I’m sitting here. It is a rainy day. It has been a rough past few days with storms and anxiety. We brought one of my dogs to live with us, Rollie. He is scared of storms and fireworks. The past two nights we were up with him calming him down with storms.
Anyways, I’m sitting here drinking a hot cup of peppermint tea to hopefully help my stomach a bit. It has been really off the past few days. I’ve been listening to Anberlin as I work on my dissertation. They have been one of my favorites for a long time. Fun fact, Stephen Christian, their singer, graduated from the same school I attend, and has the same birthday as me, same age! As I sat and filled out the title page of the dissertation paper, I began thinking of how far I have come.
Sometimes in the middles of all of the stress and anxiety, we need to take a step back and see where we were and look at where we are now. Eight years ago, I was in my last year of drinking. I was a mess. One of my best friends lives in England, and he never fails to remind me how far I have come. He always says it is night and day from when he met me nearly ten years ago to where I am now. He met this girl who he saw had potential who did not see the potential in herself. She was this drunk hanging out at a shitty bar, trying to drink away the years of pain and unhappiness. He may not know this, but meeting him kind of kick started my journey. His questions of why are you living like this if you aren’t happy? You don’t belong here. You need to get away from all of these negative people in your life. You deserve more. For some reason, this time I listened.
I had spent so many years believing that I was not worthy of a good life. My life was going nowhere. I was not happy with who I was. I was not a good friend. I’m surprised that my bestie is still my friend honestly. I was not good to her when we first met. I hurt others because I was hurting so bad inside. I hated myself. So first came the quitting smoking. Then I ended up in the hospital because of drinking. That was my day where I told myself I am not doing this anymore. I had another good friend with me at the hospital that day. Another person who saw more in me than I did. He has been one of my biggest cheerleaders throughout this journey.
I was not quite an alcoholic like my brother is, but I used alcohol to numb the pain. I used people to buy me drinks. Just one more drink to numb that pain. Quitting drinking was only the beginning. See, now I had to actually feel things and face things sober. I actually ended up having a nervous breakdown four months after quitting drinking. My family was all living back together. My parents had lost their house to foreclosure, my brother had been kicked out of his girlfriends because of his drinking. My mom nearly died from sepsis and had to have a toe amputated. I was taking care of her and getting my brother to and from work (at this point he had lost his license). I had an eight hour panic attack. One of my friends came and took me to the hospital. I had already been prescribed Ativan, but that was not working. That night, I do not remember getting home. They gave me more Ativan to calm me down. I woke up in my bed with my friend sleeping on my floor because he was that worried about me. The hospital got me hooked up with my therapist that I am still seeing and a psychiatrist to get the right medications to help control the anxiety and depression.
Through therapy, I have learned to let go of many of the bad things I did in my past. I even learned to love myself. I learned to not let people take advantage of me. I went back to school because I had always wanted to get my bachelor’s. I had only had my associate’s. When I was nearing the end of my bachelor’s, I was already enrolled in the master’s program. I finished my bachelor’s with a 4.0 and my master’s with a 3.9 GPA. I took a few months off and then I was like well, why not prove to myself that I can go all the way and get my terminal degree. Here I am, working on my dissertation.
Not only am I working on my dissertation, I got married to a man who I honestly could not have asked for better. He is patient with my anxiety and depression and does whatever he can to help me. He has been supportive with school and everything else. We have never really had a bad fight. We work together as a team. I think going through so many years of therapy has helped me be able to communicate what I want and to get him to communicate what he wants back. He has become my best friend and I can not imagine my life without him. My family loves him. He is such a good man that was also dealt some shitty cards in life. I think together we have both been healing from our pasts. We want the same things in life and enjoy the same things in life. We are both sci fi nerds. We even had a Doctor Who themed wedding.
When we first began dating, his youngest and I began spending a lot of time together. It started because she did not want to be home alone. She had some reservations about getting to know me so soon after her mother had passed away. When I first met her, she didn’t even know the full story behind her mother’s death and could not even talk about her. When others brought her up, she would shut down. She was a hurting young girl. We finally got her in and got her a diagnosis of autism and got her into therapy. She has since blossomed. She talks more, she does more, she laughs more. She can talk about her mom now. She does not have really good memories of her mother. I feel bad that she does not, but she is the youngest and as her mother went further downhill, she got less than the other kids got. Her and I have bonded over certain things that happened to both of us growing up. She is still unsure of herself and still does not have the best self-esteem, but we are working at it.
It took a bit longer with my now son. He began reaching out to go to lunch and go shopping and we slowly got to know each other. He was also a hurting kid and still is to some degree. I think he feels torn between two families. It definitely hasn’t been on our end. He has been degraded by his other side of the family. I can see it hurts him, but he is learning to let it go. He now has a family life, something stable. We all do. We were all missing stability in our lives. I have seen him grow into someone who laughs more, talks more, and is wanting more out of life than the status quo.
Things are not perfect by far. But together we grow. We heal. We have all come a long way from where we were and have more to go. Throughout life, you continue to grow. One thing I learned from my friend that made me realize I could do more is that if you are unhappy and stay in your situation, it is your fault you are unhappy. You cannot heal and grow if you continue to stay stagnant in life. You have to let go of the past and move forward. Never forget what the past taught you and cherish the good memories it has given you, but you cannot live there. I never thought I’d be where I am right now, but here I am. I am here because I fought my demons and continue to do so. I have learned that not everyone has to like me. I have learned that I will fail along the way, this is how we learn. Fear of failure holds me back sometimes, but I have to push through. I also suffer from impostor syndrome. I have to keep reminding myself that I have worked for all of this and I deserve it. I allow myself to have bad days. I try not to be so hard on myself. There is so much more to life than staying stagnant and unhappy.