Five years ago, I completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature at York University. At the time, it was my biggest accomplishment. I thought to myself, “Finally! After 13 sporadic years in university, I have this blasted 4-year degree! Take that, depression!” On my first chance, I went out and bought a hammer and a couple of nails to hang my greatest accomplishment. Heh, there was a guy in line at Home Hardware that asked, “Working on a big project, huh?” He had no idea how big it was in my eyes.
Next step: a teaching degree, which for me meant moving to Presque Isle, Maine. Even though I knew there was still a lot of hard work ahead of me, I thought the worst was over. I thought I finally had a handle on my depression. I thought I had some good coping strategies. I thought I learned good academic habits that helped me earn high marks and even higher essay scores.
I thought, “Finally, I’m closer than ever to finding my way in life, to finding that place where I belong, to feeling like I have some stability in my life.”
I was wrong on all accounts. In fact, I was closer to hitting the proverbial wall that broke me.
(Note: A word of warning. This one got very long and very personal. It’s nearly 3,000 words. So if you plan on reading it, get comfortable.)