The last 5 years have been extremely trying. I’ve had to deal with more than I ever imagined I would, and at times thought it would never get better. I spent hours upon hours upon hours crying my eyes out. I have felt helpless, and hopeless. I’ve felt anger and sadness. I’ve suffered through many panic attacks and raging depression. After a couple years trying to pull myself up with not much success, I began seeing a therapist. With her help, I learned a lot about myself, and other people.
My therapist has helped me make sense of much of what I was feeling. With her guidance, and my hard work to meet her challenges, I can finally say that my life is getting back on track. I don’t think I could have done it without her help. You may think these things are a “no brainer” but when you have been raised a certain way, treated a certain way, and had to deal with so many issues, it tends to overwhelm a person!! You sometimes lose yourself while trying to process things, and some things are shoved under the rug because they are too hard to deal with.
Some of the things I have learned along the way are:
*I have learned that the guilt and shame that I carried for so long, was NOT mine to carry. I am not responsible for the actions of others, and I have made peace with events of the past.
*I have learned to set limits and create boundaries. Just as I don’t allow just anyone to come into my house, I cannot allow just anyone to enter my mind, and my life and drain me of my energy or place unwanted expectations on me. I do not have to allow negativity from others to bring me down. I do NOT have to engage in their drama.
*I have been a caregiver for all of my adult life. I have always put everyone else’s needs above my own. I put my needs on the back burner, thinking they were not important. I have learned that it’s not selfish for me to take care of ME! My needs are just as important as anyone else’s!
*I am a logical thinker. I’ve learned that if I can’t make sense of something, in my mind it’s hogwash. I get along with those who are like-minded. I don’t mix well with people who do not think for themselves. I don’t understand people who follow anything blindly.
*I’ve learned that there are certain people whom I cannot help simply because they won’t help themselves. I can’t keep throwing them a rope and letting them pull ME under! Some people are emotional vampires, draining you of all the energy you have. It’s ok to take a step back (or several) and protect yourself! I know I don’t have to let them drain me anymore! (This goes back to setting limits and creating boundaries, as mentioned earlier in this post.)
*I’ve learned that my thoughts, my opinions are just as important as anyone else’s. All through my childhood, my mother stifled me. I was ridiculed for voicing my opinion, for asking questions, and for asking for what I needed for ME. I may still keep my mouth shut at times (because even though I have the right to say it, doesn’t mean I should) but I no longer let the fear of what others think, keep me from using my voice.
*I’ve learned that I can forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made in my life. We aren’t handed an instruction book when we first venture out on our own, when we enter a new relationship, or when we begin having children. We have no clue how to do it, but yet we figure it out along the way! We make mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes are small and sometimes they are huge, but we learn as we go and we have to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we have made or we will drown in the “shoulda-woulda-coulda” mentality.
*I’ve learned that others will never understand my chronic pain if they have never experienced chronic pain themselves. I can explain until my head explodes but they won’t understand that I can’t do the things they think I should be able to do. They don’t SEE anything wrong with me, so they think I’m just lazy. They can’t see how tired I am, how much I hurt, or that I’d just like to crawl in a cave and never come out again. I don’t have to explain anymore. I’m good with whatever they think about me. I just pray that they never have to experience chronic pain themselves! (If you need to understand chronic pain, a good place to start is with “The Spoon Theory.” Google it. There is no better way to understand than this.)
And last, and I am definitely not finished learning….
*I’ve learned that you just can’t fix stupid!! I get so irritated with people doing stupid and inconsiderate things that I could just pull my hair out! I am still working on this one, but I’m getting better at just letting it go!! I let things get to me too easily sometimes. It seriously affects my mood when someone pulls out in front of me on a busy road, or when someone zips through a parking lot right behind me, even though I’m already half way out of my parking spot, or when a group of people are having a “reunion” of sorts in the store blocking the entire width of the aisle. When you approach, they turn and see you but still make no effort to move over so you can pass through! UGH. I could go on and on….. These things aggravate me to no end. I always try to be courteous and watch for others around me when I’m out and about. I know they have things to do just as I do. So, why don’t they behave the same way?
All in all, my life may be a bit difficult but I am moving forward. I continue to see my therapist and work on my issues. I use to think “I will never see a shrink because I can’t talk to a stranger about personal things! That’s what friends and family are for!” Well, I was wrong for thinking this way. Yes, it’s good to talk to friends and family but some things are too deep and personal to share with them! Sometimes, a complete stranger can see things more clearly. A trained therapist can actually help you figure things out!
Debbie, as I read this I couldn’t help but see myself in all of this as well. We seem to have very much in common. I am glad you are continuing therapy. It takes a brave and strong person to do what you are doing and don’t forget that…ever… hugs xxxx J
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Thanks, Jamie! It’s really hard writing about these things! But they say to write what you know and the biggest thing I know is my life…being me, Aunt Debbie! Thanks for your support! 🙂