Life Will Happen to You, Build Your Bridge and Get over It.
In 2017, I did one of the bravest things I could. I moved from CT, cross country, to AZ in order to start a new job and a new life.
This isn’t the first time I had the get me out of here urge. I just picked up and left to start a new life in CA back in 2006. After a series of mental breakdowns and many phone calls to my therapist, I made the decision to move back six months later. A decision I have regretted since March 11, 2007.
Nevertheless, I buried myself in my everything happens for a reason mentality and moved on, but I never quite shook the feeling that I needed to be somewhere else. My comfort zone kept drawing me back to CT, while my discomfort zone kept pulling me in a different direction.
Here I am, 10 years later in AZ, and I am happy to say that I have made it nine months without any mental breakdowns (at least pertaining to homesickness) and only a few calls to my therapist.
Please understand that while I have not been breaking down on the outside, I am most certainly breaking down on the inside. The move was probably the most stressful thing I have ever been through, and I have been through some major stuff! I will try to put it in context, but I highly doubt I can do the situation justice.
After coming off a horrible year of unemployment, and what was probably the worst depression of my life, I was offered a job in AZ. Exciting, right? Well, I was asked to start my job in the middle of my move, a decision I later regretted. Due to my rushed schedule, my move was rushed, which made things much worse. The movers held my things hostage, stole my TV, and nine months later ,are still causing issues.
Work did not provide any comfort. In fact, it was quite the opposite experience. A disgruntled employee caused issues right away, and most of the people around me were far from welcoming. As someone who just gave up her life and everyone she knew to start fresh for a job, this was disheartening. I suffered even more stress than the previous year, which was so bad that it impacted my health.
I was losing hair, had horrible acne, weight gain, sleepless nights, mood swings, and to top it all off, I had to get a mouth guard because I was grinding my teeth down at night. Some of the friends I initially met when I moved have fallen by the wayside, making nights and weekends pretty empty. Work has consumed my life, which is adding even more stress to my plate.
No one person should ever experience that much stress at one time, ever!
My biggest challenge after all this was How do I move forward? One of my favorite sayings is “Build a bridge and get over it,” yet my bridge was just an idea in my head, with no planks in sight. Because of this, my whole identity changed. In only a few months, I went from victor to victim. I’ve replayed each event over and over in my head, wishing I had done things differently, or quite honestly, not at all.
If I’ve learned anything in life, it is that our mind controls our body, and most important of all, our life. I knew I had a choice to either stay in my mental rut, circulating the old stories over and over, or begin building my bridge.
See, when we choose to relive a moment, we release chemicals, which attach to receptors in your cells and begin to damage your DNA. In addition, you begin to create and strengthen new neural pathways that reinforce this thinking, which in turn (thanks to neuroplasticity) begins to change your brain. So much to process here!
And once you have reprogrammed your brain into victim mode, presto: instant anger, depression, and sickness!
I have done several talks about the fact that changing your mind doesn’t happen overnight. The repetitive nature of our thoughts can do some pretty significant damage to our mind and body. So simply thinking positive does not immediately change our lives. I compare this process to gaining weight. It is easy to gain weight, but taking it off is hard! The same holds true with our thoughts.
It is very easy to build those neural pathways because we feel victimized. We are hurt by events that happen and people who have hurt us, and so we condition ourselves to replay it over and over, programming our mind to think differently. In order to reprogram it to be positive, we need to feel positive. Not quite so easy when you’re feeling horrible, is it?
Like losing weight, it is something we need to really work on!
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or CBT) can assist us in thought identification, and replacing the old thoughts and feelings with new ones. Out with the old, in with the new! But this is only one piece of the puzzle. While CBT can help, you need to do the work. You need to want to change.
Every time a negative thought, situation, and/or person comes up in your mind, you must make the decision to think and react differently. Over time, your brain and body will become conditioned to the new you, and the behavior will become easier. Remember that like any change, this takes time, patience, and most important of all, consistency!
It has taken time for me to appreciate the amount of strength and courage it takes to go through one horrible event after another, and still get up every day with optimism and hope that things will get better. They do though. Even if it’s just as simple as being able to have a job to go to, a beautiful sunrise, laughs with friends, etc., I am grateful for everything.
I am grateful for my experience, I really enjoy my job, and despite being triggered from time to time, I know it all happened for a reason. Expressing gratitude, even in a time of hurt, can help you heal and reprogram your mind. Day by day, step by step, you will begin to get better.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint! And even if you may trip and fall a few times, all that matters is that you get up, wipe yourself off, and keep on running!
Jennifer L. Mezzio is a certified Yoga instructor, energy healer and life coach. In addition, she is a certified nutritionist and bodybuilder. Jennifer believes in the mind-body-spirit connection, and makes it her life’s passion to motivate and inspire others. She is currently in the process of starting a 501(c)(3), which will help raise self-esteem and self-confidence in victims of bullying. Jennifer lives by the mantra “There is no greater gift in life than giving back.” You could contact her via Balanced Wellness and Nutrition.