If 2017 was a book, then based on the cover it was all about me living my best life. I bought a house. Graduated Summa Cume Laude. Took 7 trips. And oh yeah, I got married! But digging into the context of each chapter, you’d find that it was also a year of growth and adversity. After dealing with Tommy’s incident last September, the entrance into 2017 was despondently tainted. I came into the year fighting an illness. Never being diagnosed or treated I say with only my own conviction that that illness was Depression.
I had tea with my friend Amin in February. We had always been very close but our friendship entered a new level of intimacy when he dealt with the passing of his mother and I dealt with Tommy’s hospitalization. Amin is a superstar of a human being, if there ever was one. He’s excelled in his academics and professional endeavors his entire life and when his mom passed his world came to a standstill, as can be expected. He told me he found himself uninspired, unmotivated, and unhappy. After doing a lot of reading and therapy he discovered he was suffering from being Burnt Out, which was a form of depression. He talked to me about all the signs that clearly pointed to this and all the factors that led up to it. Suddenly through Amin’s experience I was realizing the depths of my own despair. Our conversation sparked a devotion in me to face this incendiary illness that was damaging my health and well-being.
I spent the majority of 2017 attempting to revive myself and I won’t lie, I failed a lot. On the anniversary of Tommy’s incident we stopped at his parents house to discuss wedding invitations and as soon as I stepped into the house I began having a panic attack. I had flashbacks to the first night we were home from the hospital at his parents house. I helped him take his first shower that night and just as we were about to get out, he fainted. It was one of the scariest moments of my life. We spent that night back in the ICU where the doctors told us that fortunately, the fainting spell was just a reaction to his medicine. Not even a month later I woke up in the middle of the night to Tommy sitting straight up on his parent’s couch. We always slept on his parents couch because during his recovery, Tommy had a hard time walking up and down the stairs so we couldn’t sleep in our room which was on the second level. When I asked him what was wrong, he told me he was experiencing chest pains. I jumped up and rushed him to the hospital at 2 A.M. The chest pains he experienced ended up being a mild heart attack. We were in the hospital for another 2 days. The flooding of these memories overpowered me and I began to cry uncontrollably. Thankfully his parents weren’t home yet to witness my breakdown. I told Tommy I needed to go home right away and couldn’t do the wedding invitations anymore. He had a hard time understanding what was wrong with me and honestly I had a hard time understanding it myself. I’d never experienced anything like this before – being triggered back into the darkest place my soul knew just from simply standing in the room where the memory took place. Through my anguish I was learning so much about the power it had over me.
Of course not all days were like this. Most were much much better. And in typical Amy fashion I got through a lot of the darkest days by writing and talking about it. I talked to God. I talked to Tommy. I talked to my sister, my mom. I read a lot of stories written by people who experienced loss and grief and cried. I watched a lot of YouTube videos of adopted kids meeting their birth parents and soldiers returning home to see their wife and children and cried. I watched sappy movies and cried over the protagonist character missing out on the love of her life to follow her dreams as a writer in NYC. I cried because each of those people and each of those feelings were me. If ever I’d doubted I was an Empath before, suddenly now I had no doubt. I know now what it really means to put yourself in someone else’s position even if you don’t know them and allow yourself to feel what their heart feels. And let me just say that was the best schooling 2017 and any Year before it could have ever taught me.
I’ve decided to call 2017 the Year of Greats. There were great trips, great accomplishments, great love stories, great family, great friends, but most importantly great lessons with a greater purpose.
January – Philadelphia/ Washington DC Trip For Tommy’s Birthday
February – Boyz II Men Concert
March – Trip to my Two Rivers / Ariana Grande Concert / Closed On Our New House!
April – Trip To New York / Trip To Dallas
May – Engagement Photos / Shot Country Music Video With Bridesmaids
June – Mekong Night Market / Lee & Choua’s Wedding
July – July 4th at the Lake House / First Time Watching Fireworks In Our New City!
August – Tommy’s Bachelor Trip / My DFW trip to visit Winnie / Bridal Shower / Nephew Max is born
September – Housewarming / Jay R’s Wedding
October – Bachelorette/ Birthday Trip To Nashville / Matt Steffanina’s Dance Class
November – Wedding / Honeymoon In Tulum
December – Graduation / Christmas