2020

2020 was beautiful. It broke me just to build me back up. Let’s get into it.

January

“Good day in my mind, safe to take a step out”

The ball dropped, Wilson gave me a big ole smooch, and the year began. On January 2nd, I posted photos saying “Happy 2020. Something good is in the air!” Turns out, a life-changing, highly contagious virus was the only thing truly in the air. But — we have’t got that far yet. January was a month full of normal life. I had my best friends by my side and we just had our senior prom the month before. Wilson and I were in a honeymoon phase, yet we still managed to argue at most social gatherings like every other high school couple. I was enrolled in the pre-law program at the University of Kentucky. I still have the voicemail of Brooke screaming “CONGRATULATIONS” saved on my phone from when I told the group my accomplishment. Gracie Ruckreigel and I were planning out what our dorm would look like and sending one another inspo from Pinterest on our free time. That is, when we weren’t at cheer practice being yelled at for talking too much. We took way too many laps together. The senior class voted me “Most Likely to be on the Bachelor” as a senior superlative. Ever since I was little and watched coming-of-age movies, I wanted to win a senior superlative. Was I surprised by the one I ended up with? Not at all. I was exactly who the younger version of myself wanted me to be. Tall, blonde, skinny, popular, social-media “famous,” on the cheer team, and dating the boy with curly, brown hair. I loved everyone in my life and felt so loved in return. I soaked it all up. I felt like I was the king of the world in January of 2020… I had no idea what was ahead of me.

February

“Get some air now, let your edge out”

February shook things up a bit. I was definitely “off balance.” I began to test the waters of my freedom outside of my friend group. We were a super close group of girls, so it was strange to not be with them every single Friday and Saturday night. I spent half of my weekends just with Lexi and Gracie Gilkey, and was really only telling them the details of my day to day life. In addition to that, I started picking a lot of fights with Wilson. We were broken up every other week in February. Emma was my rock through the hard times, as she always had been. I always called her “my lifeline” and I meant it for all four years of our friendship. We went to the Luke Combs concert in Lexington that month. The tickets were a birthday present, and we danced to every single song. Honestly, we didn’t know the words to half of them. For the rest of my birthday activities, Will Cole threw me a birthday party! I was so excited, because I never shut up about wanting a “surprise” birthday party one day. My friends put the whole thing together, and I felt so special that night. The day after that was the Father Daughter dance. My dad and I never participated in those kind of things, but it was senior year and we simply had to. The rest of the month included fighting with Wilson, spilling all the tea to Gracie Gilkey, and celebrating Valentines Day and Emma’s birthday. February was always our favorite month. Crazily enough, February of 2020 was the last month living the life I had known for the past four years.

March

“Too soon, I spoke”

