It’s been about 2 months since I was deported from the Jungle of Costa Rica. I use deported because I was sent away, and brought back to my home country. It may be dramatic, but that’s how it felt at the time. I could also use the words rescued, because it was also that. I was in a pretty desperate state. On the outside I had everything together. A beautiful home, diverse community and friendships, I was teaching subjects I love in my 4th year at a private Christian school, I was active in my church that met on the beach and for dinner every week, after visiting an orphanage, I was in the process of taking a girl who was aging out, I was a partner assisting with several business ventures, traveling to new places, running a Joy in the Jungle Art House Airbnb where I hosted international guests and an open creative studio practice. I had created a lovely life and was holding it all together, but barely… I was hustling. Living in a paradise is a dream, but sometimes it was a nightmare.
I came to a tipping point in late July/August. I had a series of experiences that triggered a mental and emotional breakdown. The following is my best attempt to describe it in words and a painting:
my mind and emotions swirled like a hurricane
caught up in beautiful and painful memories I couldn’t quite make sense of
what if I … I could have… I should have…
shame, blame, anger, denial
grief grumbles in the pit of my stomach
sadness I fight to suppress rolls in like waves in a tropical storm
faster than I can swim against
I’m caught up in a riptide I can’t escape on my own
I can’t see clearly
I can’t sleep
I can’t eat
I am overthinking, stressing, feeling, and praying
searching google, you-tube, my sketchbooks, self-help books, the Bible for answers.
Depressed about my past, Anxious about the future, overwhelmed and lost in the present.
Everywhere I go there are triggers of my mistakes. I am responsible for so much. So many people rely on me and I can’t please them. Trying to make everyone happy and doing the right thing, I am so afraid I will fail. My schedule is full, packed to the minute.
I just want to let it all go, everything I hold on to… if I could just release it somehow….
crying, weeping, running, screaming silently as though I am drowning in an ocean of my own tears…
help, hELP! HELP! I was sending out an SOS! someone save me! louder and louder until someone answers. Nobody answers, and than so many answer. They ask how they can help, but in panic, I don’t know what to tell them. I don’t know what to do! I’m in over my head and my head is spinning. Call it what you want: burnout, PTSD, Mental Health crisis/Emergency. It caused everyone to emerge and see there’s something not right here. There’s hurt I can’t hide here. There is pain in my joy and I can’t pretend to be happy. I’m not happy. I’m not ok and I can’t keep pretending to to make others happy and keep the peace. I need to be done here. In the midst of trying to rescue the world, I was rescued. I was suddenly and divinely swept up and out of the scene… The story is unfolding…