Most nights I lay in bed and think about things I could write on my blog. While I may not post as often as I’d like, it’s definitely something that’s always on my mind. Today, I wanted to share something personal.
I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about how we sometimes self-sabotage ourselves. Whenever things go well for me I tend to flip out because deep down I don’t feel like I deserve good things in my life. Last night I was thinking about a lot of the bad shit that happened to me as a kid and the environment I grew up in. My mum dying, my dad being an abusive alcoholic, my grandmother neglecting me, my aunt beating me, my sisters turning against me, being raped, annual suicide attempts… All before I turned 18! I’d had bones broken by my father, lost my mother to cancer and tried to kill myself all before my 10th birthday. I could probably write a book the size or “War & Peace” on it all. That’s a lot of baggage for someone to carry around with them, and it’s caused a lot of problems later in life for me. But it’s all I’ve known. It got to a point in my life where I accepted that life is a struggle and the people closest to you will eventually turn on you and hurt you. So, when things started going well, it would feel unusual. Almost as if misery was a comfort blanket. I’d get so depressed and overwhelmed because I wouldn’t know how to process what was happening so I’d go back to this broken mess of a person because that’s what I was used to. I knew it wouldn’t last, so why enjoy it? Despite being a bad thing, it was actually comfortable for me.
For me, getting help has been difficult. I’ve lost faith in the system. Trying to get a doctors appointment would be like getting into Fort Knox… then when you finally do, they’d just give you some pills and send you on your way. Not even taking into account the root of the problem. They’d just treat symptoms and not the cause. It’s not the doctor’s fault, they’re overworked and underpaid as it is and everyone seems to be depressed these days. I’d just be another sad face in an endless sea of miserable people to them. I saw a counsellor for a while too. That didn’t really help either, and when he started repeating things from previous sessions as if what he was talking about was scripted, I knew I had to call it a day on that. Talking to friends has only driven them away, they’d not understand and distance themselves because I’d be no fun to be around after. The ones who’ve stuck around have been the ones who matter.
So this leaves me here. What’s a girl to do with all this baggage? I think that the only person who can help you if you’re in a situation like mine is yourself. You have to dig your way out of the hole you’ve fallen into by yourself. I’m not saying that if you’re depressed a doctor won’t help you or pills won’t help. Everyone’s situation is different, and I strongly urge anyone to at least explore those options before writing them off. But no matter what your situation is, everyone needs to show themselves a little love and understanding. Getting better isn’t easy and no matter how much outside help you’re lucky enough to get, a lot of the hard work will be down to you. You have to really WANT to get better. Your past will always be there. But rather than let it haunt your future, leave it in the past where it belongs. I’m 35 now. If I live to be 70, I’m halfway through my life (that’s depressing enough) I’ve literally spent half my life being sad over things that are neither my fault or have had any control over. How bad is that? That realisation has scared the hell out of me. I turn 36 in a couple of months, do I really want to second half to be just as bad? Do I really want to never amount to anything because I don’t feel like I deserve it? Do I really want to stay comfortable in my own misery because that’s what I’m used to and it’s just easy?
NOPE! NOPE! NOPE!
So, how do you overcome it? I think that showing gratitude for the good in your life really helps. Celebrating even the smallest victories and reminding yourself constantly that you deserve good things is so so important. Remember that you’re allowed to be happy and when opportunities come your way, say “YES” even if you don’t know what you’re doing. You can learn as you go along (a great lesson from Richard Branson there). Because, dwelling on negativity, not accepting that you’re an amazing person who deserves to be happy and saying “No” to opportunities in life because you feel you don’t deserve them, will only make that hole you’re so desperately trying to crawl out of even harder to leave.
Letting go is really hard sometimes. But when life knocks you down, you have two choices. You can let it cripple and break you… or you can pick yourself up, dust yourself down and stand taller and stronger so that it can’t knock you down again. Write it all on a piece of paper and burn that shit! Get a therapist. Whatever works for you. Because if you don’t let it go, as you get older it will just become heavier and heavier until it breaks you.
I know a few people who are going through rough times at the moment. People who have had to deal with similar traumas to myself. As shocking as it all is, it happens. A lot. There are kids today going through some really messed up shit that will haunt them for years and it truly breaks my heart. Once I have my own life together, I’d love to be a foster parent so that I can help kids who are going through similar situations that I did. I want to teach them that they have it in them to grow up to be amazing, successful people despite the crap that life has thrown at them. It’s probably the reason why I’m so protective over my own daughter. I don’t want her to feel any pain or suffering like I did as a child.
I’ve shared a lot of deeply personal information in this post, and I haven’t done it for sympathy. I really don’t want that. I’ve shared it because no matter what your start in life is like, you have the power within you to to be whatever you want to be. You deserve to be happy… even if on some days you have to remind yourself of that. I’m still a very long way from my idea of success, but I know that if I remember that I deserve it, and keep going for it, no matter what, I’ll get there.
Image Credit – Fredrick Kearney Jr
I’ve been thinking along the same lines recently – I’m in the process of possibly coming off anti-depressants (I’ve been on and off them, but mostly on, for half my life) and I’m struggling to come to terms with what that means. I still have days when I can’t cope at work – but, if I’m not medicated, does that mean I’m not clinically anxious/depressed, and I can’t expect the same understanding and reasonable adjustments? Have my mental health problems become a security blanket – the excuse I can rely on if I’m not being the best I can be? I’m really, really scared.
Long story short: this is another one of those posts that makes me wish we were friends IRL. I think we’d have a lot to talk about. Over cocktails, obviously.