For a week, I was hallucinating as I fell asleep. It felt like someone was pressing me into my bed and gripping my wrists. I tossed and turned. It was distressing, but it passed.
I noticed stress rising in me as the pandemic continued.
Knowing that stress can lead to the return of my mental illness, I acted quickly. I talked to my doctor. I prayed before starting work. I walked. I ate healthier. I went to sleep earlier. I worked out. I called my friends and spent quality time with my boyfriend.
And guess what? My stress started to melt off my shoulders. I was laughing more than I was crying.
And even though things aren’t back to how they usually are, I have hope.
“Human life is a journey,” wrote Pope Benedict XVI in Saved in Hope: Spe Salvi. “Towards what destination? How do we find the way? Life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives.”
There are many people in my life who are stars lighting up my path. My friend Theresa, who died of cancer this past year, always had a kind word and a prayer for me. Clare, a dear family friend, was giving my siblings and I words of affirmation on her death bed – “You’re going to be great!”
I am so blessed to have true stars showing me the way. They are living and working alongside me. I am inspired by their leadership, service and acts of love. My colleagues, friends and family are making this season bright.
The star of Bethlehem was the brightest star that guided the wise men to find baby Jesus. If only I were there to see him in his Mother’s arms.
I will continue to look for hopeful pinpricks of light and remember the Christmas story. Let’s celebrate life because it’s the greatest gift we have been given.
Lisa Rumpel is a writer, speaker and mental health advocate. You can check out her podcast, The Resilient Catholic: Shining light on your journey to flourish with Mental Health, available on popular streaming services.