Saturday, February 27, 2010

"if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change"

Ok, so, slight change of plans...

As some of you who've read Denise's blog may have already found out, I've made the difficult (and at the same time, not so difficult) decision to stay put in May. This doesn't mean that I am not going on my international experience, rather, I will be departing in September. I imagine that this might be a shock to most of you, so let me explain:

I've been battling a great deal lately with some skeletons in my closet. They've been there a *really* long time, and I can't seem to get them to leave! Over the past couple of years, I've done what I could to manage them, but never really had much success. I've been in and out of therapy, leaving when I thought I had everything under control, and returning when I realized that I didn't. Nothing seemed to be working. I mean, I know that therapy for issues that have snowballed over the last 26 years are supposed to take a lot of time and work, but this was really difficult! (ew! I *hate* how whinny that sounds!)

So, on the suggestion of my therapist, I went for a psycho-educational assessment, which is essentially an IQ test, and focuses on such areas as attention, memory, reading, etc. My therapist seemed to think that perhaps I might be struggling with an undiagnosed learning disability. I thought he was crazy. But, I went for the tests anyway. Over the course of the two months of testing, I began to believe that I could possibly have a learning disability. I think that was more wishful thinking than anything else...hoping that there would be a *real* reason for all of my problems. When it came time for the results, it was explained to me that any presence of a learning disability was doubtful, and instead my academic and social problems stemmed from a clinical level of anxiety and depression.

Some people might be upset to hear those results, but I was actually giddy with excitement and relief! Even though I knew (to some extent) how debilitating my mental state could be, I always discounted it as being "not that bad", always comparing myself to others who suffered more than me. With this feedback, I finally felt like I could own what's been owning me for so long, and take control of my life. :D

One of the solutions that was offered to me was cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), something else I was relieved to hear. Lately I've been pretty hooked on the show "Obssessed" which, for those of you who don't know, highlights the struggles and therapeutic process of people suffering from anxiety and OCD. The therapy that these people go through is CBT, and it proves to be mostly effective. And, it was explained to me that this process could take between 2-3 months, so long as I am committed and focused.

This got me thinking about Beyond Borders and the fact that May is fast approaching. Initially I thought that I could squeeze therapy in before my departure, and be completely fixed. But as I came down from the high of hearing my results, I began thinking a little more clearly...could I actually go through intense therapy, AND get caught up with all my school work, AND make all my necessary preparations for Ukraine all before the end of the term? Would I be risking my own well-being by fast-tracking through therapy just to get on a plane in May? The answer seemed to be pretty obvious: I can't go and help others without truly helping myself first. But, at that point my biggest worry was what others would think. I didn't want others to judge my change of plans as a failure. Luckily I have a couple of truly special people in my life who were able to help me recognize that those were my own judgements of myself, rather than how others would perceive it. If I could be confident in my decision, then those that matter would be as well.

So, while my BB journey has been delayed slightly, my journey toward a new and improved Ti-nina is just beginning. I am so freaking excited, you have no idea!! I've always had glimpses of the *real* me in my head, and now I have the perfect opportunity to turn those glimpses into reality. Here I go! Wish me luck, and to all my fellow BB-er's, I am so proud to be a part of this year's group. I know without a doubt that I will have 100% support from each and every one of you, and that really is a great feeling. :D


  1. Tina, I'm so very happy for you. I'm happy for you mostly because, you have been able to find your starting point and begin your journey on discovering YOU. I'm still trying to find myself, so I can only imagine how exciting this will be! At least now Jenn will have a travel buddy from afar! I wish you all the best with your treatment :)

    p.s. I am OBSESSED with OBSESSED! It's an amazing show and its great how the treatment can really change lives.

    p.p.s. I looooove how you used a line from "Man in the Mirror" for your title LOL! MJ is my hero <3

  2. I was going to say that too: I LOVE the title to this post!

    And I love that you shared this with us. Some people might be embarrassed/ashamed (even though they shouldn't be), so I really appreciate your honesty.

    I'm so glad you've found a way to overcome your skeletons. You're such a beautiful young woman, inside and out, and I hope this journey will help you exude that beauty that I see within you!

    I wish you all the best, and I'm sure we will all be following your journey from now until September :)

  3. I've been thinking alot about this (obviously) and have realized that this decision is already a grand step in the right direction. you named the issue, prioritized and made the best decision for YOU regardless of anything, and especially anyONE else. it is so wonderful to see you go through this process and take action against the things that bind you in your life.

    The only thing in the world that is better than you coming with me, is coming home to a happier healthier friend! I'm so glad that you made this decision, and I am very much looking forward to your journey! You're gonna do swell, kid!

  4. Tina, thank you for this honest and amazing post. It takes a lot of strength to confront our issues, and even more courage to be able to put ourselves first sometimes/do things on our own terms. But you hit the nail on the head, the best way to help others is to help yourself first. And being able to recognize and accept this is definitely the opposite of failure. As far as I'm concerned, it shows tremdendous wisdom and strength.

    I wish you all the best in this part of your journey, and I am so glad that you are making this Beyond Borders journey your own. I can't wait to see what's to come! :)

  5. Tina, I wish you all the best, and place my full agreement with Cathleen, Raquel and Krista have said. Every word!

    It is, what seems to be, the right step towards your better health. I am extremely glad you have been able to identify it AND pursue it.

    Nev :)