Tag Archives: diary

Thank F*ck. I’m Finally Over You. | elephant journal

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/08/thank-fck-im-finally-over-you/

Just found this article by Alex Myles on Elephant Journal and I identified with it on such a visceral level that I had to share it here.
The way she articulates clinging to the pain of a break up, the grieving for what could, should, have been is so familiar to me right now, as is the fear of letting go of that anguish.
How do you let go of something that you still desperately want, someone that you yearn for every night as you go to bed alone. Knowing you can’t have something doesn’t stop you from needing it. Knowing something will destroy you can’t stop you from loving it.

I cried out your name. I screamed so loud but no sound came out.

No one heard and no one came to the rescue.

So, I danced alone with our death.

I stepped in time with a shadow. Of a love I once knew.

I didn’t know what was there at the end of our line. I was terrified to let go of the comfort that holding our memories gave.

Then it hit me harder. The loss. Not just the loss of you, the loss of us, of what we could have been. And of all the “if only” thoughts that tangle and then knot my mind.

I had to stand up and open my eyes.

I’ve carried this weight. I’ve taken you with me, all because I couldn’t let go. I wouldn’t.

I risked all for this love. I let you in. I sealed all the edges. I locked you in tight.

Now I’m letting it out. I’m letting you go.
Alex Miles

So I get it, and I hope to reach the place she has really soon, cos I often feel I am losing my mind, but in some ways, I don’t want to move on, I don’t want to get over the last seven years of my life that I gave up so much to have. I don’t want to be rid of the future I dreamed for us, the things I knew we would have, and soon, we were so close to finally getting to where we’d wanted to be for so long. I can still see that future we were supposed to have and I don’t want to give up on it. I want it. That’s how my life should look.
I’m getting there on my own, I’m still working hard and achieving everything I wanted, but on a personal level I am falling apart, because it isn’t supposed to be like this. I’m meant to be sharing it all with the person I first imagined it with.

Read Alex Myles’ article, Thank F*ck I’m Finally Over You, here, and I’ve just found her blog, Love and Other Stuff, that I can’t wait to have a proper read of as there looks to be some great poetry on there.

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The best decision that I’ve ever made

In life coaching on Friday,  where i go weekly with the Hidden Homeless in Bradford, Nina asked everybody to consider writing a testimonial or something for the magazine,  Hidden Voices. A lot of the group wrote something there and then, but I couldn’t think of something that I hadn’t said before or already written in an evaluation sheet, so I said I’d have a think about it and write something later.wpid-wp-1437683979599.jpeg
I had a few ideas about what to write. I was going to write about the change in my life thanks to Gary (founder of Hidden Homeless)and Nina (amazing life coach) so I got out my notebook and made a list of the ten most obvious ways in which my life is different. Most were quite obvious, simple differences: I’ve started making a conscious effort to focus on the positives in my life, remembering to be thankful for my blessings rather than resentful of what I feel is missing from my life; I’ve developed love for who I am as a person, the me that is doing my best right now to be a person I can like, rather than focusing on the mistakes I’ve made in the past and the pain and embarrassment I’ve caused to my loved ones. Number 4 on my list was “I have gained the confidence in myself to make difficult choices.”

Today’s been quite a stressful day, and I’ve been so glad of a few tearful phone calls and IM chats with the amazing friends I’ve made in the last 6 months, my support network, which brought me to the conclusion that I have been quite a selfish friend recently because I’ve started slipping into old behaviours without realising it. I’ve been so focused on trying to drag somebody else through their dark times so that I don’t have to watch them self destruct or end up diving in after them, basically trying to control a situation that I can’t be responsible for in an effort to ensure that I didn’t throw myself into the abyss, and I didn’t realise I was doing a subtle, slow slide down into that despair filled pit without looking around and seeing where I was. I wasn’t paying attention. And I wasn’t any good to anybody because of it. I haven’t been there for friends who could’ve done with the support and I wasn’t helping the person I was holding onto so tightly.wpid-wp-1437683979620.jpeg
So I had another reminder that I have to take care of myself in order to be a good support to anybody else, and I’m glad I got it now rather than 6 months down the line.

