Today is the day that my face will be up on a digital billboard in my town! I was lucky that the writing community I am in wanted to advertise in a major city near me, and they were generous enough to give me a billboard right in my town too so I didn’t have to go an hour and a half away to see it! It will be playing with other ads, and it is only for today! The billboard says: “What Makes You Strong? Enter our writing contest on TheUnsealed.com,” and then has my happy face on there! I am so happy that I joined this community and have been able to get some of my writing out into the public eye; this whole experience has been wild, as it has brought up things within me that I hadn’t truly realized before.
I always have had trouble celebrating myself, and I also hate being the center of attention (although apparently as a Leo I should love the spotlight), so being excited about something so public and personal felt weird to me. I know I am allowed to feel from this and I honestly do, but I realized that I have a habit of downplaying any exciting things or achievements in my life. When I graduated from community college, with a degree that I paid for with no loans or help from FAFSA, I remembered saying to my boyfriend: “Is it weird that I am not that excited? Like I don’t even want walk the stage.” He was encouraging and understood that school had been stressful and it was probably just a relief to be done, but also made sure I knew that he was super proud of me and I should be too. I did end up walking the stage, and both of our families were there to celebrate me which made me feel so loved.
While realizing that I have trouble celebrating myself, I also was connecting that to how I also have trouble truly looking at my life traumas as… well, traumas. I can honestly say that it was only within the last year or so that I truly felt validated in feeling traumatized, and it happened while listening to Gabrielle Bernstein on her “Dear Gabby” Podcast. She was talking about how everyone has trauma, and then talked about “Big T” traumas and “Little T” traumas. An example of a “Little T” trauma would be if you were standing in line to get food as a child and another classmate came over and called you fat. Even though this may not sound like a big deal, this thought can live in your brain and if you get stuck on that thought it can become all you think about and completely diminish any self-love or self-esteem that was there. But what struck me in this podcast was when she listed “having an alcoholic parent” as a “Big T” trauma… because I had two. Even though I had been going to therapy for years at this point, it still never hit me like it did in that moment. I had “Big T” trauma that I was dealing with, and I should be so proud of how far I’ve come. As I sit here and write this today, I am very proud of all of the work that I have done, and I look forward to seeing my continued progress.
I can say that as I am continuing this healing journey, I have moments of grieving where I feel so sad and distraught about the fact that I have been so distant from my own feelings and presence. But in those same moments, I am very present in those feelings, which makes me feel almost happy in a way, because that means I am here now. What I mean is that I am present with those hard emotions and I am feeling them all the way through, and that in and of itself is being present. I still struggle with celebrating myself, but I find when I am writing, it tends to come through me. There is that confident, higher self that is within me and she is working hard to break through. Together we are un-learning bad habits, re-wiring old thoughts, and immersing ourselves in podcasts and books about healing and mental health. I am the one who is writing my blog posts, I am the one who is going to therapy, I am the one who is doing all of this hard work, and I am doing it for me. I deserve to feel the love for myself that others can so effortlessly give to me, and I deserve all of the happy things that are in my life.
Here in this post, I release all negativity weighing on me, both physically and mentally. I no longer welcome this tightness in my chest, nor the pain in my back. I am here to release all internal stresses and external fears, as I no longer wish to carry them with me. I release all self-doubt and feelings of guilt, as I am growing and learning and there is no reason to feel guilt for something so beautiful. Here on this page, I release any judgment or tension I feel towards myself. I am not my anxiety, and I am not my intrusive thoughts; I am resilient and strong, and I always rise after a fall. I’ll give myself grace when I inevitable fail, and will take time to learn from each set back and move forward with a little more knowledge each time. As I write this post, I release any feelings of judgment or resentment towards others, as I know everyone is doing their best with the resources they have, and I know that I am not the one to determine what is right or wrong. Everything is not black and white, everything is grey, and who am I to say what is best for anyone other than myself?