My entire world flipped upside down in March. As an 18 year old paying for my own college tuition, I came to the heartbreaking realization that I could not afford to go to the University of Kentucky. I was completely devastated. Since I was a freshman in hs, I had fantasized about life at an SEC school, wearing royal blue, joining a sorority, and going to every Caturday possible. Life threw financial obstacles at me that I simply couldn’t overcome. Against my own dreams and desires, I began searching for a college that wouldn’t put me into $80,000 of debt by the time I’m 22. I toured Bellarmine University, the University of Cinci, and Western Kentucky University. As I was touring these colleges, my friends were planning their dorms, their future Spring Breaks, and how badly they wanted to be Thetas. I was jealous. I wanted to have my plan set in stone, I wanted my parents to pay a ridiculous amount of money for me to go to an SEC school, and I really wanted to not have financial problems at such a young age when literally no one in my circle understood the pain. Being in a friend group of millionaires while I didn’t know if I could afford housing and a meal plan sucked. Slowly, a distance began to grow between me and those friends. We were simply on different paths. I was spending 99% of my time with Lexi and Gracie Gilkey at this point. With them, it wasn’t about drama, popularity, or getting invited to parties. Us three would be taking shots in the basement, staying in on Saturday nights, and having way too much fun on our own. Lexi and I became best friends, while Gilkey became a little sister to me. Of course, I still loved my friend group from school. We ate lunch together, laughed together, and spent our last day of high school together in March. At this time, coronavirus took over. Everyone was terrified. All of our parents made us stay in our houses, not able to see one another. I missed my friends every day, and spent many nights crying to Wilson about how badly I needed girl time. In the end, I never got that girl time. It was March 29th when my friend group from the past four years decided they didn’t want to be my friends anymore. I was thrown completely off guard. For awhile, I thought it was a prank. How could I have surprised Kaley with a slushee and talked about boys and laughed all day on the 28th, just to have my last ever conversation with her on the 29th? I was in disbelief. But it wasn’t just one friend dropping me, it was seven of them. It felt like the worst heartbreak I’ve ever experienced, but seven times worse. I wanted everything to work out. My friends were leaving me because I gossiped about them in the past. Shocking, I know, a teenage girl at an all girls high school talking about someone else behind their back. But despite how typical it was, I also knew how badly words can hurt. I apologized to each of my friends individually, begged for forgiveness, and hung on to the very last string of hope I had. I had two options when I was caught red-handed for not talking kindly about my friends. My first option was to apologize like crazy, promise a better friendship in the future, and fight for my girls. My second option was a little more feisty, and I still wonder what would’ve happened if I took it. I wanted to deflect. I wanted to respond with “Yes I said that. But “X” said “Y” about “Z” and y’all aren’t attacking her for it.” I wanted to remind my friend group that in every instance I was “gossiping,” at least one other girl in the group was part of that conversation with me. But I didn’t want to make matters worse, and I knew I should take responsibilities for my wrongdoings. In the end of the dramatic fall-out, I became a lone wolf as the group stayed whole. I asked myself every single day why they got to remain friends despite doing the same things I was kicked out for. My view on the world became dark. I introduced these girls as my “future bridesmaids” while I gave my maid-of-honor speech at my sisters wedding. The people I counted on forever with were the same people texting me how “pathetic and disgusting” I was. I knew I wasn’t the perfect friend, and quite frankly, I don’t think anyone can say they are. But I knew I did not deserve the treatment I was receiving, the words I was reading, or the rumors being spread throughout the city. I begged for these friendships, while in return, I wasn’t even given the decency of a conversation in-person. To them, I wasn’t worth an hour of “talking and hugging it out.” Yet, gossip spread throughout everyone I knew, and I was perceived as one hell of a villain. Absolutely everyone I knew turned against me. Everything was blown completely out of proportion, as I sat alone in my room watching my life flip upside down. And this wasn’t just a week of pain. No one made amends, and I received no closure. I began to feel bullied by the words I was being texted. I was told to forget they ever existed, they hadn’t liked me for the past few months anyway, I was ill-hearted, a bitch, never a real friend to them. It’s nearly been a year since this happened, and I have yet to receive a word from any of the people I thought were my friends. Whether it’s just to check in on me or to apologize for the cruelty they did, the message was never written. I’ve come to terms with it, but in March, I had no idea how hard it would truly be to overcome how harsh these people were on me.

April

“You be heavy in my mind, can you get the heck out?”

