Why do we fear in the first place? Why do we create secrets and make up reasons to avoid accepting who we are as people? As individuals? Why do we run from the things that define us? That make us unique? Why do we let society and the world around us define our happiness? Our personalities? How we see ourselves?
We let people define us because it’s easier than being who we truly are. It’s easier to let someone define you and tell you what they believe you should be, then to express yourself in every emotion you feel in this world. What is disheartening is that we let people change who we are. We let them take away what makes us different. We let them take away what makes us special and what makes us stand out from every other person on this planet. We let them take control and in doing so we essentially give up who we are and give up the right to be ourselves.
We lose who we are because we decide to do things and become things and be things that they want us to be and society believes we should be. We are no longer existent. Although we may be physically present, we are emotionally, spiritually and mentally disappearing into thin air. To lose yourself is not always something you can get back. Sometimes we get so involved, so deep into it that we can’t stop. You can’t gain back what you were and who you were because that person no longer exists.
I have struggled with mental illnesses for 14 years before I started to openly talk about my issues. I started sharing my story and started telling bits and pieces of what I’ve been through in the past few years. In doing so, people started to understand where the person they always knew had disappeared to. I pushed everyone whoever cared about me away. I am lucky to have some of those people still in my life today who are my support system, but I also lost many people who are no longer a constant in my life.
I put some of them through hell and others I didn’t care if I hurt them or not. I started being honest in terms of what I felt about them and considered their problems little compared to mine. I used to say things like,”Oh, you’re rich why are you complaining?” Although I don’t believe this now, I also didn’t understand that no matter what background, career, gender, etc… everyone struggles and no ones problems should ever take a back seat or be minimized. All problems matter no matter how severe. The reason I felt this way was because I didn’t believe people struggled. If I couldn’t physically see it, then how could it exist?
One reason I pushed the people who cared about me away, was because I didn’t want them to change who I wasn’t. I wasn’t my disorders and when I was struggling with them, I knew that I would eventually get help and stop if I had continued to be open with them. So, I shut everyone out so I could become a version of myself that was socially acceptable to society’s view.
For years, I felt like my body was being weighted down because of all the problems I was dealing with. I would also walk into a room full of strangers and imagine hurtful words being screamed at me in a room full of silence. I was feeling these things because I couldn’t openly expressed them, so my thoughts were the only way to release some of what I was feeling subconsciously. I created lies and ideas of what people thought of me because it was easier then accepting I had problems or something wrong with me. When you struggle with any kind of addiction, you work hard to numb the emotions that force you to hurt or come to terms with what you aren’t ready to deal with. You work very hard to avoid the empty feeling inside of you so getting help becomes something you fear. You know in doing so, you will have to work on stopping the unhealthy addictions and you will have to face the reasons your addictions were created in the first place.
You create a secret when you think or feel something you believe people will either judge you on or we are scared to be honest and accepting of ourselves. For me, once I started to come to terms with myself and be honest about the issues I had, I was able to open up and finally tell my secrets. I had to wait until I accepted it myself before I could go and tell others. Afterward, I felt this weight lift off my shoulders and 14 years later, I could breathe again. We all have things we hide but the feeling of being completely honest and open is indescribable. You feel free and able to fully be who you are. It’s hard lying and avoiding your inner demons, but once you find a good support system and people you trust, talk to them when you are ready and see how much better you feel. I recently did this with my group of friends and they all accepted me for who I am. I was terrified but realizing you have something like a supportive and strong group of friends & family is an amazing feeling. You realize you don’t always need to do things on your own.
When the time feels right, ask for help or lean on someone close to you. Let them know what you are going through and see how the pressure and weight falls off your shoulders. I am learning to this very thing but it’s going to slowly happen. It takes a while to break 14 years of bad habits. Everyday I work hard to stay strong and continue my recovery, but sometimes you need to stop, step back and really look at how far you have come. Whether you are trying to recover, just started your recovery or have been clean for years, you are already one step ahead of what and where you were yesterday. Everyday you decide to wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night; You have chosen life. Every time you have a set back but pick yourself up, you are choosing to recover and fight for your life. We have so much power to control how our lives will turn out, we just need to find ourselves and our voices. We have the ability to shut out the hate and be open to the love. The journey starts within us.
For those of your recovering, stay strong and fight to hell and back to save yourself. It is one of the hardest things to do but in the end to live a life feeling free and open, is something only you could accomplish from within. Work hard on your journeys and ask for help when you need it. It’s never a sign of weakness to do so. Find who you are, express it & accept it.