Last night I woke up shivering and sweating. The tips of my fingers were numb. I began to panic and cry and did not understand what was going on. Is this still PTSD?

Imagining I’m still happy and back in college doesn’t really do much for my current situation: alone, confused in the middle of nowhere with my parents. It’s really hard to build up anything for yourself in the middle of nowhere unless you want to raid a junkyard and create a house or metal sculptures out of decaying car skeletons and garbage (I’ve considered it).

Jobs pay little, people are isolated, there aren’t many options for building a community. Any friend I have out here lives at least 30 minutes away and has a completely different work schedule, which leaves me at a loss for what to do with my time besides hopelessly applying to jobs I’m overqualified for, reading as many books as possible, binge-watching Netflix (currently watching Big Mouth) and writing letters to my best friend, wishing he could be here with me, knowing it wouldn’t be bad at all if he were (today is his bday btw).

Considering I don’t really have the means to leave yet without making myself completely vulnerable to running out of money or possibly becoming homeless, I’ve been saving up as much as possible, except also paying off my student loans as much as I can (2 out of 8 down today!) I’ve also been ignoring it. I have friends – they just live on the opposite side of the country, or in other countries, or hours away, or they don’t ever hit me up anymore… whatever. I can get a decent job. I just need to move away in order to find one. I’m not stuck.

Ever since my sickness derailed my life, I’ve been living with the worst side effect of it all: PTSD (okay, definitely not the worst). I no longer have the motivation or direction I did before I was floxed. I peruse possibilities for some kind of future and I can never decide on one. I’ll jump from one idea to the next without ever really hashing one out or dedicating myself to finishing a project. I am too afraid to move forward, sometimes. I don’t know who I am anymore.

Is this also possibly a symptom of just being in my twenties? Yep, probably.
It just seems like I am less motivated and less of myself than I was before. I don’t have the people I loved to mold me and help me thrive in a world that seems to make sense less and less every day. I’m back in a place where I have never truly belonged or thrived. I miss college, but only because I was surrounded by good people and I grew so much.

Am I growing now? I’m not really sure. It seems like I am. I am uncomfortable and learning and growing and even though I don’t feel like I’m in the right place in my life to continue doing that, perhaps my time is not wasted.

When I first started PAing for Food Network, I mentioned to another PA that I felt like this wasn’t what I was supposed to do, like even though in theory this was good for my plans post-college, I felt like I was “wasting my life” somehow. Like I should be doing something else (but that’s all I wanted to do consciously, so it was a weird feeling). It just didn’t seem right. She told me that before that moment, she had gotten a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. She had worked doing different jobs. Even though at that moment she felt like she was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time, none of that time before that was wasted. “You can’t waste your life,” she told me.

“All of that matters. All of it is important. You are in the right place you need to be right now and you’re going to be okay.”

Goddamn that girl was full of wisdom (and still is – every convo I have with her is wild). I definitely don’t regret working for that production company because I worked with some of the best people ever. I was so lucky to meet that crew and make my first true friends in Los Angeles. Seriously, I love you guys. Without that first show, I wouldn’t have met some of my best friends and without PAing in NYC that winter prior, I wouldn’t have met another incredible person who got me the job in the first place. I am so very grateful for that year of my life and although I’m happy it’s over, I kinda wish it had lasted just a little bit longer.

Maybe I’ll feel that way about Now sometime in the future. I am so grateful for what my life has become, in a way. First of all, I have fully recovered (despite my mental rut), but also I’m spending more time with my grandparents, my cousins, my aunt, uncle, my parents, my brother, and his dog, Boots. This quality time is so precious and I need to relish it as much as possible. Even though Cipro took my life away, it gave me an opportunity to not only start anew, but to spend quality time with my family that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I was there for the birth of my cousin’s baby Basil and the death of my childhood dog Mellie. I was there for my brother’s A on his final and my mother’s Lupus diagnosis.

I have been there. That’s pretty amazing.

Waking up to my entire body shaking and an intense feeling of dread doesn’t make sense anymore. It feels like my sickness was a memory – a really shitty one, at that. It doesn’t feel right, but it doesn’t feel wrong either. Maybe my subconscious knows more than I do or maybe this is just a step to a brighter future.

I don’t know, but I should probably be less hard on myself and I know I need to push myself to just go… just go and do whatever the fuck my heart tells me to do.

Related Content:
PTSD and Travel | Untangled
Ten Thousand Days <- You guys, this one is really amazing.
A Confession | Danielle Writes

Follow The Barefoot Aya on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.