Somehow, I survived all the high school drama from March. Unfortunately, it wasn’t over. EVERYONE was talking. It was hard enough to accept the fact all my friends had betrayed me, but it was even harder to disappear from the gossip. My entire grade was talking, the grade below me was talking, the grade above me was talking. Absolutely ridiculous rumors were spreading, and it felt impossible to handle. I watched my ex friends hang out every day, at the pool, around the fire, laughing and continuing on their lives as usual as I was slowly fading away. My personality was becoming so dull to the point I couldn’t even cry. I became numb. In Louisville, everyone hears everything. Everything spreads to everyone. And although I had disappeared from the “it” crowd, everything everyone said still got back to me. People I barely even knew were saying horrible things about me, and I had no voice to stop it. I was outnumbered, and my side of the story was never asked about. Besides by Gracie Dickens. She asked. I drove to her house in excruciating internal pain, and she helped me. She said “I am going to go to the lake with Carson this weekend, come with us.” Despite how badly I wanted to shut down, isolate myself from the world, and not make new friendships, I knew I had to keep moving forward. And Gracie refused to let me lose myself. So we headed to the lake. That week was exactly what I needed to disappear from the drama. Gracie would always yell at me when I got on my phone, reminding me that I couldn’t move on from the pain if I wouldn’t allow myself to be happy where I was in the moment. Carson and I had never had a strong connection before the week at the lake, but we had plenty of time to catch up on the last four years of our lives. It was hard to let someone new in, especially when I got choked up every time I tried to tell her a happy memory I had with my ex friends. Neither of them gave up on me. And lets not forget Evie — the sweetest girl I’ve ever known. She gave me enough hugs to last a lifetime. Wilson drove to the lake and we spent all our seconds together. We were jet skiing, four wheeling, and drinking way too many margaritas. I was slowly finding the light again. Once we were back in Louisville, Lexi and I spent every day together. We woke up for online school to two venti iced coffees on my nightstand, thanks to my dad. Throughout all the drama, Lexi stayed by my side. She had known my heart more than anyone since the new year began, and she never left me to feel alone. I owe everything to Lexi, because she was going through plenty of her own battles, yet stayed strong for me too. We had one another to lean back on, and truthfully, we were all we needed. She was — and still is — the best friend I have ever had. As much as I’d love to talk about how perfect Lexi is, the rest of the month wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Let’s not pretend that April was the healing month of all my pain, because it wasn’t. I am the type of person who shuts down and hides all her emotions. That was difficult for the people in my life, because they were worried about me and I would not let them help. Lexi, both Gracie’s, Carson, and Wilson could all see through the “happy” mask I had put on. I was falling into a deep depression. What made it worse was that I pretended I wasn’t. I took the majority of my sadness and anger out by starting fights with Wilson every single day. As hard as I could, I was pushing away everyone. I felt nothing but hate towards myself for losing the friends I once had, and my emotions couldn’t handle it. I resulted to physically taking out the pain, and no matter how many bracelets I wore, my new friends began to notice. Carson, having only been my friend for nearly 3 weeks yet too bold to bite her tongue, confronted me for my self harm. I was so ashamed of my actions and even more embarrassed that I was caught. I was in fear that my scars would push away the only hope I had to new friendships. Thankfully, I stumbled across the strongest girls I’ve ever known. I did not want their help, but I was given it. These people seriously saved me. They showed me the care I was severely craving… Speaking of care, I showed Wilson none. He knew he didn’t deserve it, and walked away. We broke up — and losing so many people in such a short amount of time made me go crazy.

May

“I need rest now, got me bummed out”

May was the month I mentally lost it. You always learn that if someone randomly decides to drastically change their hair or give their personal items away, it’s a sign of giving up on themselves. Well, that was me. My beautiful, bleach blonde hair turned a dark purple. My colorful spring wardrobe turned into outfits of all black. Black nails, black shirts and pants, purple hair, and listening to Suicide Boys every day. Along with these physical changes, I started drinking A LOT. I never drank much during high school, but in May, it was an every day thing. Of course, it was summer, it was quarantine, it was something to do. But I was drinking to erase the pain, get rid of the void in my soul. I missed Wilson everyday, yet I never heard anything from him without reaching out first. I heard new rumors about myself every day for so long, and even in May, I couldn’t escape it. I became extremely impulsive, because I was looking for ways to make myself feel whole again. The hair, the wardrobe, the drinking… none of it worked. I was so depressed, yet trying to live my life to the fullest at the same time. I decided to get tattoos. Out of nowhere, I called Lexi and told her we were going to the tattoo parlor. I got my first tattoo of a rose on my bikini line. I felt excited that day, driving home with Lexi in complete shock that I had randomly made this permanent decision. I craved for that excitement again, and I was back in the parlor three days later getting another tattoo. My sister and I got matching ones, and my parents nearly killed me when they found out. I was searching for validation and attention in places where I shouldn’t, associating with people who were toxic for me. I lacked control over my own behavior to the point where I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. The alcohol didn’t help, the hair didn’t help, the pretending didn’t help. I slept. And I slept for days. Everyone I had given my love to had collided together, left me, and forgot me. I have never felt a depression as strong as I did in April and May. I drove to the Ohio bridge, just staring at it. I never wanted to end my life, but I wanted the feeling to stop. My drive to the bridge happened three times a week, every week. Lexi had always tracked me, keeping me on the phone so I never felt alone. Gracie lived 10 minutes away for downtown, so I always went to her house after my breakdowns. Without them, I don’t know where I’d be. Lexi never let me feel alone, Gracie always cheered me up, and Carson would always have a ridiculous activity planned so my mind would stop racing for some time. I was practically a zombie, and those girls, even having been new friends to me, carried me out of hell until I saw the light again.

