Writing has always been my outlet. It is my way of venting, of processing…of figuring out what I am even thinking.
One side effect of this, however, is that I tend to write more frequently when I feel bad. The emotions during tumultuous times need to be let out…so I hit the keyboard.
Lately? Lately I have been feeling a lot better. Not perfect. I have noticed spans of melancholy and I can easily fall back into old, not-so-healthy patterns. But, overall, my need to write has been less.
Today, however, that need felt big again. I felt that overwhelming desire to get on my computer and start typing away. I have something to say.I have grown.
I have grown.
I am making progress.
For me, because I am the type of person that I am, growth is difficult to see. I expect perfection from myself…and, because that will never happen, I often convince myself that I am a crazy, clingy, nutty person.
So, for my own sake, I feel like I need to acknowledge how far I have actually come.
Acknowledgment #1: Therapy takes a lot of strength.
I started therapy in February of 2016. In March, I began the arduous journey of EMDR therapy.
I let a lot out in those initial weeks. Big things that threatened to burst out of me if I didn’t share them. Big things that haunted me until I had the strength to share them.
March of 2016 was the hardest month of my life. Past traumas came flying out of me. Anxiety won the battle, sinking its clutches into me. I couldn’t eat. I shed ten pounds in the span of ten days. I couldn’t sleep. I was sick and shaky. Hit by panic attack after panic attack. Anxiety coursed through my body, never leaving. At one point I couldn’t get off the floor and had to have an S.O.S. phone conversation with my new therapist, to keep from admitting myself to the ER and the psych ward. I hit the bottom…although, as time moved on, I became convinced that the bottom kept moving lower and lower.
Acknowledgment #2: I have never given up.
A few times, when I have been struggling, my therapist has told me how much she admires the fact that I have never given up. I have never stopped going to therapy and trying to move forward.
I have made lots of excuses to dismiss this. In my head, I thought that much of the reason I stuck with it was because of my attachment to her. Quitting therapy would also mean quitting my one support person.
The truth, however, is that I have started to see what my life can be like if I can put boundaries in place. If I can let the past go. If I can start to believe in my worth and begin to love myself.
If I can become secure in my relationships and in who I am.
The therapy journey has been fucking hard. There have been times, more recently, when all I wanted to do was quit. I got tired. I got sick of being “that person.”
However, I never gave up. I have kept going. Kept trying.
I want to keep going until I feel better…I want the freedom of being authentically me.
Acknowledgment #3: I am spreading my wings.
When I first started going to therapy in 2016, I had become scared of a lot of things. Anxiety can do that to a person. It makes innocuous events seem much bigger and intimidating than they really are.
In fact, at one point, I was terrified to take a 7 hour road trip with my family. In my head, I had convinced myself that we would die. A semi would kill us on the interstate. I was worried, sure that I would need to take an Ativan just to survive the trip without becoming absolutely paralyzed by a panic attack.
I had also made a decision to never fly again. My first adult panic attack happened on a plane. I could not be in that situation again. Ever.
A year and three months later? I flew on an airplane and spent half a month in Central America. This still blows my mind.
It is truly something I never believed I would be brave enough to do. When I got home from this trip? I drove that same 7 hour drive…BY MYSELF…roundtrip (for a total of 14 hours) without even thinking twice.
I am getting braver. I am conquering the anxiety and accepting it when it hits me.
Acknowledgment #4: My circle of support is more growing. And I am learning to trust.
A year ago, if you had asked me who supported me through my journey, I had one answer: My therapist.
There was a time, another low point–a more recent one (think March of this year!!)–when I truly believed that I would never NOT need my therapist. She had become so much to me.
She still is. She will always be incredibly special to me…it is a unique kind of loving relationship.
However, through the pain of learning to let go of her and reach out to other people, I have begun to let myself trust others. I have new relationships that make me feel more whole.
Do I still get plagued by insecurity? You bet.
Do I still convince myself, at times, that I need to pretend to be happy all the time, so that the people who I love might continue to love me? I do.
There is a big thing here though…I am starting to see my pattern. I can now recognize when I start to feel insecure. I can feel myself start to isolate…testing to see if someone else would even notice that I have disappeared. I can feel my anxiety start to build up when I need to say something I am too afraid to say.
I can recognize it.
And recognizing it means that I can change my self talk. I can change my actions. I can trust that I am okay just the way that I am.
Acknowledgment #5: I am not there…YET.
My last few weeks have been stressful for a variety of reasons. I am about to begin a new job. Stress is mounting to have everything figured out and perfect. I can feel the anxiety.
I can see problems in my marriage, ones that I am not sure how to fix.
I can see doubt in my mothering abilities.
I can still see that insecurity, when I want to abolish it all together.
I am not who I want to be…yet.
But, knowing what I know now…knowing how much I have grown already…how far I have come…it gives me great hope.
I may not be there yet…but you can bet that I will find a way to get there. ❤