TW- self harm/suicidal thoughts
I’ve been feeling rough the past few days, and I felt like it really hit me today in the car when I was driving home from work. Out of nowhere I was sobbing… like the loud, ugly kind that you only do when you’re alone. It felt good letting it out, and honestly it felt almost like I was grieving the loss of someone; it felt deep in my chest, like it took over my lungs and throat and choked me until I had to break free of the grip, and the tears were the release. I can’t say I feel 100% better now and all is good, as honestly, I will probably cry again writing this, but I do feel a bit more relief and I definitely feel a bit better after the shower I just took.
Let me state that I literally haven’t showered in days, and it’s because I have been so tired and hormonal. My period was eight days late this month, and my periods are already rough enough, so of course this one is taking a toll on me. Part of me wishes it was the cramping/pain that was the worst part, but honestly for me it is the depression. I find that every month during this time, it is so hard to get through the week doing my normal chores and tasks. I feel like my anxiety gets very elevated during my cycles, which for me means that I not only deal with that down feeling, but I also have insane irritability, which typically just gets me more upset with myself and then I feel like I am just regressing and repeating my old patterns. I know that I am not that person though, and I am a human being who is having hormonal changes and normal emotions…I am still learning to give myself grace each day.
Something that helped me was I had recently listened to Mel Robbins’ new podcast, and she had Dr. Russell Kennedy who is a neuroscientist. She was telling him how her daughter’s anxiety comes out as rage/irritability, but how hers is completely different, and she asked him why. He had said that our anxiety typically takes form of the most accepted emotion in a person’s mind…and that clicked for me. I always hated how angry I get and how quickly something can make me snap, but it makes so much sense when I think about it now with that information. I grew up in a home where everyone was always angry; whether my parents were mad at each other, or mad at the news, or truly just mad at the world, that is all I saw. The screaming and slamming doors in that two-bedroom apartment, so much tension for a young body to live in. In my mind, unbeknownst to me at the time, I understood that being angry was acceptable, and as I grew older, that is what my anxiety manifested into.
Being at home, I felt completely out of control. Of course, when you are a child that is technically how it should be since your parents are the ones in control, but I literally had no clue how to deal with my anger or emotions. I have a brief memory of crying to my mom and telling her that I kept feeling an impulse to swallow a bunch of pills. All I can remember is that she asked “Why?” and I had no explanation-it was a feeling I was having because I felt so hopeless, but I also had no clue how to express that. As you can see, I am still here, I did not take any pills, and when I did self-harm, it was not deep enough to do anything. I didn’t even want to die; I don’t even know what I wanted other than to get my anger out. I knew that if I broke anything or carved anything else into my dresser that I’d get in trouble, but hurting myself didn’t seem punishable since my emotions were dismissed anyways. My parents never even saw, and although I decided against taking those pills, I never went to therapy or got help for those dark thoughts.
I remember one night when my parents were fighting so bad and the cops ended up being called to our apartment. This was a relatively normal occurrence as the walls were thin and my parents were loud after a few drinks, but I remember texting my neighbor/best friend and telling him that they were there. He had known about the self-harm because he had seen the marks on my arm that summer and I just remember him texting me: “Don’t let the cops see your arm, they’ll take you away.” Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about that, but I knew I didn’t want to end up in a mental hospital, so I made sure to keep my sleeves down. After that moment I honestly can’t tell you if I stopped or if that is when I switched to the inner thighs, but once I started dating my current boyfriend, I swore to him that I would never self-harm again, and I haven’t. I guess I mentally have been beating myself up for years, but I am actively working on ending that cycle.
Something I am struggling with right now is that I am coming to realize how much of my life has been on auto-pilot, and as I learnt to become more present, it is almost like a grieving process. Even though I escaped my parents’ home at nineteen, I feel like the true anxiety didn’t hit until I was gone. I still I get so upset that I spent so much of my life in a state of worry and constantly planning the next step. I could never sit still as I’d just think about all of the things I needed to, whether it be school or work or house chores. On the more extreme end of my anxiety, I’d spend so much time thinking about every worst-case scenario of everything that could happen in my life. I’d spend time thinking about how everyone I love will die and how I can’t control it and how I don’t know how I would go on. I lived most of my teenage years and twenties without even being truly there in the room I was in, and it makes me so sad to think about. If I am not here, where am I? It feels like I have been avoiding my own life. I am so scared of making mistakes, because I never was the kid to rebel or break any rules.
