Bri 3.0

Last night, I was asked how I got started in blogging. Blogging, for me, has always been an outlet; I have always had million things going on in my mind and heart and when I write them down I am able to sort them out.

As most of you know, the past few years have been challenging. My 3rd year of pharmacy school I developed panic attacks as a result of a toxic work environment, the loss of many friendships and the stress associated with school. It was the first time I experienced them, although I had boughs of depression in middle school after a group of mean girls got their claws in me. I started exercising, taking medication and working on controlling my anxiety. After a lot of practice, about a year later, I was able to come off the medications and live, still afraid of panic attacks, panic attack-free. It was one of the hardest times in my life. I am an emotional person and I felt as though I had to suppress a lot of my emotions, live numbed down, to prevent the anxiety.

The last year of pharmacy school, I moved a lot and had some anxiety. I actually had to switch my rotations around because I started having panic attacks. I fell into a state of depression as I found hiding and numbing an easier coping mechanism. I also used alcohol to cope and have only within the past year really realized the dangers I face with alcohol. When I say that I was depressed, I was not suicidal or anything drastic but instead I went to work, came home and spent all of my free time on the couch watching Bones and other various programs. It wasn’t healthy. But I felt as though my last year of pharmacy school was my payment for a better future.

It’s extremely easy for us to see our goals and forget about the present. I thought when I graduated from pharmacy school, I would move, get an awesome residency and life would be so much better. But what I failed to take into account was all the time I wasted waiting for my life to get better.

When I accepted my residency in Boise, I was so excited. However, the long hours and lack of a good support system threw me deeper into a state of depression. I went to work, worked and spent almost all of my free time at home. I blogged here and there throughout these two years but not enough. I was recently updating my blog and realized all of the opportunities I missed simply waiting for my life to get better.

I met my ex-boyfriend, the one I “moved to Reno with” (we actually broke up before I moved here), and he, for the first time in a long time, pushed me back into the world. We went skiing, road tripped to hot springs; we went to Sun Valley for a weekend and spent a few weeks traveling around Oregon. Although our relationship failed, I had hope again.

I’ve read a lot of books about the Holocaust and I believe strongest thing we can possess is hope.

When I moved to Reno, I was full of hope, excited for my new adventure where I would finally have the time and money to travel and do the things I always dreamed of doing. I was shut off from the world for such a long time that I was open to any and every experience. I was sick of being depressed and numb. Unfortunately, I had a lot of negative experiences.

But I survived. I look at all of the things that have happened to me in the past 10 years and I am stronger because of it. I’ve learned that if you love and respect yourself, if you put good energy into the universe, good things will happen to you. And even when they don't, because bad things to happen no matter how virtuous you strive to be, you have the power to look at any situation, learn and grow from it and make something positive from it. It’s easy for me to look at the things that have happened to me and say don’t trust anyone, protect yourself, but that’s not me. I trust people the moment I meet them; I always have. I have such an amazing family that trust has always been one thing I’ve given freely. I’ve learned that trust must actually be earned and most importantly, I’ve learned to trust my gut. I did things against my better judgement and it always ended up biting me in the butt.

Last night, I was invited to the Atlantis to experience an amazing wine dinner, part of the Spirited Dining Series. The amazing chefs make a meal around different varieties of wine from a featured winery. I was nervous about the experience, as I am before every blog-related event, self-conscious about my photography and my influence, feeling undeserving, but a few minutes in I was having the time of my life. I met some amazing people, got a behind-the-scenes tour and remember feeling extremely blessed over and over again.

It was this experience that reminded me that I used to be a lot kinder; I used to go out of my way to make other peoples’ days better. But I fell victim to years of heartbreak and lost a part of myself. I lost my innocence, my belief in magic and love, my optimism and most importantly, I lost my love for people. I built a wall around myself, and as friendly and smiley as I always appeared, deep down, I felt no real connection to most of the people in my life. But that’s not how you should live your life; 100 years survived will never be equivalent to 30 years fully experienced. Life is simply not meant to just be survived.

I am so proud of who I have become but I still have work to do. I am no longer angry. I was so angry for so long over all of the wrongs in my life. But no matter what happens to me now I am rarely angry. I try to understand people and why they behave the way they do, try to rationalize their behavior. I see every experience as the journey I am meant to take and because of this I know I will always land on my feet. I have forced myself out into the world, keeping busy with work, friends and blogging. I strive to be better in every way that I can. I no longer use alcohol to cope and know my limits; I am choosey with who I let into my life but I try to give those amazing people I do have 100%.

Although I am happy with who I am now, I still have so many opportunities to give back, to be a better person.

So this is me – finally coming to terms with everything that has happened to me; my high school sweetheart’s deployment to Iraq, the relationship we had and lost after 4 years together, pharmacy school, residency, one year in Reno; it’s me accepting all of the relationships that worked and all of those that failed. It’s me accepting the ups and down that have made me into the person I am today. But it’s also me making a journey back, back to the big-hearted girl that used to comfort other children “Shhh baby, don’t cry. It will be okay.” I once said, unprompted, to a baby when I myself was only just a toddler. It’s my journey back to believing in the power love, magic and people; believing in the goodness we all have deep down within us. It’s me taking everything I’ve learned, all of the things that make me stronger, casting away the anger, anxiety, depression and hate, and combining it with the version of me that I loved and have since lost.