Recovery Step 10 – Empowerment

•June 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

There came a time when I no longer felt like a victim. I felt in charge of my fate. I had made thousands of decisions that had got me to where I was at that very moment. My husband and I had made joint decisions that had ripple effects (good and bad) for years to come, and that would continue to affect the pathways we will take and the choices we will make. I owned those decisions. I owned my fate….at least the majority of it. I was not a passenger on the ride of life, destined to succumb to my mental illness. I couldn’t be angry at my husband..angry at the world…angry at my mental illness anymore. I had choices. I could leave my husband…I could be a better wife…I could be miserable and lonely….I could make better choices…I could enjoy life. Yes. I could ENJOY life.

I finally stopped being complacent with status quo. I didn’t have to be this way. There was a better way. When I was still…and listened…I could find answers and make sense of the chaos. I could even see a new way to be…and think of possible ways to get there…to be that person. I also decided that rather than beating myself up for being a horrible wife and pushing my husband away….I would feel powerful for having decided that I would treat him that way…for pushing him away…for making him leave. And then I had the power to change…and to let him know I loved him….and to take him back…on my terms. Yes, I was awful. But I was also powerful. My actions caused my husband immense hurt. So much hurt that he didn’t think I loved him. He was so devastated that he drank..he stole…he ran to someone else to console him, to offer him company and companionship that I withheld. But when I came around…when I knew I took him for granted and I decided I wanted our marriage to improve and last..that I decided to love him for the rest of my life….he fell back into my arms with such gratitude. What power I had! What power I still have! I stopped being angry at him for leaving. I pushed him away. I stopped being angry at the other woman. She didn’t steal him. I gave him to her…and I took him back…just like that.

I am not condoning what I did and how I acted, but when I looked at the power I held..and my ability to take control of my life, I realized I always had the power…and that made things feel better…set my mind at ease. Now I was ready to seek help…and make decisions to get me to where I knew I wanted to be…in the arms of my husband forever.

I do believe in divine intervention, so I feel that has come into play very often along the way as well. I truly believe that it took a devastating event to wake me up to the need to make drastic changes in my life. I do believe that I would have been in an even more lonely, desperate position without having gone to hell and back. I do believe I may not be alive today were it not for suffering through my life’s most trying time. It took a crisis to turn my life around.

For the first time in 40 years, I was ready to LIVE.

The Rising – Bruce Springsteen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOUVPtCrJoM

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Getting Closer To Where I Am

•May 23, 2013 • 2 Comments

As I chronicle my journey, I am getting closer to where I am. But today I am stuck. With every word I write about where I have been, I have to re-live the experience. It can be very freeing, but it is hard work. It stirs emotions back up. But it helps me see things more clearly too. When I look back now, I can see where things went wrong, and I can plan for improvements I need to make. I don’t usually know what to do to make these changes, but at least I have a beacon of light to move towards.

Today was the day to write about my story at the point of Recovery Step 10: Empowerment. But I’m not feeling very empowered today, so I am not able to go back. I can’t remember the feeling clearly enough to articulate the experience. But I do know that I felt it at one time, because it was the end of continually feeling sorry for myself. It was the end of continually feeling worthless. It was the end of continually feeling helpless. It was the start of feeling that I had the power to control my destiny. It was the beginning of the ability to be vulnerable and seek help.

But today I feel lousy. Today I am sad and stuck. Stuck in my negative thoughts. Stuck in my anxiety about what the future holds. And I am angry again. Angry at my husband for giving up on me during my darkest hour. And I am feeling hopeless again, that I will ever be able to change. And I am frustrated that I can see a vision of who I want to be but she is out of reach. I am feeling helpless and wanting my husband to do more, even though I know there is only so much he is capable of doing. He has his limitations too. I want him to be able to communicate more…to comfort more without my asking..to offer more.

I can feel us slipping back to some of the same old patterns and I don’t always have the energy to reverse it…get back on the right track and move forward again.

I brought up the past again and re-hashed old baggage. I do feel bad about that. I want to tell him I still hurt sometimes. I’m still angry sometimes. I want to tell him that I am entitled to those feelings for as long as I have them. But I am bitter right now. So I keep it to myself and let it fester some more. I’m not ready to be vulnerable to him right now. I’d rather make him suffer some more. He doesn’t suffer enough. He has it too easy. The ability to move on and forget. No big deal. Every once in a while I need to rip open the wound and make him feel the pain again so he doesn’t forget.

Today I can’t go back and reflect and re-live and learn from my mistakes. Today I just want to stay stuck for a while.

