I Don't Know How To ....
FROM JULY 5, 2022 (MOVING BLOG TO WEBSITE BLOG)
... trust myself again. And I am finding this feeling completely terrifying and paralyzing all at the same time.
How do I do this?
How do I trust that I will listen to my gut? That I will pay attention? That I will not just let someone new in to the innermost parts of my being? I don't know how to do this and I'm finding this feeling incredibly overwhelming.
On Wednesday, I had one of the toughest counselling sessions I've ever had. I really like my counsellor as she doesn't make me re-live trauma and I feel like we have a great connection. I don't find myself censoring what I say - the words just flow - and it's a fantastic feeling. It's also kind of unnerving to have only had my 3rd counselling session and she is saying things about me that my friends have said for years!! Like seriously .... how does she know I'm a giant mush-ball inside? How does she know I want the fairy tale? How does she know that I feel everything SO FUCKING BIG?
I asked her these questions and her response was simply - "I listen. I listen to your words. I also listen to your body." Ugggghhhh - really woman - you're better at listening to my body than I am and I've known you for 2.5 hours and I've know my body for almost 47 years!!! So how do I learn to listen and how do I learn to trust ME again?
There are so many things I am trying to reconcile right now that my anxiety has been pretty bad. At reiki today, Olivia told me that she had to spend the majority of her time over my heart and in my belly because there are just so many emotions swirling around that she wanted to help calm me down especially before I head off to St. Louis next Tuesday. She definitely did that and I feel a kajillion times calmer than I did this morning when I walked in to my appointment.
We talked for quite a while about the healing process and honouring where I am at rather than trying to rush through it. She said there is no time line for healing and that I WILL get to a place where I realize, "hey - I am good. I am so incredibly good. Wow. Does this ever feel amazing?"
We also talked a lot about self-worth and self-acceptance. I am still working on my definitions of these things in another post that will be up soon - in the meantime though, I needed to work through this one and tackle this whole self-worth struggle I feel I am constantly pulling the layers off of.
At my counselling session last week, my counsellor said to me - "why don't you believe you are worthy of the fairy tale? THAT is where we are taking you. To the place where you finally believe." It just hit me so hard. Like a massive punch in the gut and I had a hard time fighting off the tears for most of that evening. Later that night I was at dinner with my folks and my mom was sharing a story from when I had first left my marriage and she used the words, "I hated you then ...." She didn't hate me for leaving me my marriage and the point of this post is not to reminisce in the reasons she felt that way. It was just so interesting to have my counsellor talk of me not believing I'm worthy of the fairy tale and then my mom share this particular story.
I am not quick to the replies in conversations - it's just not something that has come easy for me. A huge part of my delayed response is that I am VERY particular with my words. I know how much words affect me - and so I try my best to be careful with the words I choose. I guess looking back on my life, when you are told you will be hated for the things that you did and that your family would be murdered if he found out they knew, it makes sense that words hold a lot of power for me. After dinner with my mom, the thought came to mind - "doesn't she know how much I hated me too?"
There was a LOOOOONGGGGGG period of my life (most of it in fact) that I could not make eye contact with myself. There was never a conscious "don't look at yourself" thought in my head - I believe it just came from this deep seated belief that I was not worthy - of love, of goodness, of .... anything. So if I just kept my head down and avoided the eye contact, I could almost go "unnoticed". This was how I lived for so many years and this is why when I look at old photos of me, I really don't see me. I don't see the sparkle in my eye, the playfulness, the vibrance, the life - sometimes I am ok looking at the photos and sometimes I feel incredibly sad that I had to live so much of my life feeling this way.
When I started realizing that my marriage was falling apart, I had convinced myself that my kids didn't really need me. THAT is how much I didn't like me. At that time, I believed that the only things my kids needed me for were to do laundry, buy groceries, cook them dinner, make their lunches, and take them to school. Of course I knew they loved my "ho ho watanei" nursery rhyme I sang to them every night but I truly believed that they were fine without me as long as the "things" got done. That is what I would have shared with my mom the other night if my brain worked quick enough.
Now I know the ONLY reason I ever felt that was because I had ZERO self-worth.
The only way someone gets to a place of believing that her magical little humans don't actually need her is because she doesn't love, value and accept herself. That truly breaks my heart for the me of 13 years ago.
After having my youngest, I went through years of counselling, medication, seeing a psychiatrist. I know I've shared this in the past on here .... it truly was hell. I didn't want to live anymore. I would do things like pull out my eyebrows one hair at a time just so I could feel SOMETHING DIFFERENT than what I was feeling. For a couple of years the meds helped. It took a while to get to a medication that worked for me - some made me feel like I was on speed, some upset my stomach so much I couldn't eat, some turned me in to a dizzy zombie. But I finally found one that worked for me - for a while. I felt robotic. I felt like I could go through the motions of life day after day. I felt "fine". After a couple of years on it, I realized I was feeling numb and I hated it. So I stopped taking it. The end.
I do NOT recommend this.
I had no idea that these meds were addictive and that I should have weaned myself off of them with the help of my psychiatrist. Instead I just sweat, shivered, and threw up until it was out of my system. For months after I had vertigo and struggled to run and workout. But I did it and thankfully, I didn't have any major side effects.
What I realized on these meds is that I need to feel. I am NOT ok with fine and I will NEVER be fine. I will be all of the things but never fine - happy, sad, overwhelmed, underwhelmed, vibrant, quiet, fearful, angry, literally ALL OF THE THINGS but I will never ever ever be fine again.
