Surviving the Best Decade of Your Life

Despite chronic mental illness, a suicide attempt, and financial instability, the last decade made my life worth living

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

How could a decade that contained the point in my life where I was so exhausted from living that I took three handfuls of pills also be the best years? How could I say I changed my life for the better when I struggled and suffered from a sick mind, and rarely made enough money to survive each month?

It’s all about perspective.

Yes, a ton of terrible things happened in the past ten years, but a lot of great things did too. I started taking responsibility for myself and stopped blaming others for my problems. I packed up my life in America and moved 8500 miles to the other side of the globe to a place that challenges all the beliefs I had about myself. I married again, this time for keepsies, and had two more beautiful children who make my life worth living. I finally started my writing career after years of procrastination and false starts.

It’s the good that made everything worthwhile

The bad was very bad

I started 2010 with a short hospital stay. Instead of dealing with suicidal thoughts on my own, I checked into a mental health clinic and stayed for a week. I had time to adjust my medication and unpack all the baggage in my brain from too many days of voices whispering terrible things, and anxiety and depression convincing me that my life was worthless.

I started looking around for someone to help cure my loneliness, and although my first attempt at love turned out to be a scam to separate me from my money, I put myself out there.

My mental state was a rollercoaster of ups and downs — down into a rabbit hole where I spent most of my time, and up to a place where I was able to take a long, hard look at my life and see it needed changing. Over the past ten years, my psychosis has gotten worse, to a point where the voices in my head follow me wherever I go. Because of this, I am often anxious and irritable, and it is much too easy for me to lose my temper. I can’t tolerate public places that are too peopley — they cause far too much panic for me to maintain my composure.

In 2014, after too much stress and too little sleep, I tried to take my life by swallowing every pill I could find. I failed by a small margin and the shock caused me to reevaluate everything in my life. I spent a week in the hospital, and when I came out, I started on a path that put me where I am today.

And finally, I’ve only recently started doing the things I need to do to change my constant financial instability. I’ve turned my love of writing into a way to generate money for my family. And while I am not succeeding as quickly as I would like, I still fight every day with my sick mind for the chance to sit at my desk and write stories I care about and get paid for it.

The good was great

As the decade began, I started understanding that if my life was going to be different, I had to change it. I couldn’t wait for someone to come and fix everything; I had to be my own hero. So I set about to change everything about myself.

I took the first step in embracing minimalism and completely made-over my relationship with what I owned, and after a false start, met the woman who would be my wife. I moved me, my suitcase, and my laptop to the Philippines to start over. I married my true love and immersed myself in this new life in paradise.

Most would make the case that my suicide attempt in 2014 was a bad thing; I say it gave me the epiphany I needed to make lasting changes to everything. I had a new zest for life and motivation that drove me to start trying new things and taking on new projects.

In 2018, after trying and failing many times to create a real income, I found Medium and have never looked back. I thrive here, and while my growth is slow because I have to take rest periods to recover from mental episodes, I am growing and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

My life is in great shape, and while I have everything I need to be happy right now, the future will see us as a family started getting some of our wants taken care of as well.

The ugly in our lives

While my marriage still needs work every day, and there is a lot to do to ensure our kids grow up happy and fulfilled, the only ugly I see right now is the blurry face I stare at in the mirror when I wake in the morning.

My family and I are set up to make the next decade our best. We have everything planned that needs planning, and all we have to do is move forward and leap any roadblock that moves in our path.

I know the future won’t only be ladybugs and daffodils — there will be bad with the good. There will be heartache. And as much as I have recovered from my illness there will be periods of mental difficulty that will take time to recover from and move on.

We’ve done a lot of hard work already, and if we want things to be even better, we will work even harder for the next ten years.

Do you want to get exclusive (content)? Sign up for my newsletter, Beautifully Broken, and let’s talk about what makes life worth living, or if you prefer to read about travel, you can check out my blog, The Frightened Traveler.

Introverted essayist and fulltime YouTuber | Dreamer - I am doing it my way and it might take a bit longer. Don't wait up.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store