Sunshine Award

•May 22, 2013 • 4 Comments

The Sunshine Award

Thank you Broken Halo and Tattered Wings: A little girl’s tears and fears, a woman’s broken and scarred heart, and Grace… at http://brokennhalo.com/ for nominating me for this award! I am thrilled that others have found something of worth in my writings. My goal first and foremost was to aid in my journey toward healing…and secondly, to aid others in the process as well. I knew I was achieving my first goal…I am humbled that I am achieving my second goal as well:)

Below are The Sunshine Award’s simple rules:

1) Post the Sunshine Award logo
2) Nominate 10 fellow bloggers you feel are worthy of this award
3) Announce their nomination on their blog
4) Link a ping-back to the nominator’s blog

Questions for all nominees:

Favorite color? Gray, Black and Silver

Favorite animal? Birds…love watching all of them…except for Turkeys, Crows and Vultures (eek!)

Favorite number? 44..the # of my Mom’s Cape House…the sea air always relaxes me.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink? Diet Coke

Favorite alcoholic drink? Kendall Jackson Chardonnay

My Passions? My family, Nature

Giving or Receiving Gifts? Would much rather give but I rarely do…never seem to be able to focus my energy enough to do it…but it’s something I’m working on improving about myself.

10 Wonderful Blogs by Some Very Amazing people that I have chosen to pass this award on to are:

1.) Angel Fractured w/ The Mirth of Despair at http://themirthofdespair.wordpress.com

2.) Persephone’s Heart w/ Some Rose Colored World|You Just Never Know at http://persephonesheart.wordpress.com

3.) Joyfully Stated w/ Narratives of a Neurotic and Other Nonsense at http://joeyfullystated.wordpress.com

4.) Maggie Mae w/ Maggie Mae I Just Say This at http://maggiemaeijustsaythis.wordpress.com

5.) Nicole Moseley of Bipolar Christianity at http://bipolarchristianity.com

6.) Nataly w/ Snippets and Glimpses at http://snippetsandglimpses.com

7.) WeeGee w/ How Do You Eat an Elephant at http://weegeemcscot.wordpress.com

8.) Maro Musings w/ http://marrosmusings.wordpress.com

9.) The Self Acceptance Project w/ http://selfacceptanceproject.com

10.) Emma Henly with Before We Could Talk w/ http://emmahenly.wordpress.com

11.) Little Blog of Letting Go:Suicide Prevention. Support for Depression and Grief. Encouragement for Everyone at http://littleblogoflettinggo.com

*I broke the rules and picked 11 blogs..I couldn’t help myself:)

Please take the time to stop by and visit these wonderful people.

The Relapse

•May 11, 2013 • 4 Comments

It is so frustrating to relapse. Here I am, reverting back to my old self…my old habits. I am easily irritated and quick to lash out with a nasty comment. My stomach is in a knot constantly, from the anger I have toward everyone and everything. Why does everyone in the world need to be so annoying? Why is everyone targeting me? Cant everyone just leave me ALONE? FOR. JUST. ONE. MINUTE?! I am so irritated, not just with everyone else, but with myself. I am itching in my own skin. I recognize this wretch of a person…but she’s been hidden for so long that I cringe when I see her again. For so long, I looked back on her and barely recognized her…she was a different person from me. Now..as she emerges, it’s very familiar and so natural…so easy.

I resent the world for subjecting me to living in this mind where anger and frustration rule. Everyone else has it so easy. They have no idea how lucky they are. What did I do to deserve this? I know there’s a reason for everything..that I am likely learning a life lesson. But for the life of me…right now…I can’t imagine what that lesson could possibly be.

I’ve felt this way for so much of the past 5 years, that I know it is me, inherently. But after everything came to a head, and I recognized the absolute need to change, these moments were few and far between. When the devil did rear its’ ugly head, I became overwhelmed with anxiety and anger. Anxiety that I was, once again, the woman my husband couldn’t stand. Anger that he couldn’t have communicated with me before he betrayed me. Didn’t he love me enough to work even harder to help me? To heal me? To cure me? To help me see the light? I know how selfish that is, but at those times, I harbored these conflicting feelings…hatred toward him for giving up…and hatred toward myself for causing him to give up. I would feel awful and beg him to leave me..as he had before…because he’d be better off without me…this was who I was…and I was not capable of changing. He’d assure me he loved me and that we were different people now…that we had both changed for the better.

But now, the devil returns again, more frequently…and this time, there is a scary difference. No longer am I remorseful about my actions. I no longer implore my husband to flee from me for his own good. Now I don’t give a shit. He can take it or leave it. He can take me or leave me. I’d probably be better off without him anyway. What a bastard he is. I just don’t care about the implications of my actions anymore…or I should say, I don’t care about their implications again, because this has been a familiar attitude for several years.