I also am scared of hurting people around me, but sometimes I keep people around even at my own expense. I used to feel so drained after friends would come to me with their problems and I felt like I took on all their feelings, and now I look at that as I had wounds of my own that I was resonating with. But instead of working on my wounds, I would just take on theirs in a way. I would worry about my friends who were going through rough times, I would worry about my parents living without me there to try to moderate, and I would completely abandon myself and my own feelings. Every so often I’d have a breakdown or a panic attack and I just didn’t understand myself and since I hated the feelings I was having, I ended up just hating myself. I feel so blessed that I have my boyfriend and I can’t tell you where I’d be in life right now if I hadn’t have had him and his loving support over these past eleven years, but I 100% believe it wouldn’t be as good as it is now. He has listened to me, supported me, and loved me in ways that I never could have done for myself in that state of mind. He never judged me for my anxiety, and although I felt like a huge burden, he never felt that way about me; he loved all of me the whole time, even when I couldn’t.
Even though I have rough days where I cry and feel anxious, I have come a long way from where I was. I also have come to terms with the fact that if I want to be present, that is up to me. I am unlearning anxious habits, as well as my people-pleasing behaviors; it was a hard pill to swallow when I read about how people-pleasing is a form of manipulation. I’d always say that I didn’t want to disappoint people because I hated being disappointed. Or I’d say that it’s because I treat others how I want to be treated and I honestly did feel this way, but also, I have to realize how I felt about myself. I wasn’t present with myself because I didn’t like myself. I had so much internalized self-loathing and because of that, I wanted others to like me. I wanted others to see me as a good friend and, if I am looking at this realistically, I probably wouldn’t have been able to handle it if others didn’t like me.
As I write this now, I can honestly say that now I don’t care if someone doesn’t like me. I am aware that we all live our own lives, through our own lenses, with our own traumas, so it has been much easier to not take anything personal. I also feel much more present and aware of myself and my values, which has created a sense of confidence that I have missed for a while. Another thing I am doing is setting boundaries in relationships, which is really all you can do unless you just want to cut people off (which is also needed sometimes). I have friends who sometimes do things that I don’t align with and would not do, but that does not make them a bad person or friend, and it doesn’t make me love them any less! I just know to set a boundary with certain things if I don’t want to experience those parts. As I write this, I realize I need to do the same for myself. I may have negative thoughts or judgments sometimes, but that does not make me a bad person, and I shouldn’t love myself any less! I am a human being who is learning, growing and healing; there is a long journey ahead, but I am determined to be present for it!
Today marks a new moon which is a perfect time to get re-aligned and re-focused on intentions. I will be writing mine for the month here in this post. Feel free to comment your own or even make your own post about it! I find it important to check in with myself and make sure I am focusing on what I really want in life and making progress towards my goals; with that being said, here are my intentions:
-I want to be intentional with my words. Less over-sharing, and more coming from an authentic, honest place. I will no longer silence myself when something is bothering me, rather I will pause to reflect, and then do my best to communicate my feelings and set boundaries.
-I want make healthier choices when it comes to food. I know I don’t do well with strict diets, nor is that something I want to do, but in general I want to pause before I make decisions about food and make sure I am checking in with myself on if that is something I truly want to eat. Granted, I know my taste buds have strong arguments, but I also know gut health is linked to mental health, and I am trying to feel healthy overall.
-I want to write more on The Unsealed and continue building my writing Instagram. I know I have been writing more, but I want to get more consistent and stay focused on the goal: future author. I know this will be a rough project, going through pulling out old memories and old traumas, but I believe the whole writing process will be not only healing for me, but I hope it helps the reader feel less alone and more empowered.
