Truth is… I’ve been struggling.

I’ve been scared to make it public like this, but I’ve felt so strongly that it’s something I need to write about in hopes that it helps me and whoever else know that they’re not alone.

Everyone knows I recently moved to California to pursue my dream job. Everyone was so proud of me, and so amazed at all the miracles that happened in order to get me here. But not many people know that it’s actually been the most difficult transition of my entire life. Not everyone knows that I’ve experienced some of the most intense anxiety and feelings of loneliness and abandonment since moving here.

It all took a lot of faith, and those miracles really did happen to get me here. And my job is still a miracle and a blessing to me every day. But just like when Nephi and his family arrived in the promised land, there were still challenges once they arrived. And what I want people to know when they read this is that things haven’t been perfect. And just because I post pictures of happy moments in my life doesn’t mean that every moment is like that. I want people to know that I struggle just like everyone else, but most of all that I’m doing all that I can to fight through it.

I worry that not a lot of people talk about the loneliness and anxiety that comes to many after graduating college. It’s probably because it’s a time when so many people should be on top of the world because they’re free from homework and tests. It’s a time when people should feel successful and secure with their lives because of how hard they’ve worked the past few years of college. No one wants to admit that they’re lost or afraid because with a degree you should be able to get a job anywhere and be happy, right?

But for me, it’s been hard. I moved to a place I’d never been before, a place where I had no family or friends, started a brand new job, drove my first car to a place where traffic is constantly nuts, and to add to everything else… I fell in love for the first time just before I left.

When I got here, my apartment wasn’t as nice as I’d hoped. My roommates had their own lives and weren’t home very often. I took the wrong exists on the freeway and ended up on toll roads constantly, which made me not want to drive anywhere by myself. It was hard for me to be happy and focus well at work because I felt so alone and forgotten by everyone. And then I was afraid that they would fire me or be frustrated with me because I wasn’t focused or as happy as they thought I’d be. For the first time in my whole life, I was afraid to talk to people and meet people at church because I wasn’t confident in myself and I felt so different from everyone else. Driving to see anyone around here takes at least 15-20 minutes and it was just too scary for me to drive that far if I was only going to talk to one or two people at an activity. Getting up in the morning was so hard for me because I would wake up so anxious and afraid to face the day so I stopped exercising and taking care of myself. And on top of all of it, I missed my sweet boy so much, and I was afraid that he’d forget about me or stop loving me since we were so far apart.

There were just so things going on at once, and so many new things to adjust to, that it honestly turned into a psychic blow that I wasn’t prepared for or expecting. Every day, I’d come home from work and cry and just wish there was someone there to hold me and remind me how much they loved me and believed in me. I was constantly anxious that people were going to forget about me and that I was stranded in this new place all alone with no one to help me or love me.

Because of my childhood, I’ve had a fear of abandonment my whole life. I was abused and bullied as a child so I’ve always been afraid that people don’t like me or aren’t going to stick around because they’ll get sick of me or something. I’ve gone to counseling in the past to learn how to address it in different situations. And I’ve always made sure to make as many friends as possible wherever I went so that there were always people around me, and so I felt loved and appreciated and wanted by others. People always knew who I was and knew that I had a lot of friends, but they never knew that it was because I was too afraid of being alone.  

And now all of a sudden, that popular, energetic and happy girl that everyone knew really was alone and all of her fears seemed like they were becoming reality. There was no going back to school, no seeing my friends ever again, no family around to turn to, no more anything. Although none of these things were actually true, my fears and bad thoughts were creating a darkness around me that was so overwhelming I couldn’t function. I lost over 5 lbs the week after coming back from graduation because of it, and I just didn’t know how to go on.

 

I knew I needed help beyond prayer and reading my scriptures.

 

So finally, I started reaching out to people. I talked to my visiting teacher, my bishop, started seeing a counselor again, started waking up early to exercise before and after work every day, made time for the temple each week, and started planned something to do each day after work so I didn’t have to go home and be alone anymore. I asked for priesthood blessings constantly, started calling my friends that were far away to tell them how I was struggling, and just prayed and prayed for miracles.