June

“Gotta get right, tryna free my mind before the end of the world”

June got better. After dying inside for the past two months straight, I started hating myself less. My “summer glow” began to make an appearance. I reunited with my middle school bestie, Heather, and she introduced me to her friend group of guys. Heather and the boys brought me some balance. The drinking slowed down, as we spent most of our nights getting Taco Bell and watching a variety of movie series. Gracie Gilkey and I were always with the group, and most of the time Lexi was there too. Lexi, Gracie, and Carson had their own mini squad of friends they ran around with, and I had mine! But the girls were still the girls, and nothing could change that after the past two months we had had. We had suffered through the hardest months of our year together, and it was our time to enjoy life now. Lexi, Gracie, Carson, Heather, Gracie & Tyler, Matthew and Andrew always kept my spirits high. We were enjoying the life we were given, and making the most of our days. Lexi, Gracie and I embarked on a spiritual path in April that kept getting more and more enlightening. We spent days in bookstores, reading more of the universe and how to manifest our own destinies. We spent nights manifesting our lives to be exactly the way we wanted them to be. And, of course, the universe gave us what we manifested to be true. I dyed my hair back bleach blonde, and began recognizing myself again. I was surrounded by amazing people and even began to start loving myself again by the end of June. Which, was when Lexi and I went to Florida. That week was the week we DESERVED. We had been through so much, both together and individually, and we earned that vacation. We slept in, spent our days on the beach, drinking coffee and talking about everything in the sand. We would sneak to the ocean in the late hours of the night, eating away our munchies and giggling about anything and everything. Life became beautiful again. Of course, there were still problems and hardships, but we had each other. Lexi, me, and the beach was exactly what we needed. When we got home, things were exactly as we left it. Complicated, yet more bare-able after our break in the Florida sun. I took my AP exams and aced them. Lexi and I got to see our other friends as our skin was still burnt from the sun. Wilson and I decided to work things out in our relationship and take the steps to get back together. Movie nights in Tyler’s basement were still every night. I also met Caitlin and with time, we became best friends. Everything was good again. Until, a few days before June came to a close, I found out Wilson had been seeing multiple other girls during the times we were working things out within our relationship. The universe, no matter how hard I manifested for an easy life, wasn’t done throwing emotional daggers at me.

July

“Gotta hold my own, my cross to bear alone”

