Let me just start out by saying, I absolutely loved The Perks of Being a Wallflower, both book and movie. But this post isn’t going to be a book review, but more of an inspirational/mental health/self-help piece. I might go back and reread the book and post a book review later 🙂
Warning: This post might be a little bit long, so, in advance, thank you for sticking with me.
After talking with a friend earlier today about how people are able to make change happen and how to let go of hurtful things of the past, I felt inspired to write about some tricks I’ve learned in the past few months and how they’ve helped me. I’m including more of my story in this post. It may be depressing, but I assure you that there is a happy beginning at the end 🙂
DISCLAIMER: I am NOT an expert. I am NOT a therapist or a counselor. These are my opinions based on my personal experiences. If you are in a dark place where you may hurt yourself or others, please reach out to a loved one or a professional.
That being said, I know my advice may not be applicable in every situation, but if I can help one person going through a tough time, I’ll put my thoughts out into the world for them.
So, what’s the ‘sitch? Okay, I might have watched a little too much Kim Possible when I was younger and the phrase seemed like a cool start. By the way, Kim Possible was awesome! I miss the good ‘ole Disney days.
Cool phrases aside, take a moment and think about your situation. Think about your life. Are you where you want to be? Do you feel like you’re holding back or being held back? Is there something weighing down on your soul to the point you feel like you can’t breathe? Maybe you get anxious over little things or are feeling down most days. Maybe you’re having trouble forming relationships or find yourself crying to sleep at night.
Take some time to yourself. Think about what is going on in your life. For those who are logical and visual, make a list. Lists, in my opinion, are therapeutic and it’s nice to map these things out.
Soul-searching is hard. We tend to dig up things that we feel are better left in the ground. In our minds, they were put there for a reason and have no place in our lives. But that’s the thing. These buried memories, moments, and issues can tend to be the heart of what is causing our pain. So start digging.
My own ‘sitch
I used to think about what was wrong with me daily. Even today, I sometimes catch my thoughts drifting in that negative direction and have to stop myself.
Moments of being alone were horrible for me. I was left to my own thoughts and they were not kind. Living two hours away from my family, the long drive home for visits were especially horrible. Hell, to be honest, even being in my car more than 15 minutes gave me too much time to think. With that time, I tended to over-analyze every little thing. I would find myself crying and wishing I’d get in a car accident or something. I wanted something to derail my life and cause something to happen. I didn’t want to die, not necessarily, but I didn’t love myself and felt something serious needed to happen to spark some sort of change in my life.
In fact, I kind of hated myself. I felt I had nothing to contribute to the world and I was only here breathing air. I was (and still am) overweight and I felt alone. Two years ago, I had found out that a person I had trusted and believed to be my dear friend had talked negatively behind my back to co-workers and called me a bully. To the friend who considered me a bully, maybe there was a slight or something I had said that caused her to think and act this way. Maybe she was suffering from her own issues and felt the need to lash out. Looking back, while I don’t feel like I was a bully or a horrible friend, maybe I wasn’t who she needed in her life and she decided to burn the bridge. Looking back, I know I didn’t need her in my life anymore and I am a stronger and better person for that break.
After that situation, I felt inadequate and unworthy of love. I started to question every friendship I had and tried to determine whether they were fake as well. How could I expect others to love me when I didn’t love me? This thought plagued my mind for the next year or so, and I fell in a deeper depression.
Luckily, I was never in a serious car accident or something just as horrible. Of course, I didn’t think I was lucky at the time.. I was sick. Logically, I knew something was wrong with me and I shouldn’t feel this way. But logic doesn’t always overrule emotion. I had a history of depression and anxiety, but I could never figure out the root cause. Why was I feeling like this?
Maybe it was my weight? I had steadily been gaining weight since I had graduated high school. What about my debt? I have a car payment, student loans, and a credit card that I kept using. Rewards are fantastic, aren’t they? Maybe it’s because I am tired all of the time and feel like I never get enough rest. Maybe it’s because I am lonely.
It never occurred to me that the items above were not the cause of my depression, but side-effects. My weight was a shield, eating and spending money were my drugs of choice, and sleeping life away was my escape. I was alone because I didn’t feel I was worthy of wasting another person’s time. When we think of addictions, we normally think of smoking, drinking, and drugs. We don’t normally think of other habits as being as destructive as those, but they are.
Take spending for instance. I loved buying things. It gave me such a high that I felt I could conquer anything as long as I had the newest gadget. But then, I’d get my statement and start trying to pay it down like a responsible adult. I’d then find myself having less money and lower balances in my checking accounts, which would then cause me to stress over money. I work at a bank and I’d be damned if I ever let my accounts go negative. So I’d justify using my credit card for groceries and other daily things to keep my accounts positive and to keep the high.
This was my toxic cycle. Fortunately, although I didn’t think so at the time, my mom caught me lying about how much credit card debt I had. Funny part about that was she tricked me into spilling my guts by having tequila shots with me that night. Damn tequila. I felt horrible. I had disappointed my mom, which is something I hated doing. But really, I was more disappointed in myself. Why did I let it get this bad? And then it dawned on me. This was it. My rock bottom. I had discovered the key to figuring out what was wrong and I had to dig deeper.
I hit my rock bottom the weekend before my 30th birthday. That weekend, I knew I needed to get some help, and the first thing I needed to do was sort out the chemicals in my brain. I went to my doctor and asked for an antidepressant. I then made an appointment with a therapist. I knew what I needed to work on and had come across some theories of where my issues stemmed from. I just needed someone with an unbiased opinion of me to help me muddle through this mess I put myself in.
I am not going to go into the details of where my issues stemmed from, patient confidentiality and all.
I will tell you that one thing I was doing to myself was taking full blame of all my life choices. I never blamed my parents, my sister, my schools, or my upbringing. I was a firm believer that we are the product of our choices. I had to change that thought process. I hated the thought of blaming someone or something else for my choices. But, it was pointed out to me that we are a product of our upbringing. While we shouldn’t point the finger and hold a grudge, we should acknowledge that “Okay, this happened. I understand why it happened this way, and I understand why so-and-so behaved this way.” By forming an understanding and acknowledging the past pain, you can learn to heal, forgive, and move on with your life in a healthier and more productive aspect.
So dig a little deeper. Poke that beehive with a stick and know that you are stronger than you think.
I think I’ll leave this to be continued. These first two steps are exhausting and I feel like this post is long enough.
Spoiler Alert: I poked the beehive and came out stronger. Click the picture below to go to the next part.