Milepost 264.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in my beloved North Carolina will find you at The Lump Overlook, one of 195 scenic overlooks on the 469 mile Blue Ridge Parkway. Following a short trail up the hill, you can see for miles into the picturesque Yadkin Valley region. A plaque telling about Tom Dula (Tom Dooley) stands at the trailhead at the bottom of the hill. Wooden fences lines the hill and adds to the charm of the area. Beyond the hill, there is a narrow paved walkway, offering travelers and tourists a second opportunity to peer into the Carolina foothills. The scenery is lush and green in the spring, and alight with many colors in the fall. It is a place where snapshots are taken, and memories are made.
And for me, it is the place where I nearly ended my life.
In August of this year, I hit absolute rock bottom mentally. I have touched on this in previous blogs, but have never fully dove into it. I found myself to be completely frayed in my personal life, and in my work/creative life. I found myself constantly worrying and obsessing over everyone and everything in my circle. Even in doing things I enjoy, I still found myself straddled by the weight of anxiety, of uncertainty, of FOMO, the fear of missing out. It was completely wrecking my life. Being an empath, it can be very hard to tame your care for others down when you need to. And in my case, these feelings were like kudzu, covering every fiber of my being in a thick layer of choking anxiety vines and leafy panic. But I kept ignoring it. And ignoring it. And ignoring it. I kept lying to myself, saying I things under control, when it was gnawing-no, eating-at me, from the feet up.
Many times, I had visited The Lump Overlook in rides on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I remember vividly the view, and how sharp the drop-off was from the aforementioned narrow paved walkway down into the chasm beneath me. I had my mind made up. I was going to free myself from these feelings, emotions, worries, panics and fears by jumping from the overlook into the valley below. I didn’t care how long the fall would be, nor what I may or may not hit as this body cascaded into the valley below. I knew I’d had enough. I had reached the end of my rope. A running start and a leap into the valley from the overlook was going to be the solution to all of my problems, so I thought. But little did I know, a new beginning was about to meet my planned end.
I confessed my intentions to a handful of close friends, even going as far to admit I had begged and pleaded my own brother to drive me to the overlook, so I could carry out what was to be my final wish. Shocked and terrified they must have been, but judgmental and critical, they were not. They sat me down and identified what had caused this to build up, things I had wholeheartedly ignored. The stresses, the worries, the anxieties, the fear of not being present, the pressures of making sure everything ran correctly, and that everyone was appeased, both within the group and outside of it. They made a map of progress for me to follow, with careful and concise instructions going forward. And at times, it’s been damn hard to follow. Even now, I get that wrenching feeling in my gut that I should be present, I should have my sleeves rolled up and that I should be getting my hands dirty in the online network we are running. But I know that, if I was insistent, I’d just find myself right back at where I was, and I would have erased every shred of the progress I have made.
Instead, I take those wrenching feelings and tun them into knocking on doors, looking into options for mental health services, emailing potential therapists, and airing out these wrenching feelings to that same close knit group of dear friends. And apart from that, I am channeling those feelings elsewhere, into writing poetry and short stories, and in recent days, even going as far as submitting one of my poems for publication in a physical, hard-copy book! And I’m always looking forward to the future……..some of my early goals for the next year is to find a solid therapist, to visit some more dear friends, to write and publish a full book of my own poetry, and to take some of my music ideas and get them recorded, with the hopes of having at least an EP of my songs released by the end of 2023! Many bright things await me, and it all came when my end and my beginning met, at milepost 264.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway ❤
I hope this blog finds you well, and in the comments, talk a bit about how you’ve overcome those feelings of anxiety, the fear of missing out, suicidal thoughts, etc. Your feelings and stories are valid, and well welcomed and cherished!
As always, thank you all for taking some time to read this blog! Take care, much love, and may God richly bless
P.S.-Special thank yous to Renee Yaworsky, Diane Coll, Sandie Ingrande and Just Another Badass Warrior co-founder Em Farwell for taking me into their arms and helping me chart a course toward a better and brighter future for myself. Without their care and love and kindness, I do not know where I would be. Thank you ladies, from the very bottom of my heart. ❤ ❤ ❤