ARC Blog

Finding Grace Through Challenges

02.01.21 | by Alex | Personal Stories

Sometimes we have to start over. 

It can feel tiring to “go back to the basics,” but that may be what’s required. I made a great deal of progress from OCD and anxiety/depression doing LENS Neurofeedback treatment and therapy with an amazing psychologist 2-3 years ago. She advised me to continue my trajectory of healing and stability and keep going to college or get a local job. I was feeling so good though, and my confidence was rising.  

I had a dream to move to California. I felt I couldn’t stop myself. I didn’t listen to her advice, ended therapy a little prematurely, and off I flew to Los Angeles with no plan – just a girl with the wind in her hair and a hope in her heart. I found a place to live, a community that became my family, and what I believed would be my city forever. I lived in LA for over a year. So much of that year I wouldn’t trade for the world – some of the friendships I developed, the beauty I experienced in the mountains and ocean, the church I got involved in, and the richness of art and music I bathed myself in.

However, I ended up living in my car for a couple months toward the end, and a myriad of other things happened during that year that looked like manic or delusional behaviors. I made it out alive, and I flew back to Michigan toward the beginning of Covid last spring. It was a difficult transition back.  I was rocked with PTSD from some traumatic events I walked through out there, and I thought I was only coming back for a visit. However, it never worked out for me to return to that Golden State. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to my friends.

A sense of loss came over me for quite a while. But I eventually found my place here in Michigan again and even found a refreshing new community of friends through my brother. I got back in touch with family and old friends and the beloved horses I knew here.  

I’ve reverted back into some deep panic regarding jobs and haven’t been able to keep one more than a few days the last several months. OCD has been in full swing, and depression started gripping its nasty claws into me. I started in therapy for a couple months and then was hospitalized for a week at Forestview right before Christmas. The doctor diagnosed me with Bipolar II disorder as well as reoccurring OCD symptoms. He put me on a medication and I’m seeing a new therapist the hospital connected me with.  

This was my third time in my life to be hospitalized. It makes someone feel like they’re starting at ground level again. “Have I ever made any progress in life? Why did it land me here?” are the thoughts running through my head. However, it’s like climbing a mountain. New stages of life come with new challenges and it can be two steps forward, one step back. We have to give ourselves grace no matter what part of the journey we’re at. Relapse unfortunately can happen.

If you’re finding yourself “stuck” again or at a rock-bottom you never thought you’d circle back to, take a deep breath and look at all the victories you have had in your life. You’re stronger than you think you are. You may just have to reimplement your old tools or learn new ones. You’re gonna be ok.

Alexandria is a musical composer and creative writer. She has fought through a variety of mental health challenges and found the ARC to be a place of healing for her. She is also an avid horseback rider and has found great benefit in equine therapy.

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