I can’t say that I’m all better now, because I still have hard days. But every day is getting better. And it’s because I’m doing all that I can to change my mind and heart to believe in good things to come. Reaching out and getting help in whatever way I needed was the only way that I could push out all the negative and false thoughts that were overpowering me. And each day it’s becoming a beautiful learning experience, because I know that its making me stronger.

A friend of mine from school was in town for a few days and stayed the night with me this week. We told each other about how lonely things have been since graduation, and how hard it is to feel like we have purpose in our lives when there’s no one around anymore. It was such a blessing to have her here, but it was even more of a blessing to hear from someone on the outside looking in on my situation. She helped me realize that things weren’t as bad as I was seeing them. She helped me realize that just because things aren’t perfect doesn’t mean they’re bad or wrong.

 

Everything that I have now, and everything I’m doing has potential. And that’s exactly the way I need to see things now.

Potential is such a positive word. It means, “having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future, or, latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.” Everything about that word means good things are absolutely going to happen.

In my scripture study, all I’ve been noticing is the promise over and over again, “if ye keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land.” I’m sure Nephi had times after they arrived to this so-called promised land they had put all their energy to get to when he thought about all the riches and security and friends and happiness they had back in Jerusalem. I’m sure there’s a part of him that missed it quite a bit actually. But Nephi knew that God loved him, and that wherever God wanted him to be would bring him happiness in the end. Nephi knew that with God, all things have the potential for greatness. So he kept believing, he kept trusting and he kept being grateful for the little things. Even when he broke his bow, he believed that it just meant there was a better way to hunt that he hadn’t discovered yet.

I’ve been realizing more and more that God really does want our happiness. He doesn’t tell us to do things that will hurt us, or take things away from us because He wants to teach us to be humble and submissive. He wants us to have every desire of our hearts, and to make us something better than we ever could have imagined.

Satan on the other hand, wants us to worry and fear about the future. Satan wants to tear us down and make us believe that we’re worthless and unloved so that we don’t have the courage to reach our potential. He knows our greatest strengths, so he will do all he can to make them appear as weaknesses. Satan wants nothing but to stop our progress and make us give up on what we know is good, true and right.  

God’s direction, His counsel and wisdom will always lead us to light.

 

It is always powerful, good, hopeful and comforting. He believes in our potential and the only counsel He will ever give us is to help us reach it and find happiness through it.

I realized that these negative thoughts I was having weren’t from me, and they weren’t from God, but that I couldn’t control them alone. So as of right now, I’m doing everything I can to get better and be myself again. Right now, I’m reaching out to as many people as possible in order to know that I’m still loved and missed and thought of by others. I’m telling myself constantly, “In with the good thoughts, out with the bad,” hoping that eventually the bad thoughts will disappear again and sometime soon this place will feel like home.

So please, my friends… If you think of me, please tell me. If you miss me, please tell me. Or if you just want to call or text to say hi, please do it. Because I need it so badly right now.

 

One of the greatest things I love about the gospel is that it promises change and improvement, whether that be in ourselves or in our circumstances. It is an absolute promise that if we do the work needed on our end, things will improve and our hearts will change. So for now, I’ve gotta do the work and get the help I need to change it.

My bedroom and apartment can be fixed up, my relationships with my roommates and people around me can get better if I reach out to them, I can get used to traffic and learn how to navigate the road systems, my ability to work hard and master things at work is possible if I plan effectively, and although I can’t be with the man I love right now, he is constantly reassuring me of his love, and this time we have apart is going to be such a blessing if we use it to better ourselves for what the future could hold for both of us. California is my promised land now, and I know that God has led me and needs me here. So no matter what, things will improve.

There is always hope. There is ALWAYS hope.

If there’s anyone out there who’s felt the way I’ve felt or is going through some of the same things right now, I want you to know that it’s okay. It is okay to feel hurt, lost, sad, worried, afraid, or angry because things aren’t perfect. But what you decide to do with those feelings and thoughts is where your life will be led.

