So today is the one-year anniversary of my last day at the step-down I went to after Menninger. It’s weird, looking back on it; I had only a few weeks earlier decided that I wanted to stay in Texas, and just a week after that found an apartment; I had spent several days prior to my last day preparing my new apartment so that it would be ready for habitation after I left the step-down. I think that, honestly, my biggest worries at that point weren’t what I was going to be doing with my life after leaving the step-down, but whether or not the new bed I had bought at Ikea would hold up. I had no job, I had really only vague ideas of what I wanted to do, and everything was still very confusing.
Now, I have a job – not a great-paying job, but one that keeps me busy, and has good people to work with. I volunteer at a local chapter of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), I am applying for training as a Certified Peer Specialist, and when admissions open up, I’m going to apply for the MSW program next year for the University of Houston. I have lived on my own for an entire year, something that worried me at first (and I think may still worry my parents) because I need social contact, and living alone can make it easy to avoid that – but I see several of my friends regularly, and I talk with several more by text, e-mail, phone, or internet chat. I learned how to cook, and I keep my apartment clean – sometimes eerily so. I found some cool decorations, and a new direction I want my life to go in. I’ve gotten closer to some friends, farther from others, and sadly have even lost one.
But a year has made a lot of difference in my life, and while some of it has been hard to get through, I think that a lot of what I learned at Menninger and the step-down – and what I continue to learn from my own reading and education – has made it much easier to cope with things that, before coming to Houston, I thought were completely unmanageable. I’m not saying I’m a huge success story – even though I feel like it, a year isn’t all that long – but I think what I have made is a pretty promising start, and is proof that there ware ways that things can get better. It’s very hope-inducing for me, especially since, two years ago, I wouldn’t have thought that hope was ever something I could aspire to.
Here’s to hoping I have many more anniversaries like this.