I sometimes feel like there are things that my illness has “robbed” me of. It’s not easy to live a full life when you have months that leave you unable to get out of bed, let alone leave the house, meet people, and do the things you want to do.

When I did manage to get out and get moving, my fear of anything new or unknown kept me from taking the first step towards a lot of things. When I did jump into something, my nasty voice would add its two cents…usually causing me to give up or back down.

One of the things I felt like I would never have was a “career”. Sure, I was the co-owner of a small retail store – but it was family run, and that meant it was safe. There were no unknown co-workers to deal with, I didn’t really have to report to anyone, and it was comfortable and always there.

When we decided to close the store, that safety net disappeared. I had to jump in to the unknown – meet new people, go on interviews, and – horror of horrors – make phone calls (the telephone is my kryptonite). I would wake up at 2 a.m , fighting panic and trying to convince myself that I could actually do all of those things without retreating into a corner, or back into myself, like I had done so many times before.

And then – I did them. I fought through the anxiety, and made myself take those first steps. And the funny thing – the thing I hadn’t anticipated – was that none of those things caused me to fly into a panic. I did them, and I did them well. In fact, the anticipation was far worse than the actual event. In every single case.

For the first time in my life I feel like I can finally get out there and have a career (or, as I like to call it, a “big girl” job). I can step outside of my safety zone, and know that I have the skills to deal with whatever may come my way. It’s satisfying, exciting, and absolutely terrifying.

And I can’t wait to see what comes next.

About Jessica Wilson

My name is Jessica Wilson, I’m 35 years old and single. The single is (mostly) by choice, the 35 is not. I am mom to 5 furbabies, have become an avid runner, and own and operate a small business. I’ve been dealing with mental illness for as long as I can remember. I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety in my early 20’s, and continue to struggle with it or manage quite well, depending on the day. It very obviously runs in my family – my grandmother was bipolar, and mental illness can be traced back at least 3 generations on my maternal side, in various forms.

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