Going into July, my heart was in nonstop pain. I was so angry, so disappointed. The love I had began to feel for myself in June started to disappear again, as I was constantly comparing myself to these girls. I began nit-picking every thing about myself, and honestly, I was never good enough for myself during the beginning of July. In order to stop judging myself so much, Lexi and I went on many shopping trips. Spending money is like therapy to me, regardless of how horrible that is for my bank account. Through the pain, Wilson and I were still talking every day. And by “talking,” I mean that I was telling him “I hate you” and he would respond with fifty different ways of saying “I’m sorry.” As time went on and our emotional conversations continued, I realized that Wilson was not just unstable due to the truth of his deceit coming to the light. I swept my emotions under the rug, despite how impossible it felt, and realized that Wilsons mental state needed to take priority. It was hard, the hardest thing I’ve ever done actually, but that’s what you do for people you love. I had to remind myself every day that people make mistakes and even though I was mad at him, it was important that I was there for him. As the chemicals in his brain got crazier and crazier, Wilson had to go away and focus on his mental health. The timing was both horrible and perfect. Horrible because, selfishly, him and I wanted to be fixing our relationship. Perfect because, truthfully, we both needed time to focus on ourselves. In order to potentially be together in the future, we had to first love ourselves again. The week Wilson was sent away to find balance in himself again, I had a trip to Michigan planned. The timing of everything was chaotic, but honestly, so much was going on that the only option I had was to keep moving forward. Setting off to Michigan with Lexi, Gracie Gilkey, Heather, Tyler, Matthew and Andrew was challenging. I wanted to crawl in my bed and never leave, knowing that the person I love was both just caught cheating and entered into a mental facility. But, ultimately, there was nothing I could do about either of those situations. I tried to enjoy my trip in Michigan, despite my mental obstacles, because I was lucky to be where I was. Surrounded by friends that I loved, laying in the sand, and drinking a few exotic drinks is exactly what I needed to get a temporary escape. After all, thats what vacations are. An escape from reality. My friends and I shared laughs and meals together, finding fun in the Michigan sun. The trip wasn’t completely sunshine and rainbows, as Wilson was allowed to call me on the phone about three times a day since he put me on his emergency contact list. I never got in the water during the trip, as I was scared if I walked away from my phone at the wrong time, I’d miss Wilsons call and not know how he was doing that day. The way I got an immediate anxiety attack when I lost my phone became humorous to the people I was with, because as much as I put on a happy face, it was obvious that I was stressed. The stress levels faded every day, as Wilsons liveliness returned to his voice in his calls. Eventually, Wilson was allowed to go back to his own home and the stress vanished. I knew he was okay, he knew I was okay, and we both had enough time to ourselves to know that everything would work out exactly as it should. Wilson drove to Michigan as soon as he could, and as I said “goodbye” to my friends at the beach, I knew the worst was over. I was so lucky to have to people I did by my side, and I still love them all to this day. Wilson and I had a six hour car ride that day to talk about everything we needed to in a relaxed, mature way. Eating KFC and communicating better than ever before, we were happily together again. A new chapter of my life began once we got back into Louisville. I began packing for college at WKU and preparing my dorm room decor. As I was assigned to a random roommate, I was nervous yet beyond excited to move forward. As I prepared for the next year, I hung out with Lexi every day, knowing how badly I would miss her in Bowling Green. On top of all the goodness that began coming into my life, Wilson asked me to marry him. Literally.

August

“I worry that I wasted the best of me on you, you don’t care”

August was a new beginning. The trio of Lexi, Wilson and I said our temporary “Goodbyes” as Wilson and I took off for Bowling Green. There, everything was new, exciting and fresh. I went through sorority rush, being invited to Phi Mu and overly excited. I never saw myself as a sorority girl after March, but I felt a connection with my past self by being invited to join. I shared a room with Hadley, and we barely saw each other for the first month of being roommates. I was sleeping in Wilsons dorm every night, having sleepovers with him and Ethan. We watched movies together before bed, woke up together, and shared snacks. I was basically the third roommate Ethan never signed up for. But we became close, and it was okay for me to live there rent free. During the day, Wilson and I spent most of our days in Tylers apartment with Heather and Andrew. We all did our homework together, watching reality TV and eating a lot of fast food. Caitlin and I somehow ended up being on the same dorm floor out of 30 floors, and we became closer every day. Three weeks after being in Bowling Green, Wilson and I took a trip back home to surprise our friends, family, and celebrate Carsons birthday. August was such a happy month. Despite the fact I was still healing in my relationship, the new environment and friends brought me more happiness. Wilson and I were on a good path, but it wasn’t perfect yet. I began to finally feel the trauma from what my high school friends did to me in March. I was scared to make new friends, and I truthfully had every reason to. I didn’t put myself out there because I literally had PTSD. Overcoming my ex friends from the past four years literally dropping me over night was hard, but the idea of making brand new friends was impossible. I had Lexi, Gracie, and Carson and I knew they were all I’d ever need. But part of growing up is challenging yourself, meeting new people, trying new things – and my trauma from March was holding me back. It’s a feeling that I can’t explain in words, a battle in my own mind with a barrier I simply couldn’t get past. It’s like when you go through a relationship break up, you’re scared to become romantically involved with someone new because you don’t want to be hurt like you were in the past. That’s how I was with friendships… and it was painful. I started feeling so much negative energy towards my past, regretting all my choices and the people I surrounded myself with. I genuinely worried that I wasted the best of me on those friends, and I knew they didn’t care. No one else could do the healing for me, and I had to finally face my past in order to move forward.

