Good Girl Chronicles

Reflecting on Recovery: How Far I’ve Come

Stage lights shine on bright on my face. Dozens of eyes are staring back at me. Mic in hand.
Makeup on point.

“My name is Lauren Hope, and I’m the owner of a blog and business called Good Girl Chronicles.
I want to help people own their truth, live their truth, and share their truth. I’m your host for this year’s
annual Shatter the Silence”

It is happening. That moment I dreamed of as a little girl; being a speaker, traveling with a message,
living my life on my terms.

God is this what you meant? Is this what purpose feels like?

Standing in front of close to 200 people at the Attucks Theater hosting a regional suicide prevention
event called Shatter the Silence. This is huge. This is epic. Because one day many, many moons
ago, I never imagined life could have meaning again.
There were moments years ago where I thought life would always be dark. Deep in the confines of
a two year depressive episode, I remember days that waking up and seeing the sun brought me pain.
It was a reminder that more time was passing from who I was, and I was falling deeper into the reality
of who I didn’t want to be; overweight, lonely, suicidal, angry, frustrated, dirty from no showers,
exhausted, broken, hopeless.

Hosting Shatter the Silence was a reminder of just how far I have come in my mental health recovery.
And, it is one of many accomplishments that prove I am living and thriving in recovery.

The last 90 days have been the most trying, exciting, challenging, and unexpected days of my 2018.I have shared my story of surviving suicide at two Out of the Darkness Walks, suicide prevention walks by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I was selected to the Virginia Chapter Board of AFSP, hosted three successful events through my business Good Girl Chronicles. Raised money for several non-profits. Gone on about 5 job interviews in person and over the phone. I kissed a boy, and I liked it. I ran a half a mile. I have introduced myself as a business owner. Broke down in front

of a group of high powered women, then processed it in therapy. Got back up. Performed in a national show called This is My Brave. Took myself on a date. Laughed at my own jokes. Let myself exhale. Popped the anti-anxiety drug more than I would have liked. I asked for help. I worked the crisis plan. I fought for myself. I left the toxic job, then wrestled with the consequences. Been a voice for the voiceless. I’ve been a kick ass dog mom to one of the coolest pups on the planet. Stood up in the face of insults, gossip, and backstabbers.

In a nutshell —- I HAVE LIVED!

Why is this so big? Because if you read this blog then you know for two years of my thirties I was mentally and spiritually
dead. Lately I’ve felt God bringing moments of my past back to the forefront of my mind. Some days
it makes me sad, because I miss being a television reporter, sometimes I long for the love that got
away, I miss not worrying where my next paycheck is coming from, or being frustrated by how limited
my state health insurance is.

But most days I am astonished at where I am in my recovery . There was once a time in the darkest
days of my depression a simple phone interview often left me mute. I remember I applied for Verizon
wireless about 4 years ago. I sat on my bedroom floor rocking back and forth minutes before the call.
My mind was full of questions What will they ask? Will I respond OK? What do I say? I googled Verizon telephones, memorize the plans they told me to do before they called.” When the
call came I remember stammering over my words, sweat on my brows, warm heat covering my body.
I bombed the interview.

Afterwards I sat on the floor and cried. I was once a live shot reporter, did Hurricane coverage, chased criminals now I can’t even get through a phone interview for a sales job. That night I went to Taco Bell ordered as many things my stomach could handle,
(snuck out the window so my roommate wouldn’t hear) then sat up watching Murder She Wrote,
devising ways to kill myself the next day.

That was once my existence. So to do a job interview – to go to speaking engagements – to deal with the ups and downs of Iife, to ride out my mental health symptoms and get back on the horse on the next day is a huge fucking deal. Pardon my French but it is.

Sometimes when I’m in my car driving alone, I cry—-and I just thank God. Thank you God for giving me this second chapter. It is not like the life I had planned. It is not with the people I had planned. But IT IS MINE! I am living. I am breathing.

I am hopeful again. I can laugh again. I can dance again…. and I am trying really hard to let myself
be loved again.

I get back up when life knocks me down. I am at peace with my mental health medications.
I can taste food again. I see a sunrise sand smile in expectancy of a new day.

Life is hard. I am still grinding. I have not tasted my full harvest. But I have so much joy in my heart
because the once barren, desert, dry, empty place in my soul that thought death was better than living — is fertile again. It is year for the seeds of my next life story…. .
I am walking — I am alive.. I am living. This is what recovery feels like to me.

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