It’s only 5:30pm and I am struggling to keep my eyes open. Today was a totally relaxing day, which was much needed. I spent most of the day with myself, just reading and writing and listening to podcasts. I honestly felt really good doing that mental work today, but I also feel that it contributed to this exhaustion.
I started a new book called Judgment Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein, and the purpose of this book is exactly as it sounds: to release judgment of yourself and others. It’s hard in a world where 80% of conversations are made up of gossip and we live in a society of people who post their lives on social media for all to see. I openly admit that I have judged others, just as pretty much everyone has, this this book has me deep diving into where I think each judgment comes from.
I am also sure I’m exhausted because I finally got my period after it being eight days late, and so my body is just begging me to rest and sleep all day. My boyfriend and I are going to eat some dinner and then I’m probably gonna go to bed shortly after that! I am ready for a positive week ahead!
As I sit at my kitchen table with my chamomile tea, and I listen to Taylor Swift’s new album “Midnights” for the first time, I am feeling both nostalgic, yet very present in this moment. I can think back listening to her album “Speak Now” and how I felt when listening to certain songs. The crush when listening to “Enchanted,” the new crush fantasizing about acting out her song “Speak now,” but now looking at my life in this present moment and it being better than I could have dreamt.
I live with the love of my life in the beautiful townhome that we bought together, we both have jobs that allow us to pay our bills, save, and still enjoy our lives. I have been able to get the help I needed for my mental health, and I am enjoying the healing journey every day. Although I still have rough days (I did just recently), I am much more confident, and I see myself so differently than I did before. It honestly breaks my heart to look back and think about how much I hated myself and my brain. I would constantly fight back against the anxiety and take out my frustrations on the one I loved the most. I had so much anxiety around money and my control issues were overtaking me, and instead of letting that be my life, I recognized that I didn’t have to feel like that for the rest of my life.
I feel so blessed that I have the ability to afford going to therapy, and I am also glad I was able to try different medications that helped to calm down my brain enough to allow me to do the work. Now don’t get me wrong, I am still doing the work every single day. We are human beings with emotions and outside events that can impact our personal worlds, and it is completely normal to have bad days; what I find important is that we try to remember how we strong we truly are in those moments. We have gotten to this very moment, which means all of those times where we thought our world was ending, or we were never going to get through that rough time, we were wrong- we can truly make it through everything.
I still have times where I struggle with stressing over to-do lists, and I still get overwhelmed when I have more than one event/large task in a day. I still have to work on communicating my thoughts and accepting the fact that not everything I say will always be received well by everybody. I still have to constantly check-in with myself and see if I am in alignment with what I want to be, and if I am honest, I still do things that I know I don’t want to be doing! I still eat unhealthy food, and I don’t have a consistent writing or workout schedule, but I am still getting up every day and working toward a healthier future for myself, and I know that I will develop these habits with time. I am just proud that I have been able to learn how to give myself grace along the way, and I am slowly getting better at not beating myself up. I catch myself in negative self-talk, and I remind myself that I am human.
I am blessed to have a life partner who has been so patient and supportive along the way. I have a love I have always dreamed of, and I am so happy that our future children will grow up in a home where they can see true love and respect. Considering the home environment I grew up in, I feel even more lucky to have the relationship I have today. We have mutual respect for one another, we support one another’s goals and always try to see where the other person is coming from. I love how well we communicate, and how our love has only grown stronger over the last eleven years. We make sure that we are growing together and still focused on our future together, because we both want this forever.
I am grateful to have good friends in my life who are supportive and always cheering me on. I am very lucky to have a few close friends who I know will always listen to me and not judge me. I also am grateful for the fact that they all understand that I won’t always want to hang out, but that it is nothing personal, I just love my alone time and often feel like I need it. I feel like I have many good people in my life and I do my best to make sure they know I love them. Life is short, and it is important to tell the people you love that you love them.
