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  • Writer's picturemayte lisbeth did I get here?

Current Location: My apartment in NYC

Here's one way I could answer this question.

I won't take you back to 1989 when I was born because that seems excessive but I do plan to backtrack a little bit for context. Currently, I'm sitting on my couch after taking a long walk. Sex and the City is playing in the background. It aged so poorly and I appreciate it anyway. I somehow ended up in a Marshall's and y'all...if I get Corona, this is how. I risked it all for some candles. Jesus, be immunity. But it felt a little normal and I'll take a little normal where I can get it.

But how did I get here? I think about this often. Sitting on my couch in my apartment wasn't on my 2020 Bingo card. But then again what was? At the beginning of the year, I was living in an apartment in the Bronx. I was renting a room in an apartment that at one point housed 9 people in 4 bedrooms - I was the only solo renter and there was one bathroom. I lived with strangers - I didn't know anyone's name, I had three locks on my bedroom door and one shelf in the fridge. I got some stories, y'all. I had so many travel plans for 2020 and the sadness I felt was just a creeping ache in the background. I loved my job but hated just about every other aspect of my life which ended up putting a lot of pressure on my job to do more than just be a job. I started Prozac in February (best decision ever but more on that later) a couple of weeks before I had a breakdown.

It sounds dramatic to call it a breakdown but I think to call it anything less would be inaccurate. I'm going to try my best to not lie on here. I ended up going on disability from work in the beginning of March right before the world shut down. I then spent the next 8 weeks in the worst depression of my life. Given that I've had depression since I was 15 (I turn 31 in a month), I feel qualified to make that assessment. I was living alone in this one room in an apartment with 6 other strangers and panic attacks helped me mark the time. I had 4 a day like clockwork. The fear of a panic attack was a welcomed emotion from the bleak sadness and darkness that I was otherwise in. My therapist was the only person who knew the extent of my condition and I talked to her twice a week. Then one day I opened my eyes and felt like I walked out of a fog. Well, it wasn't quite that easy but for story's sake, believe me. I realized that if I was going to be serious about being alive and healing that some things had to change and they had to change immediately.

I talked to my therapist and asked if she thought it was impulsive to get an apartment right at the tail end of a depressive episode. She asked me why I wanted to move. I told her I'd outgrown it there. It was hurting me to be there more than it's helping. When I first moved, I was escaping and survival was the only thing I thought of for years. I was ready to think of other things besides survival. She said it wasn't impulsive. I signed a lease the following week.

I moved on May 1st - two weeks from when I talked to my therapist about it, three months after I had started medication, two days after I came back to work after 8 weeks of disability. I moved with no furniture other than my mattress and my bed frame. And a lot of books. I mean, I didn't realize how many books I had.

I moved to an apartment where the only name on the lease is mine.

Where my life feels more blessing than burden even on the hard days.

Where every single thing in my apartment is something that brings me joy.

Pictured: a Philodendron Heartleaf plant in a clay pot on top of a bookcase next to a Chip (from the Beauty and the Beast) mug.

But truthfully, sometimes I look around and I don't know how I got here. I didn't know I'd be here in April. But I don't think I need to know the how right now.

I just know that I deserve this.

Drink some water. Wear a mask.


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