September

“Still believe in good days”

Every week got better, and September was perfect. The weather was getting better and the smiles were getting bigger. Tyler and his roommate, Tanner, ended up getting a puppy. Being at their apartment every day, we all helped raise little Nala into a good dog. It was so exciting, playing with the puppy and doing homework in the fresh air at the park in September. Heathers birthday came around, so we threw her a party and went to a nice diner. Caitlin and I began hanging out every single day, and I found hope in myself to be able to form new best friendships. At home, Lexi and Gracie were always getting themselves into trouble, but Wilson and I loved and supported them through all of their craziness. Gracie and I decided to visit Carson at Miami of Ohio for a weekend, and after our first night there, I woke up to multiple missed calls from the Miami of Ohio and Ohio State police. We were in big trouble from the night before. After all having to individually speak to the police, me and Gracie left Miami’s campus. Laughing the whole ride home, we were so grateful for our manipulative ways of getting out of trouble. We missed Carson immediately as we drove away, but Christmas break wasn’t far away, and the excitement of all being together again had already set in. Back in Bowling Green, a local photographer, Brandon, reached out to me and wanted to shoot together. It had been two years since I last modeled, as my photographer sexually assaulted me, and I was terrified of history repeating itself. Modeling is a very complicated industry, and truthfully, I was scared to get back into it. But I did anyway, because how could I say “no” to such an awesome opportunity! My anxiety levels were still pretty high up there as I met this stranger in a field in the back of an empty Church. But everything turned out to go perfectly, Brandon was awesome, and I gained more confidence that day than I had all year. After that, I began working with Brandon nearly every week and it was always the highlight of my seven days. Brandon and I became close friends, and my confidence and love for myself grew with every picture. I began putting myself out there, spending more days in the dorm room with my sweet Hadley and meeting all her friends. I was excited to meet new girls and form new friendships, yet I still felt fear. Hadley became such a bright light to me, never failing to ask me to go out with her girlfriends. I was pushed outside my comfort zone, and that was exactly what I needed.

October

“I’ll await my armored fate with a smile”

October, things got rocky again. Wilson decided to leave WKU because school wasn’t his thing. I was so sad to be separated from my person and start a long distance relationship, especially since it had only been two months of healing from his affairs. I wasn’t completely healed yet, and as he left back to Louisville, I had an extremely difficult time trusting him. But we made it work, and visited each other often! I finally began sleeping in my own dorm with Hadley, and we became best friends. Hadley, Caitlin and I spent every night talking about our lives in our small dorm room and eating popcorn. When I wasn’t at WKU, I was home with Wilson exploring and adventuring. I was always on the move in October, and I loved it. I spent some days adventuring Bowling Green in the fall with Hadley, Zoe and Alana. Other days in Bowling Green were spent with Heather and Caitlin and the doggy. I was having photoshoots in both Bowling Green and Lexington during October, so my schedule got super busy. Wilson and I did all the fall festivities, adventuring to pumpkin patches and kicking the orange leaves around. I continued to maintain a 4.0 during all my adventures, photoshoots, long distance relationship battles, and meeting new friends. But between all the good, was the bad. I stopped eating and lost a lot of weight. I was sent to the WKU clinic, where I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and being placed on anti-depressants for the first time in my life. The medicine helped my stomach pains, as thats how my anxiety reveals itself. Despite taking the medicine, I still did not want to eat. As the weight slowly vanished, I was becoming more and more unhealthy. The hunger caused me to be angry, sad, and really sick. My body screamed for help, but I avoided it all and thought I was fine. I was happy, going on trips to Nashville with Caitlin and Samantha, beginning to trust Wilson again, and seeing Lexi and Gracie so often again. As happy as I was, my body was very, very sick.

November

“Got me a war in my mind”

