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…

Created September 2019 after an Art Therapy session

Created September 2019 after an Art Therapy session

Impressions of Infinity

Her Story Matters