Every week Nina gives us a small task to take home and reflect on. I maybe don’t put as much effort in as I did the first time I attended the course, just because I think more positively in general now after attending life coaching for 3 consecutive courses, and don’t often feel the need to really sit down and use my ‘homework’ quite so desperately as I once did. That frame of mind comes easier now, it’s a habit to analyse my thought rather than leading with my feelings. I couldn’t even remember what I had written down in the back of my notebook last week but today I felt like I really needed a a large dose of Nina’s ever – insightful, logical positivity!
As soon as I read my notes I knew instantly that this would work as a journal entry for my blog as it would be a good way to reflect on my emotional growth and I usually find writing therapeutic, and it would also be a good testimonial for the hidden homeless as without Gary and Nina I would never have learned the skills to separate my thoughts and my feelings and reflect objectively on my behaviour, or to stop beating myself up for the things I can’t change.

The task that I brought home after last Friday’s session was to think about a decision I have made in my life that just felt right; where I have been my true, authentic self and made a choice for my life that took courage, belief, and determination.

It was obvious to me which decision I needed to reflect on.

A few months ago, my partner and I finally got offered a new flat. It was a bit smaller than we were already in, but it was off the council estate that we have bought and used our drugs in for the past few years and away from everyone who knew us for that. I fell in love instantly with the flat. It’s set back off the road in a quiet, tree filled area, with floor length windows in the lounge and a welcoming atmosphere. I could really picture our future there, it was our fresh start and I was beyond excited. I instantly started trying to collect stuff for our new home, so we could have it cosy and really make it our own. I planned scatter cushions and decided on the mural we would have on the wall, so we could face both that and the beautiful windows. We were going to get married. wpid-wp-1437683978883.jpeg

Then, after a long and painful revaluation of my life, due to various circumstances,  I decided not to move into the flat with my partner. It broke my heart and I still have to wipe away tears remembering how painful it was to come that decision. I still feel as though the future I was working towards has been violently ripped away from me. My partner probably doesn’t feel any better and I feel guilty thinking that he might be feeling like I am, but I had to dig deep for the humility to accept that there is nothing I can do to influence the choices made by others, some things I can’t solve, no matter how much I wish to. If I could do what’s necessary for him I would shoulder that burden in a heartbeat. Nothing I can do will solve this situation right now, because it isn’t mine to solve. I have now, after lots of soul searching, many filled notebooks, and too many tubs of icecream, got the belief in myself to know I have done my absolute best and there is nothing more I can do without any cooperation. I did not give up easily. I have done everything that is within my power. I worked hard at it, but ultimately I had to try to find the serenity in accepting the things that I can’t change. I was emotionally drained, and I can’t afford to invest so much energy into a black hole, getting nowhere with my efforts. I know where that path leads for me and I am determined that I will not stray too close to it, not for anybody. Because then I’m no good for anybody.

Now I have returned to faith. I’m trying to keep that connection strong, be it to God, the universe, fate; there is something stronger than me at play in this world, and I am trying to trust that whatever happens next will somehow, eventually lead to better things. I know I made the right decision. It hurts, but nothing worth having comes to us easily, as long as I do my best with the things I am responsible for, as long as I remain aware of the way I’m living and focus my energy on the right things, everything will come together. Maybe it’ll all work out so that I get to spend the rest of my life with the man I have idolised for nearly 7 years and sacrificed so much to be with. Maybe that’s not what’s in store for us. I have no way of knowing, I just have to keep working on my life and hope he does what he has to in order to get what he wants from life.wpid-wp-1437683977899.jpeg

This isn’t what I expected, or wanted, my life to look like at this point but this is the hand I have been dealt and I am playing it to the best of my ability. I can’t afford to lose again.

My broken heart will, slowly but surely, heal and I’ll recover but active addiction will, slowly but surely, kill me and break the hearts of my children.

There really is no choice in it.

Coming to terms with my irrational guilt

When I was 18 I was raped by a friend of my boyfriend.
It is something I very rarely mention, yet think of quite often.

Many rape victims never talk about what happened to them as they feel they are at fault somehow.
Many rape victims never talk about what happened to them as they feel they are at fault somehow.

I like to think I’m doing quite well in my recovery from addiction, and actually consider my relapse last year as a part of the journey, I learned a lot from it. I try to maintain a positive mindset. I go to groups, I’ve made great friends, I work hard to confront my irrational thoughts and beliefs head on in order to understand myself and become a better version of me. I’m a constantly evolving organism, my own masterpiece in the making.

