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I’m not only dealing with one mental illness—I have many.
With many mental illnesses—bipolar type II, anxiety, trauma, an eating disorder, recovery from alcoholism, co-dependency, and addiction—I have to put a lot of work in to heal, grow, and remain half sane.
The exhaustive part is that I am now seeing them in full view, staring at me, but I am finally taking action to heal because they have affected the people around me, including myself.
A few months ago, I woke up one day to the lie I had been living, acting like I was fine from the outside and like everything was perfect to keep up appearances.
No one warned me how unsustainable that is.
I prayed and made a dramatic shift in my life months ago. I decided to leave my relationship and move out on my own to take some time for myself to heal. I didn’t want to pass on this trauma or project my issues in my relationship before settling down. Some people can heal themselves while in relationships, but the kind of co-dependent I am, I couldn’t.
Well, I didn’t have many expectations, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be. The reality is that it has been incredibly uncomfortable, painful, challenging, beautiful, and scary. I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it.
Somedays, I wake up in complete trust of the universe, knowing clearly that I will be taken care of. Other days, I wake up heartbroken and full of fear that I will never get better and won’t get through this.
The battle of life changes, with co-occurring disorders, is that it’s like whack-a-mole. I work on one and squash the symptoms, and the other pops up. I get waves of anxiety and overthink my decision to leave. I think about what I “should” do, a sign of worrying about what others think of me, followed by a deep fog of depression. It gets so dark that it truly feels like I won’t make it out of it alive. I never used to cry, maybe once a year. Now, the flood gates have opened, and they are not shutting.
Everyone tells me tears heal, that this is what healing looks like. It is messy and nonlinear. The fact is, I can’t go back to sleep from all I need to heal. It’s there, and it’s not leaving until I do the work. I can’t starve myself to stop the pain. I can’t rely on people to fill the void and constantly validate me anymore. I can’t fill it with material items, and I sure as hell can’t drink it away.
I have no other choice but to put the work in, and I have been. I reach out for help, implement coping mechanisms that I’ve learned, meditate, help other people, attend and practice the AA program, attend CODA meetings, and have two therapists. I want to heal so badly because I didn’t get sober to be miserable.
When I do trust the universe, everything goes smoothly, and it’s evident. An apartment fell on my lap after the breakup. I lost my job during my depressive episode and got back my old one. I am always taken care of financially when I don’t think I will be. My life unfolds as it should without me having to push or control.
The point of all this being, if you are struggling, going through change, and not sure it will get better—never ever give up. There are many resources, and it takes a lot to ask for help, but it is worth it.
I know today that I do matter, and I am important. As painful as all of this is, it is leading me to become the women I am meant to be. Healing unhealed wounds takes time, and patience isn’t my strong suit. But, even on the bad days, I still trust that everything will fall into place, exactly as it should.