A month ago, I remember putting my hand over my heart; I could feel it racing, pounding, and skipping beats. It was worn and tired, and so was I. The weeks leading up to that moment were brutal. For six weeks, I was lucky to get four hours of sleep most nights, and all my waking hours were spent stressed and working intensely for finals. Most days, I didn’t really talk to anyone and I skipped meals to accommodate more working hours. Ultimately, I was running myself into the ground. And I didn’t care.
But then came that moment, when I realized my heart was struggling from the stress. A long night in the emergency room made me stop working for the first time since March, and forced me to be still and reflect on my actions. I stared at the monitor that showed a heart that was trying so hard to slow down, and I thought about how cruel I’ve been to it.
It’s been an extremely hard year. I would love to sugar coat that statement, but I owe it to my aching heart to be truthful. Since June of last year, I’ve encountered so many challenges that truly took their toll on me physically, mentally and emotionally. I’m very tempted to say it was the worst year of my life. And instead of dealing with it, I pushed myself to work to the brink of exhaustion; overachieving at school was the only outlet this restless soul had.
During the year, I frequently whispered a desperate prayer: “Lord, grant this weary heart rest.” Yet, I refused rest when it came my way. Because I knew that to rest meant to heal, and I didn’t feel ready yet. It was so much easier to ignore dealing with the scars that made my heart ache and race with fright. But I realized there was no escape when my heart quite literally told me how tired and weary I was, and that it was time to have rest. It was time to start feeling better.
Today, I put my hand over my heart; what I felt was a gentle and steady rhythm. Four weeks is a very long time ago: Since then, I’ve been at home and been so lovingly cared for by my parents. For the first time in months, I can rest privately, and I’ve benefited from the restorative powers of sleep. I’ve gotten to enjoy the warm weather and let the sun kiss my face. Every so often, my best friend comes and takes me out to my favorite places. I don’t venture out too often at the moment though, because I’ve found such comfort in the refuge of the peaceful quiet of my home. Just last night, I picked up some colored pencils to draw for fun for the first time in a year.
I’m happy. And for the first time in a while, I feel hopeful. There’s so much I’m looking forward to this summer. I’m glad that I’ve finally gotten time to recover, and fill up my cup again. I want to start writing and drawing again soon, because I’ve missed those things so much. And I’ve found myself moving away from the things that once hurt me, and becoming closer to the ones who helped me through it. My heart still sometimes beats quickly, but it does so with the strength training I’ve taken up so I can feel stronger than everything that’s happened.
I’m healing. I’m happy. And I am hopeful.