November is when my health got in really bad shape. I had lost over 15 pounds, I was avoiding going in public, and I was never in an energetic mood. My progress from October quickly deteriorated, despite my new medications help. As I said in August, I had been forcing myself to face the hardships of the past. It was not easy to face what my high school “friends” did to me but I had no other choice but to allow my pain and trauma to sink in. Running from my problems has never benefited me, and I was trying to change my ways. I was sent to therapy once a week in order to deal with my newly diagnosed anxiety and depression, and after week 2 of that, my mind went off the rails. I’ve never been the type of person to face my hardships or show emotion, and I became extremely overwhelmed. I was still traveling a lot, and my mind couldn’t handle all of it. Facing my traumas sent me into an episode of psychosis. I began hallucinating nonstop. I heard things that no one else did, saw figures no one else saw, and tasted things that weren’t in my mouth. As I was completely starving myself at this time, I lost it both mentally and physically. On day 5 of no food and water on top of suffering my episode of psychosis, I thought I was dying. It was a Tuesday when I called my mom, telling her to come home from work immediately and take me to the hospital because I was dying. I called my dad and sister to say “Goodbye,” as my brain convinced me I had no time left. I called Lexi and Wilson, screaming at the top of my lungs that I was dying as I couldn’t stand from the bathroom floor. My mom rushed me to the hospital, calming me down the entire time. I was having panic attacks after panic attacks. As I was settled into a hospital bed, the doctors told me I was extremely dehydrated. I was given an iv and apple juice as the doctors told me they wanted to send me to the psychological area of the hospital for testing. I refused, as I had an appointment already scheduled with a psychologist the next day. My pain from the year caught up to me and hit me all at once during November, and quite frankly, I don’t remember much of the month. I used to wake up Wilson in his sleep, telling him the girl in the rocking chair in his room was laughing at me. Nights like this terrified Wilson, as he was deeply concerned about my safety and health. As I went to my appointment with me neurologist and we talked about my entire past along with a set of tests, I was diagnosed with anorexia, anxiety and panic disorder, depression, PTSD, episodic psychosis, OCD, and borderline personality disorder. Turns out, the anti-depressant I had been taking the past few months were actually working against me. With borderline personality disorder, anti-depressants can sometimes make the symptoms of anxiety and depression worse. In my case, they were. I didn’t know how to handle my diagnosis, but I was blessed with the most supportive and loving friends I could ever ask for. The helped me face my trauma and avoid further psychotic outbreaks. I began eating again by the end of the month, yet still couldn’t face a large Thanksgiving dinner. My parents and I spent Thanksgiving on our living room couch, eating a meal together and renting a movie. It was exactly what I needed.

December

“Good day in my mind, safe to take a step out”

After allowing myself to face the past, I began to move forward with my future. I began my true journey of healing in November and have never stopped taking the necessary measures to better myself since. Mental health is hard, because you can’t physically see the pain someone is going through sometimes. I began to speak out about loving myself in attempts to inspire others. At the end of 2020, I turned my pain into power. I continued to model, putting my body in front of a camera and deciding it was time to love the person I see in the photos. December was relaxing, as I was home with the people I love and taking care of myself. I decided to stay home for my second semester of college in order to find a better balance within my mind and not overwhelm myself too soon again. I was blessed with the best friends I could ever ask for during 2020 and I can’t stress that enough. As cheesy as it sounds, everything happens for a reason. I was lucky enough to reunite with Wilson and better ourselves together as a couple. Most importantly, I found my tribe. Lexi, Gracie and Carson opened my mind to truths I have always avoided. They welcome hard conversations and remain brutally honest through them all. We love each other so much. If it wasn’t for the trip to the lake with Gracie and Carson in March, who knows where I would be today. At my worst, they showed me the best. AND LEXI!!! Lexi is my absolute life savor. She never once gave up on me and I will never give up on her. Lexi, you are the reason I pushed through 2020. Thank you forever. I have learned to embrace my true self for the first time in my life, and have finally found TRUE happiness. In 2019, I shared my individual lesson I learned each month. Honestly, I think the lessons from 2020 are pretty clear – with an overall lesson of never giving up on yourself. I don’t have all the answers yet, and I’m still a mess trying to figure out my way in this world – but I’m learning. 2020 shaped me into a strong, mature, and powerful woman, which I never really was until now. At the end of 2021, I hope to write of beautiful memories and happy lessons. Today is March 23rd of 2021, and I have finally decided to build up the courage to post my hardships. I’m proud of how far I’ve come, but I know there’s people in the world who still need a friend, or someone who will help them not feel so alone. I suffered a lot during 2020 – but as I’m typing this today, I already can’t wait to tell you all about 2021. January, February, and March of this year have been wonderful – more than I could ever imagine. I promise you, dear reader, that things get better. The past DOES NOT define you. Stay strong and keep pushing. GOOD DAYS will always come after the bad ones. I love you.

Autumn Cambron

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