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Emancipation

fear

Three months ago yesterday I moved out of my ex’s apartment and into my house. It’s weird…some days it feels like it’s been forever, and other days it felt like it was just yesterday. I’m pretty sure he’s felt the same too, as he was saying it had been three months six weeks ago.

I’ve had my ups and downs. I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD over the losses I had back in 2008/2009. Avoidance of things I needed to take care of…like the house? Flashbacks, like being unable to take care of others when they were sick? Nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, depression? I seriously had it all, and just didn’t know how bad it was. I didn’t get the help I needed then, and it became too much.

I was letting the fears get the best of me. Yes, PTSD explains why, but I hate admitting letting something like fear keep me from a positive future.

When our relationship fell apart last year, I didn’t have much to hold onto to get me through it. He said he was sorry for cheating and wanted to try to work things out, and I believed him. I said that working things out meant he had to stop the cheating. He promised he would. So I said I was going to move, but was taking my time because I thought he really wanted me to stay.

I still had a lot of fears regarding facing the house. And the thought being on my own after living with a person for nearly a decade was also scary. Those fears kept me from doing what I needed to do. I convinced myself that things would be all right as they were. That time would handle everything. I didn’t push myself to move.

I let the fears win.

Then I caught him at it again earlier this year. He doesn’t know how much I know. He thought he could lie and say he stopped, but I knew everything. I know what he’s said and done. I know the things he’s called me. He was done with the relationship long before I broke up with him. So much for wanting to work things out….

It all finally hit me. It was the proverbial rock and a hard place. I was letting the fear of moving keep me in a bad living situation. It was the fear of the unknown, being alone, that held me in an uncomfortable but familiar “relationship.” I realized I had a choice: Remain in a situation where I was unwanted, miserable, being used, and not getting the support I needed…or face those fears and give the unknown a shot at being good. It wasn’t a hard decision at that point.

FUCK FEAR, MAN.

I’m not saying that the past three months have been all sunshine and rainbows. I’ve had several days where the depression wanted to bring me down again. But I’ve gained SO MUCH by facing those fears.

Suddenly, I felt free.

I’ve taken to calling February 24th “Emancipation Day.” Sure, it was the day I moved out, but that means it was also the day I freed myself from my fears. Sure, they still linger and threaten to take over from time to time, but then I remember what I gained by facing them, fighting back, and defeating them.

I have a great house. I have a great new roommate. I am getting my health back, both physical and mental. I have friends…loads of friends! Friends who suddenly stepped up out of Acquaintanceville or who came back, rekindling friendships we had before. Friends who are interested in me as a person, not what they can get out of me. Heck, friends who are interested in more than just friendship, but kept their distance in respect for my previous relationship. Now they don’t have to.

I have so much support and love coming from all directions that it’s overwhelming sometimes. I have so much support and love to give, and it feels good to give back.

I’ve gained so much confidence again. I’ve been coming out of that dark place. I’m remembering who I am.

I am happy.

Sometimes I wish I had faced those fears sooner, but I think it happened at the right time. Would my relationship have survived? Maybe. But looking back at everything, would I really want to be in that relationship anymore? Not really. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about him, and it’s better this way.

But most importantly, I am free to be me again. I have learned how far down I can slip when I let my fears rule me. I have learned I have the strength to overcome them myself. And now? Now I have new goals and know I can attain them.

Come back here next February 24th. You will see a VERY changed person.

And I challenge you to do the same. What do you need to free yourself from? What fears hold you back from being the best YOU that you can be?

Face them. Break them. Find your freedom. It’s the most amazing feeling.

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Rebirth

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." -Anaïs Nin

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." -Anaïs Nin

I know, I know. I keep saying I’m going to get back on track and write more. I’ve finally been getting back on track, just haven’t been writing about it.

Here’s the thing: I have been suffering major clinical depression. There, I’ve said it. I’m not always a strong person. I’m good at putting on a strong face and supporting others when I’m crumbling inside. But the first step to healing is admitting you have a problem, right? Well there you go.

I will post my story eventually. It’s helped to finally talk about it with people. I kept it all bottled in and didn’t get any professional support or help since my world fell apart in late 2008 when my dad died. Things went downhill from there with lots of other major setbacks. Some days I struggled to just get out of bed. Strangers tell me how strong I am and how impressed they are at the transformation I went through last year…all I saw was a fat girl struggling to tread the emotional waters in a deep, dark place. I didn’t ask for help when I needed it. I cried myself to sleep nearly every night hoping SOMEONE would see how badly I needed help. I hated myself every day. Living like that was hard. In fact, there are no words to describe how hard it is, and it certainly isn’t “living.” You have to experience it to know, and I don’t wish that kind of situation upon anyone. It was that bad.

But like losing weight last year, I had to rely on myself. I wanted to change so badly, and only had the words of a few “strangers on the internet” and a few people who knew me to keep me going. I wasn’t working, was finishing school online, and only had in-person social contact with my fiance who really wanted the depression to just go away. So no one really knew what I was going through except maybe two long-distance friends who have struggled with depression themselves. Hell, there were times I considered suicide, but decided that would be too much effort. Yeah, I didn’t even have the strength to actively pursue ways to remove myself from everyone else’s problems. Besides, that felt like a coward’s way out…plus what was left of my inheritance would have gone to my brother and he’s such a cockbite that I wasn’t going to let him benefit from it. =P

I couldn’t stand being in that dark place and struggled to pull myself out. Even my 10-year relationship suffered. I was not able to give my fiance the affection he wanted, so he looked elsewhere. He’d told me that my depression was “bullshit” and I should “just get over it.” In our last argument in late February, he first screamed at me about how he couldn’t stand living with me and couldn’t wait until I was gone. Later he admitted to cheating on me. I said I’d be out that Friday. And I was.

Not gonna lie, it hasn’t been easy. But the scary unknown future is better than the familiar dark place I was in. I moved into my childhood home (I inherited it in the estate and was too scared of the bad memories to move into it before, and finally found some self-confidence when I faced them alone), and one of my long-distance friends later moved into the spare bedroom.

A mix of sunlight, a new place, eating right and exercising again, and having a dear friend in my actual presence who understands depression and actively listens (and on whose shoulder I’ve left a few mascara stains already) has helped a lot. Money is scary now, but I’m looking for a job. That and the remnants of Hurricane Depression are what’s left to face right now…I think I can handle it.

I’m starting over again, but this time I’m not alone. And finally being able to name my demon has been helping me face it.

I’ll be writing more for real this time. I’ve already started exercising again to get my body used to working out, and have added walking on the vast network of trails by my house to get me moving. I plan to start the Couch To 5K (C25K) program in a little over a week (look for that either April 15 or 17) and have just completed Week 1 of 100/200/200 again. I’ve been keeping a mini-journal on paper lately, and will probably move it back/copy it/elaborate here.

I also plan to post more about depression, helping yourself through it, and how to help someone you know who has it. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m not totally out of that bad place yet, but I can finally a light up ahead and am certain it ISN’T an oncoming vehicle! I hope to be able to help others who may be going through the same thing I did but don’t know how to get to a better place in life.

I feel reborn again. I’ve been wearing the phoenix pendant I already own, and haven’t taken it off since I moved. It’s a constant reminder that change is always happening, and you can either just go with the flow or use it to better yourself.

Because this post is of a rather personal nature, I’ve turned off comments. If you feel the need to respond to anything in this post in particular, you may email me at firebudgie (AT) gmail (DOT) com. Thanks for understanding, and I will be back with new posts soon!