I feel things so big it's overwhelming. It often feels like I can't keep the feelings in my body. Whether they are good or bad, happy or sad, excited or nervous - they just want to erupt from my very being and me on these meds dulled this for me which I hated. So here I was - this "newish" woman with a couple of realizations and a few tools to help me navigate the hugeness of all that I felt.
One of the first things I realized besides the needing to feel, was that I was miserable in my marriage. I loved him - I still do. He is an amazing human being, a phenomenal Dad, and I am so incredibly lucky to have the privilege to co-parent with him. Yet I was miserable. Everything felt wrong. Hugs felt wrong. Kisses felt wrong. Planning our future together just felt .... wrong. And this led me down a not so "proud" path. I really don't want to dive in to all of the mistakes I made; just know that they were plentiful, I am incredibly not proud of them, and that I own ALL of them.
Again, these mistakes I made are all a reflection of how little I valued me.
At the time, I was going for counselling and just like the meds, the counselling stopped serving me. I was finding that I was constantly re-living my childhood trauma rather than focusing on the tools I needed to cope with all of my big feelings, how lost I felt in my marriage, AND navigating how to learn to love - well at least like - me. So I stopped going. I was tired of thinking of my abusers. I was tired of feeling like everyday I had to unweave them from my existence. I was tired of fighting. For once, could I just live my life and not have to fight? Fight off the demons? Fight off the words? Fight off the fucking hike up the never ending mountain of self-worth?
So I stopped. And I tried my best to live my life with the tools my counsellor had given me, my psychiatrist had given me, and the amazing friends in my life were constantly helping me with.
I know the past 9+ years have been one hell of a roller coaster and I know that eventually I will look back on it and see the lessons. I am not there now. Right now there is one thing though that I carry with me everyday and that one thing is the gratitude for finding ME - for truly getting to a place where I valued myself enough to realize that my kids NEED ME. They needed me then and they need me now. I still need my mom and I'm going to be 47. So to have my counsellor say to me the other day that I still don't believe I am worthy of the fairy tale sucked ... it sucked big time. And it sucked so much because I realized that there are still parts of me that struggle with self-worth and accepting all of me (yes, even the me when everything in me feels too big for my body to contain).
At this point, I guess I have 2 options when I think of my counsellor's words - I can stay in the "it sucked" because it really does suck to have the realization that I am not fully at a place of deserving I am worthy OR I can look at how far I've come and realize that there is no summit to Mt. Self-Worth. Rather the climb up Mt. Self-Worth is a life-long one with other peaks to climb along the way. I'm going to choose the second option and continue to look at my growth over the past 13+ years and be proud of getting to the space I am now.
Even though there are layers of no self-worth that I need to peel off, I am finally at a point in my life where I can say - "I like me" because I really do. I can look myself in the eyes every single night and know that I did my very best. Not every day is perfect and I still make mistakes (that I will ALWAYS own) - but I did my best, I am proud of myself and I.LIKE.ME. That's pretty huge.
Yes it freaking sucks to be in so much anxiety and so much hurt and sadness right now. I don't have to pretend that this is easy and that everyday I walk around relishing in the "look how far you've come T" moments because that is just not my truth. That would be like telling someone who is on a weight-loss journey and wants to lose over 100 pounds to stand in front of the mirror and tell themselves they are sexy. It wouldn't feel true inside for them and it most certainly doesn't feel true for me right now to pretend I am at a place of peace.
I think a huge part of this sadness for me right now besides the grieving my relationship process is this heavy feeling of "am I hard to love?" And I think THIS is the piece of self-worth I need to work on right now. I know I love huge. I know I feel huge. I LIKE these things about me. I give all that I have every single day and this isn't something that I want to change about me. I think I'm meant to be "huge" - huge in energy, huge in love, huge in sharing and spreading light - these things feel so right to me. At times though, I end up feeling or wondering if I'm too much to love.
If I feel so big and love so big am I just too much to truly be loved in return?
Will someone actually be able to allow me to shine in the ways I am meant to shine (and of course, will I be able to do the same for them)? I hope so. Olivia mentioned this in reiki today - that when I am truly at a place of feeling healed, I will attract that person who will help me shine as my authentic self. That thought is a beautiful one and I do hope that it is true.
But right now I wonder if it's possible.
I know it's not always easy for the people in my life that I care about to understand me and sometimes I wonder if I need too much from them or ask too much of them or even just am too much for them. I also know that I am loved and that those who really care about me aren't trying to contain me in a box that they can manage.
And yet I wonder if that is meant for me.
Maybe I love too big? Maybe I love too much? Maybe I am too much?
I think now is the time to get rid of those maybes. I do hope that what Olivia said is true because I hate the loneliness. I'm ok being alone - it's just sometimes too much and I ache for a long hug, or a cuddle, or some intimacy. So I am hopeful her words are true. At the same time, I know I am not ready for anything right now. I still hurt so very much - I'm no longer angry anymore which is a huge relief - but I hurt. I guess ultimately that means I really did love and hopefully I get to the place of being thankful for the opportunity to love someone that big.
So what do I do now to learn to trust myself again?
I believe the first step is just allowing myself to feel all that I am feeling right now and to ask for the things that I need. Beyond that, I believe my second step is to pause. When I'm feeling like the emotions are taking over and the anxiety is about to get out of control, I will tell myself "pause". That is going to be my word for the next little while. Pause. Pause and reflect. Pause and breathe. Pause and be.
"Just be here in your moment T and realize that you truly have come SO VERY FAR."
Thank you for being witness to my journey and for the space to share the words that would struggle to come out of my mouth.
I love you (and I'm working on loving me),