for your career, or years at a shit job hoping to rise in the ranks. If you put your heart and soul into something, it’s pretty devastating if some mess of big life changes smacks you in the face and says: nah, this is your life now.
This happens more often than you might think. How many people do you know who went all through school and ended up doing something completely different from their major? Do you know anyone who ended having a baby, and leaving school entirely?
That’s what happened to our guest blogger, Sacha. Her life was pre-planned for her by her parents, and while she thought she knew what it was like to go through big life changes, when she went to college she found out she didn’t know the half of what life had in store for her. However, she learned to be okay with the hand she was dealt.
I thought this was a really important story to tell because it’s a reminder to not get too attached to plans. Yes, in our twenties we need to be responsible and set up for our futures. But we should learn not to get so attached to our plans that we’re eternally crushed when they don’t go our way. It’s really bad for our mental health, which is what this series is all about.
Mental Health Monday
Mental Health Monday is all about helping people in their twenties become emotionally healthy adults. Often, we don’t take care of ourselves because we’re so busy planning for the future. Then, when big life changes hit like they did to Sacha, they destroy us because we’ve neglected ourselves so much to make our perfect future happen. So we need posts from people like Sacha, who have been through what we’re talking about and come out stronger for it. Hope lives in stories like these. They’re the first step– the inspiration– to adjust.
Today you’re going to learn some healthier methods for dealing with big life changes, but I also wanted to offer you something else. Catching and gracefully dealing with all the shit life throws at you is a lot more difficult if you’re also struggling with a mental illness like depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, or something else. That’s why I compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations including substance abuse and trauma, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!
Dealing with Big Life Changes
I never ever imagined my life to be this way. Growing up, I went from passion to passion just to find my identity. In high school I had plans to be an ESL teacher in Japan because I loved Japanese culture. Then I decided I wanted to do international business. In the end, I chose to study psychology, because I wanted to help others. At the time, these seemed like the big life changes because my life was somewhat pre-planned by my parents. Little did I know what life had in store for me.
My parents’ plan for me was to go to high school, then university. Get a job, then consider finding someone and settling down. They are very career-focused and money-driven, as were my friends at the time, as that’s the social norm. However, things change. You can become friends with the wrong crowd, or find that special someone and fall in love at the wrong time. In life we can plan so much, but we can never completely control the outcomes. As I learned, you may have to learn to adjust to any number of big life changes that come your way.
I went to university, like a good little girl. I met this guy, we fell in love, but things were far from perfect. Heck, I was learning all about different mental health issues and conditions, but I couldn’t see the truth in him.
He made my life a living hell.
We were dating on-and-off until finally, he told me I should move in with him. So I did, not seeing the red flags for domestic violence. I won’t go into specifics about everything I went through, but they were most definitely big life changes.
Fast forward to when I was twenty-three.
We were splitting up, and I fell pregnant. The news didn’t bode well with him. He wanted an abortion. He wanted to control every aspect of our lives. I ended up needing to leave through police. That was another of those big life changes you can’t plan for, but must power through anyway. It took a very very long time for me to get over this man, see him for who he truly is, and to let go of these lost feelings I so strongly had for him. I needed to focus on my baby, and its future.
The big life changes of living with this man, to falling pregnant, defending my unborn baby, going through domestic violence and returning home to my parents was hard. When I broke the news to my family, my father was very disappointed. My mother kept trying to enforce a career-driven lifestyle for me, despite me telling her that my child comes first and I would not leave my child to go off and pursue her goals. I had to go through a lot of changes, mentally, emotionally and of course physically and to quickly work out what I must do in order to correctly raise my child and learn to become financially independent whilst being a stay at home mum.
When you fall pregnant during a difficult situation with a psychotic man, it’s stressful, to say the least. But there’s something inside us mums that gives us this drive to focus and succeed on providing for and protecting our children. I worked hard, I planned well, I stayed healthy and made decisions in the best interest of my child. I battled with anxiety, depression, PTSD throughout my pregnancy and postpartum, and still a bit to this day, but I persevered.
Life is full of surprises. My baby being one of them.
But you learn to adjust and redirect your focus on what is most important. I am twenty four years old now.
My daughter, Rebekah, will be turning one year soon, and despite her father not being in our lives, and me needing to do it all on my own, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Don’t feel discouraged when life may not go as planned or it may seem too stressful. I’ve been there. I am still there. I have a lot of difficulties with my parents and am going through domestic violence here as well and am in the process of getting financial and legal help to leave. But I am calm. I am not rushing, or expecting too much to happen or for things to go perfectly planned. I am content. Determined. My focus is on my daughter and the rest will follow through.
I hope that this summary of my past and recent experiences helps and encourages you to understand that life is never as it seems. The choices we make, the paths we take won’t always lead us to our most ideal destination. Like I said before, I never imagined my life to be the way that it is now and with everything that I have gone through. I never imagined going through horrific events with dark people, going through stressful times living with my parents at nearly twenty five years of age, and being a single mum having to raise a child all by myself. You know what though? I now wouldn’t want to have it any other way after experiencing the joy and blessing that is my daughter.
Every experience that I went through was a trial for me, a test.
something that I could learn from and help strengthen me as a person, as a mother, as a daughter. I have turned these negative encounters and big life changes into positive trials and corrections. Learn to do the same. What is life showing you? What are these experiences teaching you? Only you know those answers.