If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’ve been very open about my mental illness and the journey I am taking toward mental health. In my last post about my mental health journey I mentioned how I’ve basically had some sort of major break-through in nearly every session after my second appointment. Once I broke down those walls everything started flowing freely and I’ve been able to let go of many of the trauma’s and experiences that I buried, suffocated, and locked away. Well, that trend continues.
Last night, or rather this morning when I got off of work at 1:15 am, I was driving down I-15 on my 25 minute commute home. As annoying as it is to work so late, I actually enjoy the drive home from work. After 1am the roads are empty and everything is quiet, it’s just you in your car humming along- it gives you a lot of time to think, so that’s what I do. As I was driving down the freeway I started thinking about my therapy and how I talked with my doctor about how I wasn’t even sure what my personality was anymore. After suppressing my thoughts and feelings for over a decade, and putting on acts to please other people around me- I couldn’t remember what my true personality was actually like. That spun into a rabbit-hole of discovering when I started to develope those unhealthy habits, why I did it, what I was like before… on and on and on. Today, in therapy, we decided to focus in on that.
I was a positive, bubbly, social, upbeat child. I was always lost in thought, even as a toddler, and was always content. My mother always said I was easy because I rarely fussed or cried, and didn’t mind being handed off to friends or family when she needed to take care of my sister (my sister is only 10 months older than myself). In home videos I was always daydreaming and lost in thought, and I didn’t seem to care if I was playing alone or on my own. When I started school I was extremely social and had no problems making friends. I was considered a “bright” child who did well in school and picked-up lessons and skills quickly, but teacher’s also complained that I talked too much. All of this started to change slowly starting at the age of 10, then rapidly by the time I became a teenager.
There were a few catalysts to these changes, but they began with my mother’s marriage to an abusive man when I was 7, and climaxed when I was 13 and living with 9 other people in a 1-bedroom apartment. A lot of the change stemmed from feeling out of control. No matter what I said or did, things just seemed to get worse. When I tried to speak-up about how I felt to my Dad or Grandparents I was told that I shouldn’t complain. I remember one particular instance when I was 10 and talking to my Dad about how unhappy I was at home with my mother’s husband around and my Dad told me that “life isn’t fair, we just have to live with it”. He then told me, a 10-year old, that I needed to be strong for my mother and my sister because they needed me. He told me I was the “strong one”, the “positive one”. That’s the first time I remember being told to suppress my feelings, but the trend continued into adulthood with family, friends, and especially my ex.
Why does this matter? Because realizing where and when the seed was planted helped me root out the weed. Going back to my 7-year old self and saying “don’t worry, that man won’t be around forever”, telling my 10-year old self “don’t listen to your father, you are allowed to share your feelings”, telling my 13-year old self “don’t worry, it will get better.” Was the first step in healing. I don’t have to hide anymore.
I am smiling and crying just from sharing this with you: I DON’T HAVE TO HIDE ANYMORE!
So what is my epiphany? It’s simply this: I had a personality before I started hiding and pretending. I am a person, a human being. I have thoughts, likes, dislikes, and emotions- and I can share them. I can be whoever I am, and I can share it with the world! Before years of poverty, fear, abuse, shame, and emotional repression- I was a positive, imaginative, pensive, happy, social child. I want to rediscover this as an adult. I want to be the person I always was underneath the layers of doubt. Most of all- I want to help bring this same sort of light, hope, and joy to other people. That’s my true epiphany- I want to help others find happiness in their darkness as well. If sharing my journey can help even one other person- then I am well on my way.
*Note: I changed my blog and domain name. I needed a positive change, and had been tinkering around with domain names for a few weeks now. Today, with my new awakening, it felt like the right time to make the switch*