Questions by Mei-Mei Mijares
M: What does growth mean to you?
L: Growth to me is a balance between constantly evaluating the areas in which I’d like to improve while also fully accepting where I am in that current moment.
M: I absolutely loved every description you had about your realizations in therapy. I’ve had a lot of the same experiences! How did you feel right after those AHA moments? Did you feel sad, or relieved? Maybe a little bit of both?
L: I definitely went through various stages of emotions. At first I was relieved when things began to click and I had a better understanding of the “why” behind my behavior. Anger quickly followed and that was the longest stage, for sure. I was angry at everyone involved in my trauma and I was angry that I was left to “pick up the pieces.”
Eventually I moved through *most* of the anger and found acceptance and gratitude for even having the privilege to go to therapy to work through these things.
M: What was your absolute favorite journal/article/quote/book (fiction or nonfiction!) that helped you on your journey? Do you still have it, and would you reread it?
L: I know this is a terrible answer to this question but I don’t think I have an absolutely favorite anything. So many tools have helped me on this journey so here are a few:
“If you don’t heal what hurt you, you’ll bleed on people who didn’t cut you.” - Unknown
"The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.” Oprah Winfrey
Getting Through the Day by Nancy J. Napier
The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
The One Life Hack That Changes Everything by Tamara Star. www.elephantjournal.com/2014/09/why-one-life-hack-can-change-everything/
M: I know there’s this feeling—I’ve felt it—where people with mental disorders/illnesses feel as if they shouldn’t ask for help because we feel like we lose ourselves by getting better. Did you ever feel that way, and after all the work you’ve done, do you feel more you?
L: I can’t say that I ever felt that way… I was so tired of feeling the way I did BUT I will say that now, when things are really good, I feel like something is wrong and things can’t possibly be that good. I’ve gotten better at accepting the good as it comes but it’s still uncomfortable at times.
So, to answer your question - I didn’t feel like I was losing myself by getting better but I did feel like getting better couldn’t possibly last because I was so used to feeling horrible. Some days I feel more me but it’s sporadic. I’m not yet at a place where I feel like I’ve fully embodied who I am.
M: What do you hope our audience learns and/or feels when they read this?
L: I hope that at least one person feels like they can relate to the rollercoaster ride that growth can be, while also feeling proud of themselves for embarking on the journey in the first place.
M: Reflecting on therapy, inner-work, and your journey overall, if you could tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
L: Believe that good things will come and once they do, believe that you are fully deserving.
M: And finally, what are you up to and where can our audience find you?
L: I’m currently spending a lot of time traveling to neighboring states, exploring my creative side through writing, cooking and creating digital content & playing tons of volleyball.
I’m mostly on Instagram @lesliejanice_