I try to understand how the events in my life have shaped the way I’ve lived in order to take control over how I live now.

I’ve tried to deal with all my open emotional wounds in order to stop myself picking at them little by little and causing deeper scars over time.
And yet, this one event, this trauma, never quite makes its way out. I never quite pluck up the courage to mention it, not to anybody, friends, family, many counsellors over the years. It’s the one taboo I just can’t bring myself to discuss. And I obviously need to. As I said, I think of it often. And it hurts.
So why can’t I deal with it?

The truth will set you free. Talking about any issue is often the first step in overcoming it.
The truth will set you free. Talking about any issue is often the first step in overcoming it.

And then, a few weeks ago, I had a sudden moment of clarity. It happened in the group life coaching I attend weekly. We do a brief check in at the beginning. A girl, I’ll call her Kate, just mentioned when it came to her turn how much the life coaching and the various support services had helped her to learn how to manage her feelings and, in turn, her life. She just dropped it in, in rather a blase way, that she had been raped. The way she said it made it clear that it was a past event that was dealt with and put to bed. Which got me started with this train of thought. Why is my rape not dealt with.? Why can’t I announce it like that? Why is it the one thing I can’t be truly honest and open about?

Because, the answer came to me, I am ashamed and I am embarrassed.

I tried to put into words my new understanding to my partner the next day. Why can I not be as brave as Kate and just declare it with no shame? His response was that I don’t want to be identifying myself as a victim. And this got me thinking even more.

Why am I worrying about how it makes me look when it’s not something I had any say in, it’s something I had no responsibility for?
I’m carrying all this shame about something that was done to me. I’m shouldering the blame for somebody else’s decision to ignore word “stop” and beating myself up for failing to change his mind.

Let's raise our children to respect and understand that no means no!
Let’s raise our children to respect and understand that no means no!

To hear Kate so matter of factly saying “I got raped and struggled to get my head together for a while,” was the catalyst for a huge awakening for me. It seems such a small, simple thing:
“It wasn’t my fault”

And yet it’s taken me 13 years to come to that conclusion. I’m not suddenly ‘over it’, how could I be after battering myself with it for so long? But I understand now why such a painful memory has been walled off and hidden for all this time when other traumatic emotional events that also caused me to feel guilty and ashamed, such as being unable to care for my children and their removal to a family member, or the death by heroin overdose of my best friend and my subsequent arrest, have been plucked out of my head, thrust into the light, discussed and dissected with several friends and professionals throughout the years, until reaching the point where I can think about it and feel the sadness without the onset of anxiety that inevitably leads to me tearing myself apart with one destructive behaviour or another.

I am beginning to truly overcome my obstacles.
I am beginning to truly overcome my obstacles.

So although it will take some time and effort on my part, I can’t help but feel positive about this small break through. Having read up on it, I now know that it is extremely common for people who have been raped to feel this way. Most of us feel that we could have, should have, done something to prevent the attack. Why didn’t I look into this years ago?! By closing myself off to any chance of support, i have been dragging out my suffering all these years. I’ve been letting him win! Well, no more.

What doesn't kill me WILL make me stronger!
What doesn’t kill me WILL make me stronger!

Now that I have been able to find the root of the disturbance that the memory of my rape causes me, I can start to come to terms with it and move forwards a little lighter in my heart. One person’s actions don’t define who I am. I know I can overcome what somebody else did to to me and I know that my journey of recovery from addiction has just been made a little easier to travel because of this knowledge.

And, of course, I would not have been in the right place, emotionally and mentally, to have come to these conclusions, to have taken the rape out of its box and had a good look at why it was still messing me up, if not for the life coaching and the Smart Recovery meetings, provided by The Hidden Homeless. It is thanks to that support in working on myself that I have come this far and feel ready to confront my remaining demons.

Today, I am grateful.

Further reading:

Forum discussion of why the victims of rape feel guilty and ashamed
An interesting article exploring and trying to find a way through these emotions
The Hidden Homeless, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am right now.

SMART Recovery UK
Hidden Homeless, Bradford
Hidden Homeless, Bradford