• Sandra Lee

2019 - The Year I Chose Me

Updated: Jan 1

2019. Wow.

It's so hard to even know where to begin.

Who was I at the end of 2018? I was scared, I was terrified. November and December of 2018 had created a shell of a person. A person who was nothing, just one human life simply fighting to survive. Honestly, I have no idea what I was protecting inside that empty shell. But

I fought hard to protect that fragile shell anyways.

I began 2019 by choosing to dye the under layer of my dark brown hair bright pink. I have no idea why, but it gave me a confidence boost that I desperately needed. A few weeks later, I became manic. This time, instead of doing something I regretted, I did something that has since empowered me: I had a design of my blog tattooed on my right wrist, symbolizing my struggles with PTSD and Bipolar Disorder.

When mania wore off, I fell back into confusion and uncertainty about my life. Psychotherapy desperately tried to teach me the worth of my mind, body, and soul; but my relationship with myself and the man I was seeing tore down every shred of hope I tried to adopt and draped the promises of change in despair and humility instead.

In March, I lost my soul mate. Adeline (Addie) was the reason I was alive. On more than one occasion, her presence had stopped the sharp steel knives from forcing forward into my flesh. Instead of getting lost in my wrists, I would get lost in her fur instead. I would let her comfort me until I could breath again. But now, she was gone.

I felt I had hit rock bottom. My shell was not only empty, but now it was cracked. It was missing a piece and without that piece, nothing could stay inside.

In April, I went to Minnesota to visit my best friend. There we saw a psychic and I experienced my first reading. The psychic cards gave me guidance - a plan of which to follow. I didn't much believe in stuff like this but what could it hurt to follow? The last card was freedom. And only then would I find out and know who I was truly meant to be.

In June, my real journey started. Like the cards had said, I was forced to choose a path. I chose the path I was most unfamiliar with and most terrified to choose. I chose me.

I set out on my own to find an apartment with little money and a horrible credit score which was complicated by the six animals I had also committed myself to. Thankfully, we found a small studio apartment and within a week, I was moved in.

I could go through my journey month by month but that's not what this is meant to be. This is meant to show the transition - the journey from fragility to pure strength. June 17th was the day of my first triumph, the day my road to recovery finally became MINE.

"Psychology always says to go with the choice that scares you the most, because that's the one that is going to help you grow."

My triumphs of 2019, how 2019 became MINE.

Personal Life Journey

"Stay away from people who make you feel like you are hard to love."

  • I had previously gone from vegan to meat eater in my last relationship to make my significant other happy. Now...I have spent 4 months vegan! Until every cage is empty. Compromising is necessary in all relationships but compromising my values and beliefs is never okay.

  • I began the year in recovery from 3 pelvic fractures, unable to walk without crutches. All 3 have since healed! In September & October I suffered fractures to my right foot which are still healing but any improvement is still an improvement!

  • I lost two of my beloved bunnies early in the year - Tanger & Adeline. But I was able to open my heart and home again- welcome Chester & Pinot. Both came from Nashville, TN from a hoarding confiscation. Chester is older & blind and Pinot only has 3 legs!

  • I may have once kept on walking, thinking there was nothing I could do....but this year, I rescued a scrawny old cat (Buddy) off the street, took him to the vet, fostered him for a little over a month until I found him a rescue, and they found him his forever home!

  • I finally got my hair to grow the longest its ever been! (Down to my butt!)

  • I added 3 more tattoos on my body. The first was the tattoo mentioned above (pictured below). It signifies my battle with PTSD & Bipolar Disorder - and is a representation of this blog! The second and third are below, both done with my best friend. The second is a song both my best friend and I woke up listening to. Her and I have always connected because of our traumatic pasts. The third states "I'll be your wings." because we will always be there, no matter how far.

  • During my darkest times in November 2018-January 2019, I would spend hours coloring and bullet journaling. As my life transitioned, I moved away from this and began to slack with what didn't seem "as important." I've come to realize just how important this is and throughout December 2019, I've made self care one of my top priorities.

  • I rescued an injured bird off the street and carried him around with me until I found a rehabber! (Much to my doctors dismay, he even had a psychiatrist appointment!)

  • I made the huge step to end a relationship that was harming me, a relationship where choosing myself was impossible and my mental health was suffering. I began another relationship unexpectedly and although it took a different turn - this person quickly turned into what I will always consider a life friend.

  • I survived.

Physical Fitness Journey

"You must expect great things from yourself before you can do them."

  • I ran my first 30 mile run ever!

  • I ran my fastest mile ever at 7 miles 4 seconds.

  • In January 2019, I couldn't run at all. By September 27th, I had spent the last 6 weeks beating every time I could - I completed a 30 mile run, a 26 mile run, a 21 mile run, a 17 mile run, another 17 mile run, and 3-13 mile runs.

  • I made the decision to dive back into home workouts to compliment my running which was great for building more abs/arm/back muscle! (Currently on pause due to my broken foot).

  • Previous to vegan eating, I was gorging on all the wrong things. Plant based eating has been a key essential to keeping me at my peak.

  • I lost 17 pounds, hit my goal weight, and I have managed to remain within 3-4 lbs of my goal weight at all times since March!

  • I survived.

Mental Health Journey

"You cannot heal a lifetime of pain overnight. Be patient with yourself. It takes as long as it takes to rebuild yourself."

  • I attended 168 therapy appointments this year.

  • I dared to trust someone.

  • I tried exposure therapy for the first time!

  • The list of drugs I tried this year is LONG: -Lamictal -Lithium -Tegretol -Wellbutrin -Risperdal -Seroquel -Ativan -Provigil -Latuda * But through this list, I think I've found my perfect combination: -Lithium, Latuda, Ativan (PRN), & Provigil!

  • My self care became my #1 priority. (Yes, it needs to be said again!)

  • I finished the Handbook of PTSD.

  • Recovery is a journey, you define your finish line.

  • I survived.

2019 began with the journey of a girl carrying an empty shell that transformed herself into a beautiful woman with an overflowing shell that sprinkled on others as she danced.

2019 has taught me I have the ability to influence and impact the world in so many different ways. My only goal in 2020 is to finally take those steps and BE THE CHANGE.



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