I’m working hard now, to keep this part of me at bay. But sometimes, I am just not up for the fight, and surrender to my dark side…let the pieces fall where they may. I got screwed when it came to passing out genes, so fuck everyone else.

Today I am trying to fight the beast…I have some hope…but damn these scary relapses are enough to make me just quit sometimes.

Recovery Step 9 – Acceptance

•May 1, 2013 • 2 Comments

Once I was able to own my actions and their impact on my loved ones, I was able to accept myself and the situation I was in. I had to stop living in denial that things were the way they were supposed to be and that tomorow would magically be better. I was responsible for making a change and making amends. I had to accept the fact that I drove my husband away into someone else’s arms; that I destroyed our marriage; that I wasn’t able to love; that I broke his spirit; that I had hurt many; and that I had a mental illness. This acceptance was what led me to the path of empowerment. Accepting and deciding to make a change gave me the power to take control back from my illness and control back from my marriage. I was ready to take action and run toward improvement, the future, my family, and my husband’s ams. Ultimately this would allow me to forgive him…something that, no matter how much I took blame for most of our marital issues, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do.

I Guess It’s Time I Admit It…

•May 1, 2013 • 6 Comments

…I’m fucked up…totally and completely. I have crazy, irrational thoughts. I live in my head and am not in the moment. I get angry. I hold a grudge. I can be very mean to those I love. I am not able to form intimate relationships. I have no energy to invest in making things better. I can’t show love. I am only happy when I’ve won an argument….heck, I am only happy when I can engage someone in an argument. I am mentally ill and I almost lost every important relationship in my life because of it.

I AM MENTALLY ILL AND I ALMOST LOST EVERY IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIP IN MY LIFE BECAUSE OF IT.

That last sentence was the hardest to come to grips with. It still gives me a little pang in my stomach as I type it. I never would have admitted it a year ago. I wouldn’t have relly understood the truth to those words a year ago. If someone had told me this was the truth, I would have punched them. How dare anyone to accuse me of such a horrible, terrible thing. But it’s true. Admitting it has been instrumental in my recovery.

By recovery, I mean many things. I mostly mean my recovery from being a destructive force in my own life. I also mean recovery from the pivotal moment when I realized that my mental illness destroyed my husband and affected my children tremendously. Recovery from the devastation of my husband’s affair. Recovery from the guilt and remorse of my actions and the fallout from them. Recovery from the grief and sorrow that I lost the sweet, nice person that I once was and can never fully be again. And the recovery from several mental breaks that have slowly, over time, dulled my thinking and made me distractible, unfocused, unmotivated and less productive. I was sharp as a tack once. I was ambitious and determined. I felt confident in my abilities. I was smart.

I am learning now how to reconcile all of these feelings of self-hate and loathing, with the hope that I can change and repair. I accept who I am and what I’ve done. Acceptance is Step 9 on my Journey To Sanity. Saying that I am mentally ill, as opposed to anxious or depressed, has been freeing in a sense. It lifts the stigma and allows me to focus on getting better. I will always be me…my flaws and all. But I want to be a better me. Taking responsibility for all of the pain and suffering I have caused, has allowed me to see clearly who I am. I don’t like who I am…but I have some hope that I can change. I only have this hope because my husband and kids believe in me. If they, those I’ve hurt the most, can believe in me…then I owe it to them to believe in myself.

Believing in myself has led me to the path toward empowerment and taking action…actually doing something about it. Some (most) days I don’t feel like I am worth it…not worth the energy to try to change. But I know my family is worth it…so I carry on.

Recovery Step 8 – Hope

•April 28, 2013 • 2 Comments

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We all need hope. At my darkest hour I had absolutely none. Even as I was starting to crawl out of my deepest hole of depression, I still had no hope. I was merely surviving as best I could, but I had resigned to being miserable for the rest of my life…and I was hoping that life wouldn't be long. I was pathetic and apathetic…totally vacant and at the whim of my dark moods.

I knew I needed help. I guess even realizing I needed help must have meant I had a little hope…if I was willing to try to hold on for something…what that was I didn't know. I think I wanted to make things right…for my husband and my children.

I went to doctors and finally got the right diagnosis and the right meds. Slowly…very slowly…I began to have a glimmer of hope that maybe…just maybe…things could get better…I could get better…I could heal from the trauma of my mental illness and all of the fallout from it.

I still have hope…but it is fleeting…most days I am hopeful I will survive and I will learn lessons…but I am not usually hopeful that I will be able to change enough to stop hurting myself and others. I want to though…and for today that will have to be good enough.