It's been one whole year, and yet here I am, and it seems like not much has changed. In some ways, I feel so strong looking back and seeing all the terribly difficult things that I've experienced in the last year, but in a lot of ways, I feel weak and somewhat overwhelmed moving forward. One whole year later, and I feel like I'm in almost the same place as I was when this started. Still struggling on and off so much. Still no baby #2. Still not sure what can help my broken brain or when we'll find that miracle medicine. Still not sure how to handle the most difficult days when they come. Still not able to do even a portion of what I used to do. Still spending hours in bed every week. Still struggling to accept that things are just different now. Still praying every day that my husband and daughter will somehow understand the deep hurt in my heart and know that I'm trying.
But as the tears well up in my eyes and my heart begins to sink in heaviness, I have to remember that I have made steps of improvement and progress. I'm exercising regularly now. I've learned how to simplify my life, ask for/accept help, and use my experiences to try to help others. I've given my all to finding joy in the most difficult circumstances. And most importantly, I've survived, even when that seemed absolutely impossible.
Through all the difficulties in the last year, I have seen countless miracles. I've had prayers answered in the exact way I prayed. My heart has been lifted by the wonderful family and friends I've been given. I have been the recipient of heartfelt, thoughtful service that has reminded me time and time again that God is aware of me and loves me. I have been able to come in contact with some of the most amazing people who have inspired me and renewed my desire to find joy in all things. My experiences have been able to soften hearts and help others understand those who struggle with mental illness. My testimony of the enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ has grown as He has strengthened me and enabled me to do more than I could on my own. And perhaps the greatest miracle of all is that, because of the Savior, I'm okay and I'm still trying, and I'll keep trying as long as this lasts.
Last week, I had a few days of small struggle (small compared to the weeks before). As I was laying in bed one day trying to find the motivation to get up, a thought came to my mind that has helped me to increase in faith and hope: "God's plan hasn't changed. This is His plan." It seems so simple, but this plain truth reminded me that it is my plan that has changed, not God's. He knew this would happen, so He placed people and opportunities in my path as part of His perfect plan. He knows that I can't do everything I used to do, and that's okay. I'm living His plan. He's the one that can help my sweet family understand and accept the changes that have come in the last year. He's the one who knows what I need and knows how to help me. He's the one who will give me the strength and courage to fight over and over and over again. And ultimately, His plan will help make me into the best version of myself possible.
If you're reading this, THANK YOU for all of the support and love you've shown in this last year. I never knew there would be any interest in the things I write, but this blog has grown so much, especially in the last few months, and I'm so thankful. Any little bit that I can do to use my experience to bless another person means that these months of struggle are not a waste and have a purpose. So thank you! I've learned so much from each person who has reached out to me during this time, and I feel like I've learned from each of you what it means to truly serve someone in the way they need.