A few weekends ago at church someone said,

“It’s okay to feel like you want to shake your fists at God sometimes because of how hard things are. But shake them at God, don’t turn away from Him. If you’re facing God when times get hard, you’re gonna be okay. If you turn away, that’s when things don’t improve.”

I know that life is hard, that disappointments come, and things don’t go exactly how we had planned. But that doesn’t mean things won’t improve. Think positive. Seek the good. Reach out to the people you know love you and believe in you. Change the way you see things and the way things are will change. Do it for yourself, because you deserve it regardless of what you’ve done or been through.

As of right now, I’m just grateful for an affordable home and a bed to sleep in. I’m grateful for co-workers and managers who’ve been patient with my transition and learning. I’m grateful for friends who have loved me and proved it to me and supported me through every decision I’ve made. I’m grateful for a wonderful man in my life that is playing the best friend/crush role so well for right now. I’m grateful for a body that is healthy and a mind that is being healed. I’m grateful for a paycheck that allows me to provide for myself and serve others. And for so many other wonderful little things.

But most of all, I am grateful for a Father in Heaven who has trusted me with so much. I hope so badly that through this experience I can become more confident in His love for me, and truly believe that everything He gives and wants is to make me happy. My faith is already growing, so I know things can only get better from here.

Whatever you do, my friends, just don’t give up. And remember, light will ALWAYS overcome darkness.

 

You are not alone.

 

All my love,

Erin Marie

 

12 thoughts on “Truth is… I’ve been struggling.

  1. Felt the same way since april, and it has gotten better. <3 It takes time to adjust and it also takes willpower to step outside and look in and see the blessings for what they are. 🙂 The Lord is always taking care of us and guiding us. I LOVE YOU ERIN!!!

  2. Thank you for expressing what so many people experience! I was especially touched by your ability to recognize that you have the choice to do something about it- doing something that is in your control- exercising, and going to church. Every time we choose to go to church it tells our Heavenly Father, “I need you this week”. When you choose not to go you are saying to Him, “I’ll do this week without you.” Thanks for choosing Him.
    Xoxox

  3. Wow! I love how you just open up and tell us what you are going through. You are such a wonderful, exceptional person and friend to the whole world because what you share has to be great help to so many. I am grateful that you understand that you can plow through these dark periods holding the Lord’s hand. Don’t ever forget that He suffered it all and understands. And also know that things have a way of working out, like President Hinckley said. You can be patient. You can do and be so much, just looking for the good in yourself and the situations you find yourself. You are an amazing cild of God and I am so grateful I served with you and came to know and love you as you are and will be. God bless you forever! Sister Linda Kimble

  4. Erin, every time I pass a taco bell I think of you. We just made the transition to socal ourselves about 19 months ago. We live right next to the Redlands Temple. Although I know it isn’t a close drive, you are always welcome to come visit, have dinner and attend the temple. We love you and are grateful for the spirit you brought to our home on your mission. I may steal some of this post for my talk on self worth this Sunday. It’s brilliant. Take care and reach out if you are ever in the area.

  5. Having just graduated in July, I can definitely relate to how you feel. Life is tough, confusing, even overwhelming at times. In university you spend all that time, money and energy at school to develop your mind, body and spirit and then at the end it’s easy to question “Was it all worth it?” Truth is, just because we can’t see the picture right now, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to fit the puzzle pieces together. Some lady at church talked about how people often pick up a puzzle piece and then throw it down in despair because it doesn’t seem to fit anywhere. Yet if we just set it aside and focus on that which we can piece together, the rest will fall into place given more time.
    Thank you for your post. You are loved and appreciated. Your sincerity is heartfelt and your charismatic attitude to trying to understand and do your best in life is encouraging. Thank you for being one of my inspirational friends I can count on for sound advice. I know we are not super close, but you have made a mark on my life for which I am grateful.

  6. I struggled a lot after graduating, feeling lonely and not knowing how to feel fulfilled or what to do with my life. I know things have been so hard. This article is such an amazing reminder to yourself (and so many others, ME included!! 🙋🏻) that God is aware and loves us and good things are in store if we keep faithful. Love you so much, Erin. I hope you turn back to this post when things get especially difficult. Or call me!! Talk to you soon. 😘

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