I think what has been life altering for me is losing one of my parents.
I think that when you have to finagle your way through life without one of the most important people to you, it naturally alters your life in a way that is unexpected. It’s a lot of growing pains. It’s an ongoing struggle and every day is different. I think every day I’m learning to cope in different ways. I think that it has brought me closer to my family, especially my mother and my brother who it think have dealt with the situation as closely as I have.
It was a sudden loss. My father actually committed suicide so that made it even more of a big deal because being a suicide survivor is one thing, and it being your parent is another. Losing him at a point in my life—I was 25 at the time, I’m 28 now—at a point where I feel like I needed him in ways that I didn’t expect that I would, I think that that has been very life altering for me. It’s taught me to really appreciate every day. It’s taught me the importance of my mental health, things that I didn’t think about before—self-care and self-awareness and making time for myself and setting boundaries that will help me to just be in a better mental space, that’s a huge priority to me now. Taking the time to reach out to friends and family and just making sure that I’m being supportive and letting the people that I have now always know that I’m here if they need me.
– Amanda Mcdaniels