A Breakdown Felt Like *the End*, but Was Really the Beginning

Ending is another word for new beginning

Aimée Brown Gramblin
10 min readNov 29, 2020



Sometimes our life journeys feel hazy and unclear. A few years ago, I drove under a highway bridge and looked up. The sun was shining, strong and glorious through a crack above. There was just enough light to remind me that sometimes, often really, the big picture of our lives is not illuminated for us. Would you have the courage to take the small steps each day if we knew what was coming around the corner? The good and the bad? Marriage, divorce, births, miscarriages, new jobs, lost jobs, health, sickness, death, and more. We probably wander the earth in a constant state of helpless overwhelm.

We’re given just what we can handle, even when it feels to be too much. Mid-2019 through mid-2020 was a year in my life when the light dimmed, I became worried, and numb, and my mind began wandering with helpless overwhelm. In hindsight, I’d pushed myself too hard, ignored my physical and emotional feelings, and avoided some difficult choices.

In a type of swirling vortex, my avoidance began to push itself outward, saying, “Stop! Pay attention. You can’t keep doing this.” I pushed back and back, in resistance. I willed everything to be just fine.

July 4, 2019

I chose to work a half day at my garden job. It was quiet, hot, and uncrowded. I wore hot pink shorts and sneakers. Our garden needed some major cutting back, so I wandered around cutting back plant matter. It was serene.

Then, I felt something by my foot. I looked down and saw the beautiful patterning of a copperhead snake. My adrenaline shot up as I backed away, reached for my phone, and texted a supervisor to confirm the id. Yes, it was a copperhead.

It hadn’t struck. In fact, the few times I’d brushed into copperheads they’d been very docile. Still, I knew it was venomous and I felt exposed. It was scary. I drove to a family 4th of July celebration, choosing back roads to get there as I had anxiety highway driving. My adrenaline kept pumping.

Sitting with family, I had a beer, and talked. Then, a relative told a story about work that was very disturbing. The OCD intrusive thoughts started running circles in my head. I…



Aimée Brown Gramblin

Creativity Fiend. Writer, Editor, Poet: life is art. Women, Mental Health, Nature. Pop Culture neophyte. AOE founder. https://www.linkedin.com/in/aimeegramblin/