Overall, I am thankful for the life that I have today at 27. I feel like I am finally living my life for myself, and not for those around me. I feel like I have broken away from my people-pleasing habit, although I know I still have to work on speaking my mind even if it may cause a disagreement, but I am accepting of the fact that my healing is life-long, and that I get to choose how I view my life. I can choose to see all of the negative and go back to self-destructive patterns, or I can continue to focus on my goals and give myself grace along the way to them. I am proud of the woman I am today, and I am happy to be here writing this tonight as I enjoy this new Taylor Swift album. I appreciate all who read this far, and I hope you too are giving yourself grace in your journey of life.
So glad it is Friday! This week honestly flew by and it really wasn’t a bad week! Of course I am back to dealing with a late period and negative pregnancy tests so that’s a bit annoying, but I am trying to stay positive and remind myself that there’s no point in worrying because that will only delay it more. I’ve been trying to figure out if I am having some underlying stress that is contributing, but I can’t seem to pinpoint it.
As much as I get frustrated with drama at work, I don’t feel like I am letting it affect me mentally, but maybe I am! I know I was feeling some anxiety about the fact that I’m going to be on a billboard for a few hours in a couple weeks, but it feels like it’s mainly anxiety around my parents in a weird way. I know that my mom will be supportive of my writing and she knows I am healing and it’s my right to share my story and my thoughts, but just knowing how my dad has been my whole life, I just feel like he is gonna shit on it.
What matters is that I am proud of myself and my accomplishments, but maybe that’s my problem. I have such a hard time celebrating myself, it’s almost as if I got this exciting news and felt good about it for a day and then kinda shoved it away. It hasn’t even happened yet, but it’s like mentally I won’t allow myself to be proud or happy. I just keep making excuses about how they just needed a face in my town and it just happened to work out, but they also have enjoyed my writing and have been so encouraging on our zoom meetings and in the community. I guess I just don’t know why it’s so hard for me to celebrate myself, but it’s so easy for me to tear myself down.
Luckily I have therapy after work today, and maybe we can unpack that together. I honestly haven’t seen my therapist since July, so I am very much looking forward to this session. I just have to be conscious of my talking and making sure I’m not just venting so long that I waste the whole session. It’s hard when you only have 50 minutes and it’s been literal months since we’ve talked, but I know we will be able to have a productive session. I’m going to end this will an affirmation for myself- and I hope you all have a great Friday!
Affirming: I am healthy, I am calm and I am at peace. I release all that is not mine to carry, and I focus on what is aligned with my higher self.
I’d like to take this time to just write about a few things that I am grateful for in my life. I think that it’s important that we take time out to focus on what is going well in our lives. If we are constantly waiting for the next thing or thinking we won’t be happy until certain goals are reached, then we are delaying our own happiness. I prefer to be happy, and practicing gratitude helps me with this. If you can, take some time to write down at least three things you’re grateful for right now!
• I am so very grateful for the relationship that I have with my boyfriend. I am blessed to be with a man who is respectful, intelligent, hard-working, and who makes me feel safe and loved. I have seen many unhealthy relationships in my life, and I feel so lucky to have such a happy, healthy relationship with him. We always make sure to appreciate one another and we have learned how to communicate well with one another over the past 11 years, and for that I am grateful.
• I am thankful for books/podcasts. I recently got into podcasts this year, and also started reading more books about self-care and healing. I honestly have learned so much from these brilliant authors/podcasters and in a way I almost feel like they have helped me more than therapy has. I think just because I don’t get to see my therapy as often as I’d like, but during times when I feel like I need her, I can throw on Jay Shetty or Dr. Nicole LePara (aka The Holistic Psychologist) and feel like they’re talking right to me! Unfortunately, not many people have access to therapy, but most people have access to books and podcasts, and for that I am grateful.
• I am thankful for the act of writing/journaling. I always enjoyed writing as a kid, and after a recent zoom interview with some members of the writing community I am in, I think I realized why. The founder of the community said there are studies showing how writing/journaling can be as beneficial as therapy! I can honestly say when I take time to write, I always feel better afterwards. As a child, it was my way to release and escape from the chaos inside my house and myself, and now I am planning on writing a book. I love writing in my blog, as well as writing poetry, and I would love to write a self-love book one day. I am grateful for right to write and for the skills I have and will continue to develop.