Lindsey Comer

TN Reconnect Student

I was never a career-driven person. I always imagined myself being a stay-at-home mom and though I had opportunities to pursue a career, I honestly didn’t see the point because my dream was to be a mother. Then my dream came true in April of 2017 with the birth of my daughter. Unfortunately, the dream turned into almost a nightmare with the presence of postpartum anxiety and PTSD lingering around every corner. While I was incredibly grateful that I got to spend the first few months of my daughter’s life with her at home, I felt like I was drowning. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make my way back up to the surface to catch my breath. That is, until I went back to work. Work was where I found myself again.  I was no longer just someone’s mother, I was Lindsey. I was a strong, independent woman who could do my job well. It was then I knew I needed to rethink what I wanted to do with my life.

Before I could wrap my head around making life-changing decisions, I had to focus on my mental health. You can have all the willpower and determination in the world, but if you suffer from anxiety or any other mental health disorder, they can stop you in your tracks like a brick wall. So I sought help. I started seeing a therapist and going to weekly (sometimes twice a week) sessions. I also started taking medication for my anxiety. And when one didn’t help, I tried another, and another until finally, I found one that helped relieve some of my symptoms. I sought support from my friends and family who were understanding and who I knew would root for me no matter what. While I know I will always have to cope with my mental health, I finally got to a point where I felt I could push myself to be the person I wanted to be.

I had been working as a veterinary assistant for years but was never interested in going back to school to earn my degree and becoming licensed. However, after realizing I needed to change something in my life, I started to think about it more and more. At the time my husband was just finishing up his engineering degree. Going to school and working while caring for a newborn at home is no easy feat. I know he felt an immense sense of relief and pride when he walked across the stage at his graduation. I know I did. It was then I started to feel like it was my turn. I wanted to feel that pride in myself. To know that I can push myself through whatever it takes to reach that finish line. But of course there’s many obstacles that get in the way. One of them being the dreaded money concern. Fortunately, I found out that I was eligible to receive the Tennessee Reconnect Grant. Knowing that this one obstacle was disappearing made me feel like my dream was even more achievable. So I decided to take the leap and I applied to Chatt State.

A year into going back to school and I’ve never regretted my decision. Chattanooga State has been great and every semester I’m so grateful for the Tennessee Reconnect. Yes, it’s been difficult balancing school, work, and family, but I know it won’t last forever. I know in doing this I will be setting a good example for my daughter. I hope that one day she’ll look back on what I did and be inspired to push through any challenges she may be facing at the time.