Over the years, I’ve had many accomplishments and many failures. Most of these things were in the same tasks, accomplished only by standing back up, beaten and bruised, and asking for more.
I’ve traveled extensively, met amazing people, and been part of spectacular projects. I’ve journeyed in and out of the science communication world, political activism, and non-profit work, and I’m proud of every moment of that.
At some point in my life, however, I had forgotten that mantra, the idea that you never give up if the goal is worthwhile. I let my failures stomp me into the ground and there I stayed, half-heartedly pursuing projects usually more due to my inability to say “no” when I know I can’t possibly succeed, and otherwise due to me inadvertently allowing myself to fail because I didn’t believe I could succeed anymore.
This past year, however, has been enlightening and full of introspection.
I was diagnosed, and at long last treated, for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. These are things I’ve struggled with my entire life without ever putting them to words, though today I refer to them simply as, “The Land of the Lost.”
They represent lost opportunities, lost connections, and lost confidence. They are the anchor that I’ve drug along with me for the past 39 years. Today, however, thanks to treatment and some lifestyle changes, that anchor is nearly weightless, and for that, I’ll be forever grateful.
It took a trip to a living hell and back, where circumstances forced my anxiety to become debilitating (on multiple occasions) to get to the point that I had to find out the cause and face it head-on.
Today, I’m feeling more like myself than any other point in my life. I’m excited for the personal projects I’m working on and proud to be involved in other projects I’ve been invited to. Above all else, however, I’m grateful to the vast network of friends and colleagues that I’ve become connected with over the years who have been there throughout all of these life challenges.
I’ve learned an important lesson. If you constantly strive to learn and grow and reevaluate how you define “self,” then every single day, you become a different person, a better person, than the day before, and THAT is life worth living.
With this, I also know that I owe some apologies. As I hit rock bottom, I found myself falling away from projects and commitments for people that I respect greatly and deserved more than my disappearance. To them, I’m deeply sorry, and I’ll work to remedy that.
So to my friends, my colleagues, and those fans who have stuck with my ever-changing world for so many years know that you’re amazing and valued, and let’s look to the future together.
There’s so much we have yet to accomplish. Let’s get started.