Learning to love better because of deep hurt

No matter how strong you think you are mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically, there is always room to break. For some it comes earlier than others and it's easier to fix. For some it comes too late and it feels almost impossible to recover from. The first time I broke and lost control of those four things was at the end of spring 2015.

A lot built up to that moment.

I was working on creeping out of a deep GPA abyss that came with a single semester on academic probation. I skipped Christmas for the second year in a row to do work with my church. One of my uncles died of an unexpected heart attack while I was 13000+ miles from home. New Years was spent in Asia, the next weekend on the the US west, and the first week of my spring semester at WSU was spent in the US Midwest mourning with my family.

I worked three jobs, took five classes, traveled to Seattle multiple times, visited New York City once, and virtually stopped eating or exercising. I slept little, talked little, and remember almost nothing between February and May of that year. I reached a point of laying on my apartment floor for 20 hours a day and only getting up long enough to take exams. I couldn't handle the stress of it all. It hurt. It was too much to handle.

You see, I started the year optimistic and crashed halfway through with enough anxiety and depression to keep me down forever. Few people knew something was wrong with me. Thankfully, the few who did helped pave a path for me to take to recover from what was crippling at the time.

Secular therapy, religious counseling, and a handful of trustworthy people were the three things that made me begin to change. According to one of my counselors, I had a nervous breakdown. In order to cope and move forward, I blacked out the things that pushed me to my personal breaking point. In order to continue moving forward and grow from the experience, I needed to safely process it with other people.

At the bottom of this blog post I've shared many of the sources I used to begin to restore my well-being that summer. These resources pushed me through 2015 and elevated my experiences in 2016.

Because of that restoration, I look at what I know of my issues that year and almost find them laughable. I don't want to laugh because they were not real problems. They definitely were. They had the potential to destroy me. But I want to laugh because they seem so simple for me now. I know how to help others navigate through them. And I recognize there is much worse pain and suffering that I have not yet encountered, making my prior struggles seem so small.

Because of my breakdown I learned to be joyful while in pain. I learned to love people better because passion that spews hate can be channeled into something that desires to encourage. People change people, and hearts don't have to stay cold. I needed to be shaken to my core to ensure I could withstand harder shaking in the future.

My story is real and was hard for me. But it only reaches and impacts a small group of people with similar experiences. Too many people have similar or much more heartbreaking stories of emotional, mental, and physical breakdowns. Educate me on what has or is helping you restore self. Educate anyone who might read through the comments section on this post.

I've only added three resources because I only needed these outlets at the time. However, if you have gone through struggles of your own and are aware of more, please comment what resources you've connected with for the greater good of our own awareness.

Here are the resources that helped me move past my breakdown:

Washington State University Counseling and Psychology Services, website: https://counsel.wsu.edu/, phone number: 509-335-4511

Reason: WSU CAPS provides therapy free of charge for students registered in classes, and at a discounted rate for students are taking a break from classes. They take walk-in visitors and schedule appointments. They have resources that address a broad set of issues including depression, anxiety, suicide, eating disorders, sexual assault, and more. The number listed is for general scheduling, but they also have an emergency after-hours hotline at 509-335-2159.

Resonate Church, website: https://www.resonate.net/, phone number: 509-592-1100

Reason: Resonate Church is a religious organization staffed with a diversely educated group of pastors and community facilitators. While their services do not exclusively cater to Christians, Resonate is a great resource for spiritual repair and growth for that particular practice. The people I have met and worked with through this organization do an exceptional job of loving, listening, and caring for anyone they engage with. My connections allowed me to repair past hurt, understand my existing values, and live in a way that made me feel healthy inside and out. The community that is built in their small groups and weekend activities alone is something worth trying out. You don't have to work hard to feel loved here.

National Alliance on Mental Illness, https://www.nami.com/, phone number: 1-800-950-6264

Reason: NAMI indirectly gave me material to research what I was feeling and what others feel. It broadened the scope of my understanding of what the brain does for our emotional and spiritual well-being. Whether you suffer with a mental illness or not (I don't), NAMI is a valuable source for learning more about mental illness and actively combating your own or others symptoms early. For most, education is key in being aware of mental health dilemmas.

Lance Lijewski