Today I purposely made no plans and I am very grateful for that. I have been spending a lot of my weekends with friends and I enjoy seeing them and having those connections, but I also am the type to feel very drained afterwards. I have talked about this plenty of times on here, but I am just proud of myself for finding ways to still be able to have these great friendships and maintain my own mental health. I used to feel so anxious and resentful and burnt out because of my own lack of boundaries, and now that I am taking accountability and actual steps to keeping this balance in my life, it feels so much easier.
I understand why people don’t want to self-reflect or do the deeper work, it is very hard to come to terms with the toxic parts of yourself. But if we’re being completely honest, that is the only way to truly learn to love every part of yourself. Now I am not saying it’s good to be toxic or that we should just accept the fact that we are that way and continue to be that way, although technically you are able to do as you please. What I am saying is, you can dig into where those toxic traits come from and get a better understanding of why you behave in certain ways. As you learn about yourself and gain clarity, you can then practice healthier behaviors and create more productive habits, rather than just shaming yourself for having toxic traits and then continuing to live in that toxic cycle.
I know that I used to live in a continuous shame cycle, and it honestly made me feel like I was going crazy. I would “argue with myself” in my head all day, and I would constantly be angry with the way that my brain worked. I was upset that all I had in my head was chaos, yet to everyone outside of my home, I made it seem like everything was together. My worth was wrapped up in my achievements, so I got my apartment with my boyfriend, got that associate’s degree, kept a clean home, and I just made sure it all looked great from the outside. I would let friends vent to me, and I would never tell them what I was going through. To be fair, I did feel that they all had their own struggles to deal with and that I didn’t want to burden them with mine, but sometimes I think it was because I was trying to keep up this act like everything was perfect.
I then grew to become very resentful of the fact that I felt that no one actually cared about what I was going through, and that I had friends venting to me but I didn’t feel I could do the same with them… but was that really ever the case? I likely could have vented to them in the same way, but I always kept everything inside. How were they to suspect anything was wrong when I made it seem like my life was just easy and “perfect.” And to be honest, life has always been good, but when my anxiety and intrusive, ruminating thoughts were out of control, I just felt like that was life, because that was life in my head.
I was blessed enough to have my boyfriend by my side as I went through everything, but because my and my anger were so out of control, and he was the person I was around the most and also felt the most comfortable with, I often ended up taking out my issues on him. I’d snap over small things like the dishes being in the sink instead of the dishwasher, or the fact that that garbage was full. I’d get angry because sometimes I would feel like he didn’t help with chores, but I also never even asked for help. It’s nice to wish that people would just know that you need help, but also everyone is going through their own stuff and also likely not communicating it.
So I’d just snap on him, we’d argue about it, and then I always ended up crying and feeling guilty because I hated how I was behaving and didn’t understand why I couldn’t just communicate like a normal person. This cycle continued until I finally realized that I was pushing away someone who was so being so patient and loving with me, and that I truly didn’t want to continue living like this. I didn’t want to get angry over the smallest inconvenience. I didn’t want to feel constantly drained and burnt out because of me constantly over-extending myself. I didn’t want to keep crying every day or feeling like a rage was always sitting inside of me… so I finally got help.
I am grateful that was the decision I made. Although it has taken a lot of therapy, a lot of different medications, and a lot of time and effort, it has been 100% worth it. If someone told me at age twenty that it would take about seven years for me to feel more regulated and at peace, I probably would have looked at that timeline and decided to just give up right then, but honestly, although it has been a lot of time, it has been the most rewarding work I have done. This is why they say to focus on the step in front of you, not the entire staircase. When we look at how far we have to go, we can cripple ourselves and scare us into staying where we are.
The fact that I can now alleviate my ruminating thoughts within a few minutes is incredible, and honestly is something I didn’t know was possible. The fact that I can communicate my needs and ask for help instead of getting to the point where I am boiling over has been a game-changer for my relationship with my boyfriend, as well as my relationships with friends and family. The fact that I no longer look at myself with hatred or keep myself in a loop of shame/negative self-talk has had such a profound impact on my overall look at myself and at life. I now focus on finding the good and finding reasons to be grateful, rather than letting the negative weigh me down.
I am learning balance and I am taking care of myself, which is helping my to show up more authentically and present in every area of my life. I am so grateful that I was able to get help, and that I have had supportive people in my circle who love and care about me. I believe that people can change, but only if they truly want to. I wanted to change for the better, and I am proud of the work I have done. I am excited to continue learning on this healing journey, and I hope I can help some others along the way.